The Islamic Republic of Iran already is violating an agreement it made with the International Atomic Energy Agency just a few weeks ago. The deal reached between the two sides would allow the IAEA’s inspectors to service damaged monitoring equipment at one of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog said that on Sunday inspectors were turned away from the facility. They were reportedly attempting to replace the destroyed cameras at the site but were denied access, which the IAEA said was in violation of a Sept. 12 agreement to allow inspectors to service the surveillance equipment.
“The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran’s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September,” the agency said in a statement
The violation comes as Iran is rapidly moving toward having enough nuclear material to be able to have a nuclear weapon, something that could spark a war in the region as Israel has repeatedly indicated that it will not allow Iran to reach that point.
At the start of August, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Iran was “only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.” On September 13, “The New York Times” reported that Iran, according to the IAEA, “has come within roughly a month of having enough material to fuel a single nuclear weapon.”
“Experts studying new data contained in reports last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ atomic inspection group, say that by enriching nuclear fuel in recent months to near bomb-grade levels, Tehran has gained the capability to produce the fuel needed for a single nuclear warhead within a month or so,” the story said. “A report issued on Monday by the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group that specializes in analyzing the findings of the United Nations agency, concludes that a race over the summer to enrich uranium at 60 percent purity — just below bomb grade — has put Iran in a position to produce the fuel for a single bomb in ‘as short as one month.’”
Meanwhile, China this year resumed purchases of Iranian oil which it had stopped under pressure from the Trump administration. As the Biden administration sought to end sanctions against Iran, China pre-emptively moved in to purchase the crude. Now the Biden administration is belatedly asking China to end or at least reduce the purchases US and European officials said on Tuesday.
Purchases of Iranian oil by Chinese companies are believed to have helped keep Iran’s economy afloat despite US sanctions that are designed to choke off such sales to put pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program.