Amid global concerns of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claims Tehran has prevented its inspectors from monitoring the country’s nuclear program.

In its recent quarterly report, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog warned Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium continues to increase.

According to the IAEA, Iran has enriched uranium up to 60% purity, which is only a short, technical step away from the weapons-grade level of roughly 90%. Experts say, in theory, Iran has roughly enough to make several atomic weapons, according to the IAEA’s numbers. 

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The United States last week called on Iran to dilute all the uranium it has enriched to up to 60% purity.

At the beginning of March, the U.S. threatened future action against Iran if it continues to keep the IAEA in the dark. Some analysts argue the White House is not doing enough.  

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“The Biden administration had come to a temporary Band-Aid where Iran will make certain constraints for its nuclear program in exchange for the Biden administration looking the other way, for example. That is not enough”, said Sanam Vakil, the Middle East director at the London think tank Chatham House.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), brokered in 2015, Iran was only permitted to enrich uranium to roughly 3% purity. In exchange for limitations on nuclear activities, major powers lifted sanctions on Iran.

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In 2018, former President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions lifted under the agreement.

Earlier this month, France, Germany and the U.K. shared a joint statement claiming Iran now possesses 27 times the JCPOA limit of enriched uranium. “Over the past five years, Iran has pushed its nuclear activities to new heights that are unprecedented for a state without a nuclear weapons programme.”

Iran denies it’s trying to make nuclear weapons. It claims it has the right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes. 

Current tensions in the Middle East and conflicts with Iranian-backed groups amplify the fears on the lack of transparency.

Vakil said Iran continues to take advantage of the “chaos” that affects the region as it attempts “to promote its own interests, particularly vis-à-vis the United States, and vis-à-vis Israel, but more broadly against the international community.”