International Atomic Energy Agency officials will visit Tehran in the near future, Iran’s top diplomat said on Wednesday, after the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s inspectors last week detected uranium enriched to 84% purity in the Islamic Republic.
“In the framework of concluding negotiations, IAEA officials will travel to Tehran in the coming days,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.
“We hope that IAEA Director [Rafael] Grossi will reach an agreement with Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization from a non-political and technical standpoint,” he added.
The IAEA said on Monday it was in talks to determine how Iran accumulated the 84% enriched uranium, just below the 90% level needed for nuclear weapons and the highest level of purity found by monitors in the country to date.
Earlier this month, the nuclear watchdog chastised Tehran for modifying the connection between the two groups of high-tech machines at its Fordow plant.
The modification was discovered during an unannounced inspection on Jan. 21 at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), a location built into a mountain where inspectors are beefing up checks after Iran said it would drastically increase enrichment levels.
In a confidential report to member states, the IAEA stated that “they were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran.”
A diplomat cited by Reuters implied that the 84% enriched uranium was found at the same site as the reconfigured cascades, or clusters, of centrifuges.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday called on Washington to take steps to convince Tehran that the United States is not bluffing when it comes to the possibility of the use of force.
“If the United States does not establish a credible military threat immediately, either Israel will attack, or Iran will have a nuclear weapon, which we will not allow under any circumstance,” said the foreign minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned later Tuesday night that history has shown that in the absence of a credible military threat or actual military action, Iran will become a nuclear power.
“The longer you wait, the harder that becomes. We’ve waited very long. I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That is not merely an Israeli interest; it’s an American interest; it’s in the interest of the entire world,” said Netanyahu.