Vienna - The U.N. nuclear watchdog has re-installed only some monitoring equipment originally put in place under the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers that Iran then ordered removed last year, the watchdog said in two reports on Wednesday seen by Reuters.
The re-installed equipment is a fraction of what the International Atomic Energy Agency had planned to set up to improve its surveillance of Iran's nuclear activities, as the IAEA said it had agreed with Iran in March in a bid to defuse a standoff between both sides over Iran's cooperation.
The limited progress described in the reports did, however, include the installation of real-time enrichment monitoring equipment on the only lines of centrifuges enriching uranium to up to 60% purity, near weapons grade, at Natanz and Fordow, a senior diplomat said.
At the same time, Iran's stock of uranium enriched to up to 60% has continued to grow and is now roughly enough for two nuclear bombs, one of the two confidential quarterly reports to member states showed.
Iran has been pressing ahead with its enrichment program, which it has been progressively expanding and accelerating, including at its underground Fordow site that was developed in secret and which may have been built inside a mountain to protect it from potential air attack.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal imposed strict limits on the types of centrifuges Iran could use and where as well as the purity it could enrich to and the amount of enriched uranium it could hoard, in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against Iran.