Analysis Iran Rebuffs U.N. Watchdog on Resuming Nuclear Inspections

Dalit

Committed member
Messages
199
Reactions
282
Nation of residence
Nethelands
Nation of origin
Netherlands
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Tehran continues to refuse to let it replace key monitoring equipment that tracks the country’s nuclear program.

BRUSSELS — In what could be an ill omen for the resumption of talks next week on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that he had failed to convince Iran to replace key equipment needed to monitor its nuclear program.

The agency is charged by the United Nations with monitoring nuclear activity among member states. Its inspectors and cameras have been the prime source of information about Iran’s atomic program, which many in the West believe is coming ever closer to having the know-how and material to fashion a nuclear weapon, despite Iran’s repeated insistence of peaceful intent.

The agency’s director-general, Rafael M. Grossi, told a quarterly meeting of its board of governors in Geneva that two days of talks in Tehran had not produced an agreement to reinstall surveillance cameras at a centrifuge-parts workshop in Karaj, Iran. The workshop was the target of apparent sabotage in June, an attack that Iran blames on Israel.

After what he called intense negotiations, Mr. Grossi told reporters: “We could not agree yesterday, in spite of my best efforts.’’ He vowed to continue trying, saying, “We must reach an agreement.’’

The Karaj factory is once again producing parts for centrifuges, which enrich uranium, but without monitoring by the agency. In September, Iran had reached an agreement with Mr. Grossi to allow agency inspectors access to monitoring devices, including cameras with full memory cards and automated measuring devices under seal, in various nuclear facilities. But Iran has since denied inspectors access to change the memory cards and retrieve the data.

Mr. Grossi said talks with Iran would continue, but that time was running out.

“We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge” of activities at the workshop, he said, adding that the information is “widely recognized as essential in relation to a return’’ to the 2015 nuclear deal that put tough limits on Iran’s nuclear enrichment and other activities.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Iran refused to offer the agency access to Karaj unless it dropped parts of a long-running inquiry into the discovery of undeclared nuclear material in Iran, raising concerns that Tehran is hiding past or current nuclear military activities.

President Biden is in negotiations to bring the United States back into the 2015 deal, which former President Donald J. Trump renounced more than three years ago. But since the last round of those negotiations ended in June, Iran elected a more conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi. He has expressed deep skepticism about the value of the negotiations unless the United States immediately lifts all punitive sanctions against Iran and commits to never leaving the deal again. Both those conditions are impossible to meet, senior American officials say.

On Monday, for the first time since Mr. Raisi took office this summer, Iranian negotiators plan to meet with their European, Chinese and Russian counterparts in Vienna to resume talks on the deal. But the Europeans, and American negotiators following the talks, are far more pessimistic than when they left Vienna five months ago. Today, the nuclear deal looks dead, and President Biden’s vision of re-entering the agreement in his first year, then building something “longer and stronger,” appears all but gone.

Iran breached the terms of the 2015 deal in response to what it said was the United States’ reimposition of punitive sanctions under Mr. Trump and European countries’ failure to fulfill economic promises they had made to Iran as part of the agreement.

American officials estimate that Iran could now have enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb within about two months, although its ability to create a weapon — a goal Iran has always denied — would be perhaps two years away.

In Tehran, Mr. Grossi met Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Iran’s foreign minister, Hossain Amirabdollahian, who said that Tehran wanted “constructive engagement” with the agency.

 

Dalit

Committed member
Messages
199
Reactions
282
Nation of residence
Nethelands
Nation of origin
Netherlands
What implications can this have if a deal isn't struck? The Americans/Israelis claim they are ready to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.
 

unoriginal123

Member
Messages
7
Reactions
5
Nation of residence
Germany
Nation of origin
Austria
What implications can this have if a deal isn't struck? The Americans/Israelis claim they are ready to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.
I mean, I doubt that they would directly strike nuclear facilities with conventional weaponry. Think back to the Stuxnet virus and how much damage that did to the program, a computer virus achieved more carnage than any bombing run. And I'm not an expert by any means, but the most vital infrastructure for the program has by now likely been made a closed-circuit operation.

Other means of them preventing to get the bomb is by killing off the personnel involved in making it, like they did last year. Seems to me to be more efficient and damaging than to merely bomb any production facilities.


The thing I'm wondering about is whether or not Iran would settle for a dirty bomb instead of a pure nuclear warhead. Easier to manufacture and still a formidable deterrent, but not comparable to the israeli arsenal.
 

Dalit

Committed member
Messages
199
Reactions
282
Nation of residence
Nethelands
Nation of origin
Netherlands
In other words, a recipe for disaster because the Iranians are bound to give a reply.
 

Saithan

Experienced member
Denmark Correspondent
Messages
6,443
Reactions
14,702
Nation of residence
Denmark
Nation of origin
Turkey

Iran ups enriched uranium production at Fordow nuclear plant: IAEA​

BY REUTERS​

VIENNA DEC 01, 2021 - 9:24 PM GMT+3

The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, May 23, 2021. (Reuters File Photo)
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, May 23, 2021. (Reuters File Photo)


Iran has started producing enriched uranium with more efficient advanced centrifuges at its Fordow plant dug into a mountain, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, further eroding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during talks with the West on saving it.

The announcement appeared to undercut indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both fully back into the battered deal that resumed this week after a five-month break prompted by the election of hardline President Ebrahim Raisi.

Western negotiators fear Iran is creating facts on the ground to gain leverage in the talks.

On the third day of this round of talks, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to up to 20% purity with one cascade, or cluster, of 166 advanced IR-6 machines at Fordow. Those machines are far more efficient than the first-generation IR-1.

Underlining how badly eroded the deal is, that pact does not allow Iran to enrich uranium at Fordow at all. Until now Iran had been producing enriched uranium there with IR-1 machines and had enriched with some IR-6s without keeping the product.

It has 94 IR-6 machines installed in a cascade at Fordow that is not yet operating, the IAEA said in a statement.

A more comprehensive IAEA report circulated to member states and seen by Reuters said that as a result of Iran's move the nuclear watchdog planned to step up inspections at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) that houses the centrifuges, but the details still need to be ironed out.

Iran played down the report as routine despite the fact that the IAEA, which does not explicitly give a reason for such reports, typically issues them only for significant developments such as fresh breaches of the deal's nuclear restrictions.

"The recent report of the IAEA on Iran's nuclear activities, is an ordinary update in line with regular verification in Iran," Iran's permanent mission to the U.N. organizations in Vienna said on Twitter.

However, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi made clear he viewed the development with concern.

"This redoubles the alert. It is not banal. Iran can do it, but if you have such an ambition you need to accept inspections. It's necessary," Grossi told French broadcaster France 24.

Iran and major powers are trying to revive the 2015 deal under which Tehran limited its nuclear program in exchange for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. economic sanctions. U.S. then-President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh U.S. sanctions, angering Iran and dismaying the other parties: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

This week's indirect talks between Tehran and Washington – with others shuttling between them because Iran refuses to meet U.S. officials – have made no visible progress. Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson on Wednesday accused Israel of "trumpeting lies to poison" the talks.

While it was unclear what the spokesperson was referring to, a Tel Aviv-based reporter for U.S. news organization Axios on Monday reported that Israel had shared intelligence with Washington and European allies suggesting Iran was taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity, the level needed for a nuclear weapon.

Iran says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

 
Last edited:
Top Bottom