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World News | Head of UN nuclear watchdog to travel to Iran for high-level talks

The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

BERLIN, March 2 (AP) The United Nations nuclear watchdog said Thursday that its chief will travel to Tehran for a high-level meeting at the invitation of the Iranian government.

The announcement by the Vienna-based IAEA comes days after it reported the discovery of uranium particles enriched to 83.7% at Iran’s Fordow underground nuclear facility.

Read also | EAM S Jaishankar met Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, calling bilateral relations “abnormal” and border tensions needed to be frankly discussed.

The IAEA said on Twitter that Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi would hold a news conference on Saturday after returning to Vienna from Iran.

A confidential quarterly IAEA report distributed to member states on Tuesday could further heighten tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program.

Read also | Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for reform of the UN Security Council.

The IAEA report described how inspectors found on Jan. 21 that the two IR-6 centrifuge cascades at Iran’s Fordo facility were configured “substantially differently” from what had been previously announced. The IAEA took samples the next day, which showed a purity of 83.7%, the report said.

The IAEA report speaks only of “particles,” implying that Iran has not built a stockpile of uranium enriched beyond 60 percent — a level it has been enriching for some time.

However, the agency also said in its report that the discovery would “further increase the frequency and intensity of agency verification activities” at Fordow.

Iran has been producing uranium enriched to 60 percent purity — levels that nonproliferation experts have said Tehran does not have for civilian use.

The uranium content is nearly 84 percent, almost 90 percent weapons-grade — meaning any stockpile of the material could quickly be used to produce an atomic bomb if Iran wanted to.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal limited Tehran’s uranium stockpile to 300 kilograms (661 pounds), enriched to 3.67 percent — enough to fuel nuclear power plants. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

Iran has long denied seeking nuclear weapons and insists its plans are peaceful.

Grossi last visited Iran in March 2022. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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