IRAN is reaching uranium purity levels fit for making bombs, warns the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the Islamic State is enriching uranium purity levels "only countries making bombs are reaching."
"A country enriching at 60% is a very serious thing" he told the Financial Times.
"Sixty percent is almost weapons grade, commercial enrichment is 2, 3 [percent].
"This is a degree that requires a vigilant eye."
Under the 2015 nuclear deal, formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%.
"You cannot put the genie back into the bottle — once you know how to do stuff, you know, and the only way to check this is through verification," Grossi told the Times.
"The Iranian programme has grown, become more sophisticated so the linear return to 2015 is no longer possible. What you can do is keep their activities below the parameters of 2015."
The JCPOA was designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has consistently said it doesn't have ambitions of developing a nuclear weapon.
But France, Germany, and the UK, all signatories of the JCPOA, last month said that Iran had "no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level," the BBC reported.
Deal or no deal – What was the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and what has happened to it?
IRAN is feared to be secretly building a nuclear bomb by hiding the machinery needed to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels, a new report reveals.
However, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal – branding it "horrible" and "one-sided".
Iran has also pledged to breach the agreement until it receives the sanctions relief it says it is owed.
The deal was an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country's nuclear weapons programme.
It saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.
Enriched uranium is a critical component for making nuclear weapons and in nuclear power stations and by curbing the amount Iran produce is a way to curb the number of weapons produced.
As part of the agreement, Iran also agreed to only enrich their uranium up to 3.67 per cent over the next 15 years and they agreed to reduce their gas centrifuges for 13 years.
Gas centrifuges are used to separate different types of uranium which allows specific types to then be used to manufacture nuclear weapons or generators.
Iranian nuclear facilities were limited to a single facility with only first-generation centrifuges for 10 years and other nuclear facilities had to be converted into other use.
In addition, they were barred from building any more heavy-water faculties – a type of nuclear reactor which uses heavy water (deuterium oxide) as a coolant to maintain temperatures in the reactor.
Also under the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency was granted regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities to ensure Iran maintains the deal.
If Iran abided by the deal it was promised relief from the US, European Union, and the United Nations Security Council on all nuclear-related economic sanctions.
The agreement was reached on July 14, 2015, and the world powers signed it in Vienna.
An annual threat assessment released by the US intelligence community last month, however, said that "Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that we judge would be necessary to produce a nuclear device."
At the moment, US and Iranian diplomats are engaged in indirect talks in Vienna — with the help of European intermediaries — aimed at restoring the JCPOA.
Iran has insisted that the US must lift sanctions before it fully returns to the deal.
But the Biden administration has maintained it will not provide sanctions relief until Iran shows that it's once again complying with the terms of the 2015 agreement.
President Joe Biden has made reviving the JCPOA a top priority.
It comes as western intelligence officials say Iran is now deliberately concealing key components of its controversial nuclear programme from UN inspectors.
The equipment reportedly being hidden from sight includes essential parts and pumps for centrifuges – the machines used to enrich uranium to weapons grade.
Many of the illicit components are being stored at secret sites which are run by the country's feared Revolutionary Guard Corps, reported the Telegraph last week.
Earlier this month, the Sun Online also told how Iran had nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since November and now has more than enough to make a nuke
Spies believe the hidden material – which should be declared under terms of the 2015 deal – is being secretly stored in dozens of containers at various sites.
Tehran also boasted it can "easily" produce the high-grade uranium needed for nukes, it's been reported.
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