UN agency report says Iran has further increased its uranium stockpile

Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to nearly weapons-grade levels, according to a report by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog seen by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also said that Iran has pushed back against the agency's objections to Tehran's ban on some of its inspectors designated to monitor the country's nuclear program.

In its confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that according to its assessment, as of Oct. 28, Iran has an estimated 128.3 kilograms (282.9 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60% purity, which represents an increase of 6.7 kilograms since its September report.

Uranium enriched at 60% purity is just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

The IAEA report also estimated that as of Oct. 28, Iran's total enriched uranium stockpile was at 4,486.8 kilograms, an increase of 691.3 kilograms since the last quarterly report in September 2023.

In an effort to ensure Iran could not develop nuclear weapons, world powers struck a deal with Tehran in 2015 under which it agreed to limit enrichment of uranium to levels necessary for nuclear power in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. U.N. inspectors were tasked with monitoring the program.

Then-President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018, saying he would negotiate a stronger deal, but that didn't happen. Iran began breaking the terms a year later. Those included provisions that Iran was allowed to enrich uranium only up to 3.67% purity and maintain a stockpile of uranium of 300 kilograms.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he'd be willing to re-enter a nuclear...

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