Of course, the old ones were repeated. In the latest report on Iran of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which had been published yesterday, it is once more concluded that,
“[r]egrettably, as a result of the continued lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the remaining issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, the Agency has not made any substantive progress on these issues. As indicated in previous reports of the Director General, for the Agency to make such progress, Iran needs to provide substantive information, and access to relevant documentation, locations and individuals, in connection with all of the outstanding issues. With respect to the alleged studies in particular, an important first step is for Iran to clarify the extent to which information contained in the documentation which Iran was shown, and given the opportunity to study, is factually correct and where, in its view, such information may have been modified or relates to non-proliferation purposes.“
The last part (the ‘alleged studies’) relates to the ‘laptop’ and ‘green salt’ allegations which, according to Tehran, had been ‘fabricated’. The militant Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), which has very recently been removed from the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations, had provided U.S. intelligence in 2004 with a stolen laptop with suggestive evidence for a small-scale facility to produce uranium gas.
The IAEA furthermore concludes that,
“[u]unless Iran implements the above transparency measures and the Additional Protocol, as required by the Security Council, the Agency will not be in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. The Director General continues to urge Iran to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date. The Director General, at the same time, urges Member States which have provided such documentation to the Agency to agree to the Agency’s providing copies thereof to Iran.”
It is self-evident that in the case of alleged forgery Iran should in fact be provided with the original files.
Again, it is made clear that,
“[c]ontrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not supended its enrichment related activities or its work on heavy water-related projects, including the construction of the heavy water moderated research reactor, IR-40 [located at Arak], and the production of the fuel for that reactor.”
Three remarkable statements are listed in the report. First, Iran has increased the number of centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz, which are supposed to enrich uranium, to more than 5500. However, it has not increased the number of centrifuges which are already enriching uranium. Their number is till below 4000. Secondly, the IAEA reports Iranian claims that, since November 18 2008 and January 31, 2009, the country had produced 171 kg of low enriched uranium (LEU) hexafluoride. Altogether, Iran has thus produced 1010 kg of LEU since February 2007, when fuelling the centrifuges in Natanz had begun. Thirdly, upon an inspection at the Fuel Manufacturing Plant [in Esfahan] “[i]t was noted that the process line for the production of natural uranium pellets for the heavy water reactor fuel had been completed and fuel rods were being produced.” The IAEA report mentions that using satellite imagery, there is proof that the Heavy Water Production Plant in Arak now appears to be in operational condition.”
The key for any progress lies in ratifying the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty of which Iran is a signatory. Tehran’s consistently declaimed litany that “a broader access would expose sensitive information related to its conventional military and missile related activities” must eventually be countered with a comprehensive security guarantee. It’s high time to get out of this impasse.