In an interview with Austrian paper Die Presse published on its website on Saturday, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi was asked about Iran’s “breakout” time — the period it would take to produce enough nuclear material for one weapon, Press TV reported.
He replied, “In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time. We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment.”
Reacting to those remarks in a Sunday tweet, Kazem Gharibabadi noted, “Drawing self-made criteria such as ‘breakout’ and ‘significant quantity’ for countries which are enriching uranium under the IAEA’s surveillance is nonrelevant and has no status in the IAEA legal documents.”
Can Director General Grossi tell us, Gharibabadi asked, “what is the number of SQ for N5 (five countries possessing nuclear weapons) and NNWSs (non-nuclear-weapon states) such as the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Brazil and Argentina?”
“Better not to measure the activities under Safeguards in this way! Weapon/civilian grade material may be a better definition.” Iran’s envoy added.
Gharibabadi then reminded, “There are more than 1,300 tons of HEU (highly enriched uranium) and 300 tons of Plutonium in the world and according to the SIR 2019, total SQ also amounts to 216448 (8 pct more since 2015). What a dangerous world we are living in?!”
Iran signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology — in July 1968 and ratified it in February 1970.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly asserted that it has never sought and will never seek nuclear arms based on a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. The fatwa bans the production, possession and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Iran demonstrated to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015. The agreement was also ratified in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
However, Washington’s exit in May 2018 and the subsequent re-imposition of unilateral sanctions against Tehran left the future of the historic accord in limbo.
Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of Washington’s bans on the Iranian economy.