IAEA confirms Iran has produced enriched uranium metal

Top Stories

FILE – In this Monday, May 24, 2021 file photo, the flag of Iran waves in front of the the International Center building with the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter, FILE)

TEHRAN, Iran (WLNS) – The United Nation’s nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran has produced enriched uranium metal, a move that threatens to torpedo talks with the United States to reinstate the deal over its nuclear program.

Then-President Donald Trump pulled out of that deal in 2018. Since then, Iran has been gradually pushing past the limits of the deal to pressure the U.S. into lifting sanctions. It has previously enriched uranium to 60%, far higher than needed for civilian purposes but still well below the 90% required for a bomb.

Producing enriched uranium metal is another step toward creating a nuclear weapon. Research on how to produce it was specifically banned under the nuclear deal. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has been making uranium metal since February.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany, which are still party to the nuclear deal, said Tuesday that there is no legitimate civilian purpose for Iran to create uranium metal.

Also on Tuesday, Iran accused Israel of orchestrating a sabotage attack on one of its nuclear facilities in the city of Karaj, about 25 miles northwest of Tehran.

Iranian officials originally claimed that they had blocked the attack late last month, but Tuesday’s announcement confirmed that the sabotage did cause some damage to an industrial building.

Iran’s president-elect Ebrahim Raisi claimed on Tuesday that Israel carried out the attack to derail talks with the United States. Israel has not commented on the accusations, and did not claim responsibility for the attack at the time.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.