Nuclear Issue

  • 2021-10-22

    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi said during an interview with the Stimson Center that he does not have any information indicating Iran is covertly enriching uranium. "I don’t have any information that they are doing so. Without that indication that they are doing so, I’m confident that I’m looking at all the places where they are enriching," Grossi said on Thursday. "I have very high confidence in the ability of my inspection system to know what is going on if we are allowed in to do that."

  • 2021-10-20

    Iran’s delay in rejoining talks in Vienna to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement has fueled speculation that the new Ebrahim Raisi government has lost interest in the accord. Its deepened mistrust, optimism about its China option, and confidence that it can weather American sanctions have shaped this conclusion, leaving Washington with no choice but to publicly threaten its own shift to more coercion under an undefined Plan B, the narrative goes. But new information obtained by Responsible Statecraft reveals that that impasse is not because of an Iranian sense of immunity to pressure, but largely because President Joe Biden refused to commit to keeping sanctions lifted on Iran for the rest of his term, even if Iran rejoins and complies with the nuclear deal.

  • 2021-10-13

    Has the nuclear deal with Iran already died an ignominious death? The difficulties in reviving it would suggest it truly has. Ever since President Biden stated it was a priority for his administration, it seems it has been anything but. Delays by both the U.S. and Iran have plagued the negotiations. Both have stated that time is running out. The dynamics have changed so dramatically that there may be no compelling reason for either the U.S. or Iran  to return now to the negotiating table. Has the nuclear deal with Iran already died an ignominious death? The difficulties in reviving it would suggest it truly has.

  • 2021-10-06

    The 2021 operational launch of two reactors at the Barakah power plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) demonstrates the growth of nuclear energy in the Middle East. Over the next two years, there will be five reactors operating in the Persian Gulf¬—four reactors at Barakah and Iran’s Bushehr reactor, which has been running since 2013. If Iran and Saudi Arabia fulfill their proposed plans to build new nuclear reactors, the number will rise to at least eight reactors in the gulf by 2030. There are many reasons for concern about the safety of nuclear facilities in the gulf. Particularly in the region where Bushehr is located, Iran is prone to seismic activity. The UAE has limited experience in operating nuclear facilities. And terrorist groups have identified energy infrastructure as a key target—and even attacked nuclear installations.

  • 2021-09-27

    The spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, has responded to the International Atomic Energy Agency on limitations on access to parts of Iran’s nuclear program. Kamalvandi said that the IAEA's claim that access to a nuclear facility was restricted was “one-sided and biased” and “not productive” to the process described in a Sept. 12 joint statement issued by Iran and IAEA director Rafael Grossi.

  • 2021-09-22

    Iran’s activity this year must be viewed as practicing breakout to make enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons. It is learning to make such material more quickly and developing valuable experience in doing so. Overall, Iran is able to breakout faster and more efficiently than it could prior to these accomplishments. In a return to the JCPOA, it is not sufficient to only arrange the removal or down-blending of uranium stocks with enrichment levels above 5 percent low-enriched uranium, the downsizing of Iran’s large 5 percent LEU stock, and storage and mothballing of advanced centrifuges. Other steps are necessary. Gained breakout experiences and advances in centrifuge operation and production complicate returning to the JCPOA, since those experiences and advances cannot be destroyed or removed. These gains have been made over multiple years and are not addressed by a simple return to the JCPOA. In essence, a revived JCPOA without compensation for the irreversible gains in nuclear capabilities in the areas discussed above would constitute a new, weaker deal. Without modifications, that deal would be unlikely to achieve a 12-month breakout timeline or maintain the types of delays in Iran’s nuclear advancements that the JCPOA promised originally. The achievement of the compensatory actions discussed above is recognized as difficult, but Iran’s recent nuclear gains call for a response beyond trying to reestablish a past that no longer solves the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear program today. If Iran is unwilling to institute necessary changes, the U.S. and European strategy should shift from seeking the restoration of the JCPOA to one striving the negotiation of a stronger, longer, and more comprehensive agreement. The current pause in negotiations offers a welcome reprieve to reconsider a U.S. and European strategy, which so far must be judged in hindsight as a rush to a worse deal.

  • 2021-09-13

    During a press conference on Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi told reporters that the June attack on Iran’s nuclear research facility in Karaj had damaged some of the agency’s equipment. On June 23, Iranian media reported a “sabotage attack” against a nuclear facility in Karaj by a quadcopter drone, which they said only caused damage to the roof. There were no injuries to staff or other equipment due to already-tight security precautions. Karaj’s Center for Agricultural Research and Nuclear Medicine is a civilian facility operated by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), but unconfirmed reports spread by Israeli media suggested the attack had targeted a secret site for manufacturing centrifuges used to refine uranium. Tehran has blamed the attack on the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, which has committed numerous other operations inside Iran, including the April 2021 cyberattack against the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility and the November 2020 assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, one of Iran’s seniormost nuclear scientists.

  • 2021-09-13

    A report issued on Monday by the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group that specializes in analyzing the findings of the United Nations agency, concludes that a race over the summer to enrich uranium at 60 percent purity — just below bomb grade — has put Iran in a position to produce the fuel for a single bomb in “as short as one month.” A second weapon’s worth of fuel, it says, could be produced in less than three months, and a third in less than five. But a lead author of the report, David Albright, cautioned on Friday that Iran’s actions signaled an effort by the new government of President Ebrahim Raisi to seek new terms, more favorable to Iran, in negotiations over restoring the 2015 deal that Mr. Trump rejected. There have been no formal negotiations since June, a month before Mr. Raisi, a conservative Iranian jurist, won the presidential election. American officials say they have been expecting that he will seek to start the negotiations anew, demanding far more sanctions relief for Iran.

  • 2021-09-13

    This report summarizes and assesses information in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) quarterly safeguards report for September 7, 2021, Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), including Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Overall, the IAEA’s latest report shows Iran’s rapidly advancing nuclear activities and steps to limit IAEA monitoring, while inspectors have a diminishing ability to detect Iranian diversion of assets to undeclared facilities. The IAEA is sounding an alarm to the international community accordingly.

  • 2021-08-24

    Today, Iran does not appear to have a program focused on the actual building of nuclear weapons. At best, its intentions remain unclear. But it does appear to have a program to be prepared to make nuclear weapons and to do so on short order. Rather than a crash nuclear weapons program, Iran threatens the world with a program ready to produce nuclear weapons “on-demand.” Today, Iran is closer to being able to build nuclear weapons than it was in 2003. A reinstated JCPOA, combined with less than vigorous IAEA verification of Iran’s military sites, of the type that existed from 2015 until 2018, appears particularly unstable and dangerous, likely leading to a worsening Middle East security situation, more violence against nuclear sites and personnel, and greater missile and nuclear proliferation.

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