According to diplomats on Monday, the UN nuclear watchdog discovered uranium in Iran that was 84% enriched, which is very close to weapons grade.
The watchdog also stated that it was in discussions with Tehran on recent discoveries there.
Since April 2021, Iran has been enriching uranium to a purity of up to 60%.
At a second site, Fordow, which is carved out of a mountain, it began enriching to 60% three months ago. The grade of weapons is about 90%.
Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi stated in a public interview conducted by The Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday that stopping Iran “is now or never.”
He made his remarks just one day after articles in Bloomberg and Reuters indicated that Iran was almost at a 90% level of uranium enrichment suitable for bombs.
Two diplomats confirmed late on Sunday by Bloomberg News that the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran’s nuclear installations, had found uranium enriched to an 84% level.
“The issue is whether it was a blip in the reconfigured cascades or deliberate. The agency has asked Iran for an explanation,” one of the diplomats told Reuters.
The IAEA criticised Iran earlier this month for failing to notify it of a “significant” modification to the links between the two cascades, or clusters, of centrifuges that enrich uranium at Fordow to up to 60%.
According to several diplomats, the modification suggested that Iran could easily move to a greater degree of enrichment.
In 2018, the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the other nations, which had eased sanctions in return for limits on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Iran violated and far exceeded these constraints in response to the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, to the point where IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has claimed the agreement is now an “empty shell.”
The likelihood of the agreement being revived is slim, according to diplomats, as tensions between Iran and the West are high due to protests in Iran, the conflict in Ukraine, and Iran’s ongoing nuclear advancements, which are reducing the amount of time it would need to build a nuclear bomb if it so desired.
Iran disputes having such goals.