June 5, 2009

IAEA issues new report on Iran nuke program

iaeaAvailable here.
Analysis to come…stay tuned.
update: On a preliminary reading, not much earth-shattering news from this one.  Two interesting developments, though: the IAEA now acknowledges that Iran has installed 7,221 centrifuges, and has produced 1,339 kg of low-enriched uranium.  Iran has also drastically sped up its production of LEU — Iran produced nearly as much LEU in the past six months (500kg) as it had in the previous 20 (839 kg between Feb. 07 and Nov. 08).
The LEU that has been produced remains at levels under 5% enrichment (more like 4.4%)–nowhere near the 90%+ needed for nuclear weapons.  And the IAEA “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran”.
But still, the Iranians aren’t complying fully with all of the questions/access requests the Agency has submitted.
update II: The media will most likely be unable to avoid throwing words around like “logjam,” “deadlock,” and “stalemate” when describing the situation in light of today’s report.  THIS IS A MISTAKE.  With an election a week away and forthcoming negotiations with the US and P5+1, Iran’s nuclear program is and will continue to be in status quo mode.  But that doesn’t mean things are stuck in a rut–actually far from it. Iran won’t give something up for free if it can be useful in negotiations. The increased rate of stockpiling LEU could be seen as a ploy to grab for more leverage prior to negotiations, but compared to US efforts to line up support for “crippling” sanctions among EU partners, as well as Congressional sanctions and divestment efforts, that’s nothing.

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