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Davos 2024: IAEA chief says monitoring of Iran nuclear sites 'not at a good place'

Asked by Al-Monitor if Iran was close to enriching weapons-grade uranium, Grossi responded, “They are already there.”
Rafael Grossi

DAVOS, Switzerland — Iran is "galloping ahead" with its uranium enrichment, raising the prospect of nuclear weapons–grade proliferation in the Middle East, warned Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Emphasizing the sense of urgency, Grossi said his agency was being held "hostage" amid Iran's ongoing standoff with Western states and noted that Iran is the sole non-nuclear-weapon state enriching uranium at extremely high levels. This comes after an IAEA report found that Iran had ramped up its uranium enrichment after a slowdown in the first half of 2023. 

The situation has become even more volatile amid the ongoing war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas that began Oct. 7, with around 25,000 Palestinians and Israelis killed since the conflict began. Since the war's outbreak, other fronts have opened in the region, including in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. On the latter front, the United Kingdom and the United States have conducted air strikes against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels there for attacking vessels in the Red Sea and disrupting global trade. The conflict threatens to escalate even further. 

Iran's nuclear capability

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