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The flag of Iran is seen in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Headquarters in Vienna. Photo: Michael Gruber/Getty Images

The United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Monday that Iran has failed to explain the presence of "traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites," Reuters reported.

The big picture: The International Atomic Energy Agency also said that it has not been able to access data necessary for tracking the development of Iran's nuclear program since the end of February, when Tehran began restricting international inspections at its facilities, per AP.

  • "While the IAEA and Iran earlier acknowledged the restrictions limited access to surveillance cameras at Iranian facilities, Monday’s report indicated they went much further," AP noted.
  • Subsequently, the IAEA said it is currently only able to provide an estimate of Iran's nuclear stockpile.
  • "In the IAEA report, the agency for the first time released estimates of Iran’s stockpile rather than precise figures, saying that as of May 22, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was 3,241 kilograms (7,145 pounds), up about 273 kilograms (600 pounds) from the last quarterly report," AP reported.

Between the lines: Iran's failure to explain the uranium traces found at the three undisclosed sites could throw a wrench into the nuclear talks underway in Vienna, Reuters noted.

  • "The lack of progress in clarifying the Agency's questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the Agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme," said the report, per Reuters.

Go deeper: As Iran nuclear talks resume, U.S. hopes for a deal rise

Go deeper

Sep 3, 2021 - World

U.S. sanctions Iranian operatives over alleged plot to silence dissident

Photo: Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

The U.S. has sanctioned four Iranian intelligence operatives for their role in an alleged campaign to silence critics of the Iranian government, the Treasury Department said Friday.

Driving the news: The four operatives planned to abduct Masih Alinejad, a New York City-based Iranian-American activist, according to the Treasury Department. They have also targeted other Iranian dissidents in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 mins ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
24 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

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