WSJ: U.N. Inspectors Find Evidence of Nuclear Weapons Work

By Deborah Brand   Feb. 7, 2021

United Nations nuclear inspectors have found traces of undeclared radioactive material at Iranian nuclear sites that could indicate work on nuclear weapons, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal story citing diplomats briefed on the matter.

Last year, Tehran blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from accessing those same locations for seven months, the report said.

One of the facilities in Abadeh was highlighted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2019 as the site of an alleged secret nuclear facility.

Netanyahu said at the time that Iran had “conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons” there and later sought to destroy the site along with any evidence that it had tried.

“This is an actual cover-up. They put gravel on it to try and hide their traces,” he said at the time, adding that the IAEA had found traces of uranium there.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday warned Tehran will not comply with the 2015 nuclear deal until the U.S. drops all sanctions against it.

“Iran has fulfilled all its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, not the United States and the three European countries … If they want Iran to return to its commitments, the United States must lift all sanctions first,” Khamenei wrote on Twitter.

“After verifying whether all sanctions have been lifted, then we will return to full compliance,” he wrote.

Iran last month announced it was enriching uranium at 20 percent purity.

Once 20 percent purity is reached, it is a short technical step for centrifuges to obtain weapons-grade 90 percent enrichment or even higher.

Israel’s military chief last week warned President Joe Biden against reentering the 2015 nuclear deal, even with modified terms, and added he had ordered his forces to lay the groundwork for strikes against Iran.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi further warned that Iran could be “months, maybe even weeks” away from obtaining the bomb.

The military leader added that rejoining the deal would likely trigger a “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East with other countries, like Saudi Arabia, jostling for the bomb to maintain the balance of power.

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