Sunday October 24, 2021

Iran’s nuclear programme back in spotlight

September 21, 2021

VIENNA: Tehran’s nuclear programme is back under the spotlight as the UN’s atmomic energy watchdog holds its annual general conference and Iran’s new ultraconservative president, Ebrahim Raisi, marks his international debut by addressing the UN General Assembly.

Negotiations to revive a 2015 landmark agreement with world powers that curbed Iran’s nuclear power are at a standstill, while Tehran continues to step up its activities, according to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.

Under the 2015 deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States, Iran agreed not to enrich uranium above 3.67 percent, well below the 90-percent threshold needed for use in a nuclear weapon.

In addition, it was only allowed to have a stockpile of 202.8 kilogrammes in total -- equivalent to 300 kilogrammes in a particular compound form. But since May 2019, Iran has announced successive breaches of the deal in reaction to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018 and the reimposition of harsh sanctions on Iran.