Diplomats: IAEA found traces of uranium at Iranian atomic plant

Samples taken by the U.N. nuclear watchdog at a warehouse in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating the particles’ origin and has asked Iran to explain the traces. But Tehran has not done so, according to the diplomats, stoking tensions between Washington and Tehran. U.S. sanctions have slashed Iranian oil sales and Iran has responded by breaching its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

In a speech a year ago Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposed the deal, called on the IAEA to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

The IAEA, which is policing the nuclear deal, had inspected the site – a step it had said it takes “only when necessary” – and environmental samples taken there were sent off for analysis.

Those traces were, however, of uranium, the diplomats said – the same element Iran is enriching and one of only two fissile elements with which one can make the core of a nuclear bomb. One diplomat said the uranium was not highly enriched, meaning it was not purified to a level anywhere close to that needed for weapons.

“There are lots of possible explanations,” that diplomat said. But since Iran has not yet given any to the IAEA it is hard to verify the particles’ origin, and it is also not clear whether the traces are remnants of material or activities that predate the landmark 2015 deal or more recent, diplomats say.

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

Dr. Moshe Kantor addresses 48 world leaders gathered in Jerusalem for Fifth World Holocaust Forum

The President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation and the European Jewish Congress, Dr. Moshe Kantor addressed 48 world leaders at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum. The historic event, titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” was organised by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with Yad Vashem, under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel.

World leaders descend on Israel for World Holocaust Forum

48 world leaders arrived in Israel to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

EJC welcomes decision by Swedish PM to adopt international definition of antisemitism

The European Jewish Congress welcomes the decision by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to endorse the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Ahead of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, The First Ever Global Social Media Campaign to combat antisemitism is Launched, Titled: ‘Stop this Story!’

For the first time ever, a social media campaign was launched by European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor with the aim of generating awareness about the problem of antisemitism.