(USNewsBreak.com) – Over the past few years, Iran has been steadily increasing its stockpiles of uranium, the primary element needed to create nuclear weapons. Naturally, the action has sparked global concern, especially in light of several reports that the country was just weeks away from achieving weapons-grade enrichment. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization that monitors nuclear weapons and developments, recently visited the country for the first time in a year. It claims Iran is willing to cooperate — somewhat. This news could have an effect on President Joe Biden’s attempts to bring the nation back to the negotiating table.
Iran Nuclear Deal
In July 2015, Iran, along with the P5+1 nations (China, United States, Russia, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany), signed the Iran Nuclear Deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As part of the deal, Iran agreed to eliminate or minimize its uranium stockpiles and reduce the number of gas centrifuges it held.
This plan was supposed to last 13 years, through 2028. However, in 2018, former President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord, saying it didn’t have the US’ best interest in mind. He further said that the deal was more beneficial to Iran, giving the country too much without getting enough back. Since President Joe Biden took office, he has been trying to negotiate with Iran and achieve a new nuclear deal, but has met significant resistance to the idea.
Iran’s Nuclear Program
In 2022, Iran notified the IAEA that it planned to remove many of its surveillance cameras. The act was deemed a retaliatory effort against the board for passing a resolution demanding the Middle Eastern nation cooperate with inspectors. The removal of the cameras made it challenging to monitor the nuclear sites and Iran’s progress toward enriching uranium.
A recent report obtained by CBS News shows Iran has enriched uranium to 83.7%, just 6.3% short of weapons-grade material. Despite this finding, the Middle Eastern nation denies it’s building up the stockpiles in an effort to create nuclear weapons. Rather, it says the uranium is for civilian use. The countries that signed into the JCPOA disagree that there’s a need for such enrichment capability at a civilian level, noting that Iran was already in violation of its pact.
Will Iran Cooperate?
On March 4, the IAEA met with the Iranian nuclear body, and the two reportedly came to an agreement, according to a recent press release. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA director general, met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Vice President Mohammad Eslami, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Per the statement, the parties came to an agreement that would allow the agency to increase its monitoring of Iran’s nuclear sites and reactivate the 27 cameras previously disconnected.
The two sides plan to meet again in Tehran to hash out the details. Whether Iran will cooperate or if it’s just a political ploy remains to be seen. According to The Guardian, IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi clarified that there was no agreement yet regarding Iran’s old footage and data, suggesting that there were more details that still needed to be worked out.
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