On September 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran has been living up to its commitments as part of the nuclear deal, specifically as codified in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. For example, Iran has not surpassed limits on its stock of enriched uranium or heavy water. As with earlier quarterly reports, however, this one did not include details about every restriction in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright and senior policy analyst Andrea Stricker from Institute for Science and International Security said that the lack of information in IAEA reports “combined with the secrecy surrounding the decision-making of the Joint Commission is a serious shortcoming in the implementation of the JCPOA and erodes support for this important deal.” They warned that Iran may be taking advantage of some loopholes related to uranium enrichment.
Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, noted that the agreement set up the Joint Commission to assess ambiguities and challenges. So far, its decisions on two cases have not threatened the overarching goals of the agreement, she said. “While more information about the decisions made by the commission could promote greater public confidence that the terms of the deal are being met, given the sensitivity of the information involved, it is not surprising some of the decisions remain confidential, as permitted under the JCPOA’s conditions,” according to Davenport.
The following are excerpts from the IAEA report.
Activities Related to Heavy Water and Reprocessing
Iran has not pursued the construction of the existing Arak heavy water research reactor
(IR-40 Reactor) based on its original design. Iran has not produced or tested natural uranium pellets, fuel pins or fuel assemblies specifically designed for the support of the IR-40 Reactor as originally designed, and all existing natural uranium pellets and fuel assemblies have remained in storage under continuous Agency monitoring (paras 3 and 10).
Activities Related to Enrichment and Fuel
At the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz, 5060 IR-1 centrifuges have remained installed in 30 cascades in their configurations in the operating units at the time the JCPOA was agreed (para. 27). Iran has withdrawn 96 IR-1 centrifuges from those held in storage for the replacement of damaged or failed IR-1 centrifuges installed at FEP (para. 29.1).
Iran has continued the enrichment of UF6 at FEP. Throughout the reporting period, Iran has not enriched uranium above 3.67% U-235 (para. 28).
Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile did not exceed 300 kg of UF6 enriched up to 3.67% U-235 (or the equivalent in different chemical forms) (para. 56).
Iran has not operated any of its declared facilities for the purpose of re-converting fuel plates or scrap into UF6, nor has it informed the Agency that it has built any new facilities for such a purpose (para. 58).
Centrifuge Research & Development, Manufacturing and Inventory
No enriched uranium has been accumulated through enrichment R&D activities, and Iran’s enrichment R&D with and without uranium has been conducted using centrifuges within the limits defined in the JCPOA (paras 32–42).
Iran has continued to permit the Agency to use on-line enrichment monitors and electronic seals which communicate their status within nuclear sites to Agency inspectors, and to facilitate the automated collection of Agency measurement recordings registered by installed measurement devices (para. 67.1). Iran has issued long-term visas to Agency inspectors designated for Iran as requested by the Agency and provided proper working space for the Agency at nuclear sites and facilitated the use of working space at locations near nuclear sites in Iran (para. 67.2). Iran has accepted additional Agency inspectors designated for Iran (para. 67.3).
Iran has continued to permit the Agency to monitor — through measures agreed with Iran, including containment and surveillance measures — all uranium ore concentrate (UOC) produced in Iran or obtained from any other source, and reported by Iran to the Agency. Iran also provided the Agency with all information necessary to enable the Agency to verify the production of UOC and the inventory of UOC produced in Iran or obtained from any other source (para. 69).
Click here for the full IAEA report.
Click here for analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security.
Click here for analysis by the Arms Control Association.