VIENNA (Reuters) – Talks to relaunch the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are set to resume in Vienna on Monday, with Iran’s atomic advances casting doubt https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/low -expectations-nuclear-talks-iran -creates-facts-grounds-2021-11-28 as to whether a breakthrough can be made to bring Tehran and the United States back into full compliance with the agreement.
Since the United States under then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, Iran has violated many of the restrictions in its deal designed to lengthen the time it would need to generate enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb at least a year from 2. 3 months – the so-called “rupture time”.
Iran says it only wants to enrich uranium for civilian use. But many suspect he is at least looking to gain influence in side talks with the United States by moving closer to the ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
How close is Iran to being able to do that and what remain of the restrictions in the deal?
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Experts typically put escape time at around three to six weeks, but say militarization would take longer – often around two years. Israel’s finance minister recently said https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-minister-says-iran-could-have-nuclear-arms-within-5-years-2021-11- 23 possess nuclear weapons within five years.
The deal limits the purity to which Iran can enrich uranium to 3.67%, well below the around 90% military-grade or 20% that Iran reached before the deal. Iran is now getting richer at various levels, the highest being around 60%.
The deal also says Iran can only produce or accumulate enriched uranium with just over 5,000 of its least efficient first-generation centrifuges at a single facility: the underground enrichment plant of fuel (FEP) from Natanz.
The deal allows Iran to enrich for research, without accumulating enriched uranium, a small number of advanced centrifuges, which are often at least twice as efficient as the IR-1.
Iran is now refining uranium with hundreds of advanced centrifuges at both the FEP and the pilot surface fuel enrichment (PFEP) plant at Natanz.
It is also enriched by more than 1,000 IR-1s at Fordow, a factory buried inside a mountain, and plans to do the same with more than 100 advanced centrifuges already installed there.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which controls Iran’s nuclear activities, this month estimated https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/21/11/gov2021-51.pdf that the Tehran’s inventory of enriched uranium is just under 2.5 tons, more than 12 times the limit of 202.8 kg (446 pounds) imposed by the agreement, but less than the more than five tons it he had before the deal.
That said, it is now getting richer to a higher level and has around 17.7 kg of uranium enriched up to 60%. It takes about 25 kg of military grade uranium to make a nuclear bomb.
INSPECTIONS AND MONITORING
The deal forced Iran to implement the so-called IAEA Additional Protocol, which allows instant inspections of undeclared sites. It also extended IAEA surveillance by cameras and other devices beyond core activities and inspections covered by the long-standing comprehensive safeguards agreement between Iran and the IAEA.
Iran has stopped implementing the additional protocol and only allows further surveillance to continue under a black box-type agreement https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran- nuclear-iaea-deal-idUSKBN2AN1UU, according to which the data from cameras and other devices is collected and stored but the IAEA does not have access to it, at least for the time being.
The only exception https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iaea-chief-says-negotiations-iran-proved-inconclusive-2021-11-24 to continuous monitoring is a centrifuge parts workshop at The TESA Karaj complex, which was hit by apparent sabotage in June that destroyed one of the IAEA’s four cameras, after which Iran removed them all. Iran has not let the IAEA reinstall the cameras since.
Iran has produced uranium metal, both 20% enriched and unenriched. This alarms the Western powers because the manufacture of uranium metal is a crucial step towards the production of bombs and no country has done so without eventually developing nuclear weapons.
Iran says it is working on reactor fuel.
(Reporting by FranÃ§ois Murphy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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