The IAEA report on Iran
I have been reading on your behalf the full text of the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. Yes, I know, my devotion to duty knows no bounds.
It is, as we reported on The World Tonight last week, a report which contains a mixed message. So I thought you might like to see the key passages for yourself (words in brackets have been added by me for the sake of clarification).
Here they are:
“Para. 30: On 3 November 2007, the Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran had finished installing eighteen 164-machine cascades at FEP (the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz) and that UF6 (Uranium hexafluoride, or "hex", which is used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors and for nuclear weapons) had been fed into all 18 cascades. There has been no installation of centrifuges or centrifuge pipework outside the original 18-cascade area. Work to install feed and withdrawal infrastructure and auxiliary systems is continuing.
“Para. 31: Since February 2007, Iran has fed approximately 1240 kg of UF6 into the cascades at [Natanz]. The feed rate has remained below the expected quantity for a facility of this design. While Iran has stated that it has reached enrichment levels up to 4.8% U-235 at [Natanz], the highest U-235 enrichment measured so far from the environmental samples taken by the Agency from cascade components and related equipment is 4.0%.
“Para. 39: The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities … However, it should be noted that, since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing, pursuant to the Additional Protocol and as a transparency measure. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s current nuclear programme is diminishing.
“Para. 40: Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities …
“Para. 42: Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised in the context of the work plan. However, its cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive. As previously stated, Iran’s active cooperation and full transparency are indispensable for full and prompt implementation of the work plan.
“Para 43: In addition, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about the scope and nature of its present programme. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally importantly, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Although the Agency has no concrete information, other than that addressed through the work plan, about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran without full implementation of the Additional Protocol. This is especially important in the light of Iran’s undeclared activities for almost two decades and the need to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme …”
Which boils down, I think, to this: the IAEA has found no evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear weapons programme, but is still not able to say that no such evidence exists.
This was the reaction from the US envoy to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte: "The key thing from the director general's report is that Iran's cooperation remains selective and incomplete. So Iran has not met the world's expectation that it would disclose information on both its current and past programs.”
Now that you’ve had a chance to read the IAEA’s words for yourself, what’s your reaction?