Nuclear Issue

  • 2021-11-05

    Yesterday, on November 4, 2021, the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced that Iran’s current stockpile of enriched uranium comprises 25 kg of uranium enriched to 60 percent and 210 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent. The spokesperson did not state the chemical forms of the enriched uranium, although these masses appear to be in the units of equivalent uranium hexafluoride mass. The new numbers appear consistent with previous production rates for near 20 percent enriched uranium, but the rate of production of 60 percent highly enriched uranium (HEU) reflects Iran’s continued use of two advanced centrifuge cascades to make this HEU, a practice it started at the end of the last IAEA reporting period.

  • 2021-10-30

    The Biden administration is not willing to return to the original nuclear deal with Iran. It wants a much different deal that it can then use to further pressure Iran into more, unrelated concessions. That strategy will fail. Iran knows that the U.S. is not serious about returning to the JCPOA.

  • 2021-10-25

    The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has strongly criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying it must not go beyond its authority and allow leak of technical details about Iran’s nuclear activities. […] “We have sent our objections against this time and again … last time, in January 2021, we sent a full briefing notice on the issue asking why the Agency keeps publishing all the technical details on Iran’s activities,” he said. “The information is mainly valuable in commercial terms, and should not be shared with others … unfortunately the IAEA has failed to do this and has shared valuable information, which was at its disposal, with others, in full details.” He noted that the move by the Agency is a violation of its own regulations on “the necessity of keeping countries’ information confidential”.

  • 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

    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.