VIENNA – Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium has increased in the past three months even though Tehran is supposed to reduce it significantly under a deal with major powers, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday in a confidential report seen by Reuters.
Iran had also moved centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, at its Natanz and Fordow sites, the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
Under the deal with major powers reached in July, Iran is supposed to reduce the number of centrifuges it has in operation.
In September, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said the Islamic Republic had discovered an unexpectedly high reserve of uranium and would soon begin extracting the radioactive element at a new mine.
The comments cast doubt on previous assessments from some Western analysts who said the country had a low supply and would sooner or later would need to import uranium, the raw material needed for its nuclear program.
Any indication Iran could become more self-sufficient will be closely watched by world powers, which reached a landmark deal with Tehran in July over its program. They had feared the nuclear activities were aimed at acquiring the capability to produce atomic weapons – something denied by Tehran.