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Kerry on Nuclear Talks En Route to Vienna

             On November 20, Secretary of State John Kerry said that although Iran and the world’s six major powers have discussed in detail all the critical issues related to a nuclear deal, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” When asked about the possibility of extending the talks, he said that the negotiators were only discussing a final deal among themselves. Kerry emphasized that details about the talks in Vienna will remain among the negotiators and warned against listening to rumors. Kerry met with his counterparts in Britain and France en route to Vienna, where nuclear talks began on November 19. The following are excerpts from his remarks to the press in Paris.

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  As you know, I’ve spent the last couple of days in Europe, in London, and now in Paris.  And during the course of that time, I’ve had very worthwhile meetings with Foreign Secretary Hammond of Great Britain, Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal here in Paris today, and of course, with Foreign Minister Fabius, and other meetings that I have had during that time.
During these meetings, we’ve discussed a range of the challenges that we face together as partners – obviously, Syria, ISIL, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, others, but particularly, as you can imagine, the focus has been on the nuclear negotiations with Iran.  As all of us know, we are now a little less than a week away from the November 24th deadline for these negotiations.  And none of us came to this process, I assure you, with anything except serious purpose and realism.  We knew the stakes in getting into this, and we also knew the challenges.
But we’ve also – I want to make it clear – come a long way in a short period of time.  After all, it was only last year when our nations first resumed high-level contact after decades of stalled relations, I think more than 35 years since we had even talked.  It was only last year that President Obama spoke with President Rouhani by phone, and it was only last year when I sat down for the first time with Foreign Minister Zarif in New York at the United Nations. 
Work also had to be done during that time with our European partners and the P5+1 partners and with the Iranians in order to be able to test seriously what might be possible at the negotiating table.  These steps all together created an opening that we hadn’t seen or been able to possibly experience since the time or the advent of the Iranian nuclear program.  As a result, last November we did conclude a Joint Plan of Action with Iran in which they agreed to freeze – effectively freeze their nuclear program while the P5+1 provided limited sanctions relief.  And together, we set a frame for these negotiations on a comprehensive agreement.
And despite the skepticism that many expressed when we first reached the JPOA, as it was known – the Joint Plan of Action – the world is already safer because of it.  And all sides have stuck to their commitments made under that agreement.  Consequently, we are today closer to resolving the international concerns around Iran’s nuclear program through diplomatic means.
Now, we have the chance – and I underscore the word chance – to complete an agreement that would meet our strategic objectives, that would guarantee that Iran’s four pathways to fissile material for a nuclear weapon cannot be used, and thereby to be able to give the world the needed confidence that the Iranian program is exclusively and conclusively peaceful as Iran has said it is.  And then at the same time, enable the Iranian people to be able to have the economic opportunities that they seek. 
Clearly one can envision an agreement that is fair and possible.  But it still will require difficult choices.  Now, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – Iran has continued to state it has no interest in obtaining a nuclear weapon.  Ultimately, if you want to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your program is a peaceful one, that is not, from a technical perspective, very hard to do.  We and our European and P5+1 partners are working to secure an agreement that accomplishes that goal.  And in the days ahead, we’re going to try to work very, very hard to see if we can close the gaps and get to where we need to be.
I would emphasize both sides are taking this process seriously and both sides are trying to find the common ground.  That doesn’t mean that we agree on everything.  Obviously, there are gaps.  We don’t yet.  But it does mean that we have discussed in detail the full range of relevant issues that have to be part of a durable and comprehensive agreement, including infrastructure, stockpiles, research, equipment, timing, and sequencing. 
And I would also emphasize that we all know our principles in this process, and our principles as a group are rock solid.  As we have said every single step of this process, an agreement like the one we are seeking is not built on trust, as much as anybody might like it to be.  It is built on verification.  And no member of the P5+1 is prepared to or can accept any arrangements that we cannot verify or make any promises that cannot be kept. 
In a few hours, I will head to Vienna.  And now more than ever we believe that it’s critical that we not negotiate in public and that the ideas discussed among the negotiations remain among the negotiators so that misunderstandings are prevented and the integrity of the discussions is preserved.  So you’re going to hear, I’m sure, a lot of rumors.  There’ll be conflicting reports.  The bottom line is nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and it’s the negotiators who have to speak for these negotiations.  We intend to keep working hard to resolve the differences, to define the finish line, and do everything in our power to try to get across that line.
I thank you very much, and I’d be happy to take a couple questions.
QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  You just said that the P5+1 is united.  But don’t you see some divisions, even minor divisions between the United States and France about how to get to an agreement on the nuclear program? 
SECRETARY KERRY:  I don’t agree with the assumptions that you’ve made in the course of that question, in many of them.  And I think Laurent Fabius just spoke for France and said nous sommes en commun, we are in common.  We are.  He gave me a piece of paper – which we’ve had for some period of time – in which he lays out France’s four ideas about what they believe are important.  I’m not going to go into them because I said we’re going to negotiate this privately.  But we agree with every single one of them.  We may have a minor difference here or there on a number of something or whatever, but not on the fundamental principles.  We are in agreement that you have to be able to verify this, that there are limits.  There has to be an acceptable level, and we’re confident about our unity as P5+1. 
So I’m – we’ve had a terrific partner in France in this effort.  France made a very courageous decision with respect to the Mistral, for example, which is not directly related to Iran, but it’s a courageous decision with respect to its impact, its economics, and other things.  We have admiration for that kind of decision of principle.  And believe me, I know people will try to find a division or create a division, but when we say the P5+1 is united, we mean it.  And we’re going to work together as colleagues closely.  I’ll be in close communication with Foreign Minister Fabius even today and into tomorrow and for the next few days.  And we’re going to work as a team.  It’s that simple.
QUESTION:  Thank you, sir.  I wanted to just ask you about Mr. Hammond’s remarks.  He doesn’t seem very optimistic that you will make the deadline.  So – and he thinks an extension will probably be necessary.  So I wondered if you would talk a bit about what sort of extension might be palatable to you, how long this might drag out for.
SECRETARY KERRY:  No.  We’re not talking about an extension, not among ourselves.  We have not talked about the ingredients of an extension or – we’re talking about getting an agreement.  Now, I know that Secretary Hammond is concerned about the gaps.  We all are.  And I think he’s expressing his personal concerns about how to close those gaps over the next few days, and it’s very fair for him to have those concerns.  But we are not discussing extension; we are negotiating to try to get an agreement.  It’s that simple.
And look, if you get to the final hour and you’re in need of having to look at alternatives or something, we’ll look at them.  I’m not telling you we’re not going to look at something.  But we’re not looking at them, not now.  This is – we’re driving towards what we believe is the outline of an agreement that we think we can have.  And a lot of work has been done, including on annexes and other things, over the course of these last months by some very effective technical and expert people in the field of nuclear power and so forth.  And we’re quite confident about the groundwork that’s been laid.


Report: Iran Tightens Grip on Internet

            Iran's government is pursuing measures to increase its control over Internet access, according to a new report from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Authorities are developing a “National Internet” infrastructure that would allow state agencies to control and access all internet content inside Iran. The state is also filtering mobile phone applications, shutting down Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and cracking down on online activists. The report’s findings indicate that President Hassan Rouhani’s rhetorical support for internet freedoms has not produced substantive changes in policy, as hardliners continue to pursue  stronger control over Internet access. The following are excerpts from the full report.

            Censorship and state control over the Internet in Iran is changing: it is becoming more systemic and less detectable, posing an ever-greater threat to Iranian users. Increasingly, the state is focusing on developing the technological infrastructure to effectively control access to the Internet inside Iran and covertly monitor its use. In effect, the state is attempting to create a wall around the Internet, and to serve as its sole gatekeeper, allowing or denying entry at will and gaining full access to the accounts of those whom it allows in.
            The intensification of state efforts reflects the fact that the Internet has increasingly emerged as one of the central battlegrounds between hardliners anxious to control all expression and access to information in Iran, and the majority of the population, who voiced their desire for greater openness and freedom with the election of the centrist Hassan Rouhani to the presidency in June 2013.
            Keenly aware of the Iranian citizenry’s embrace of the Internet, hardliners ensconced in the judicial, intelligence and security arms of the state and backed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have ensured that the country’s Internet policies remain under their control, immune from electoral politics.
            The highest body responsible for overseeing the Internet is the Supreme Cyberspace Council. In charge of general policies, it was formed in 2012 under the direct orders of Khamenei, who views the Internet as a corrupting influence that must be strictly censored and controlled.
            The body that monitors cyberspace and is responsible for indexing the websites and mobile applications that are to be blocked by the Telecommunications Ministry, is the Working Group to Determine Instances of Criminal Content on the Internet. Formed in 2009, it works under the supervision of the Prosecutor General, and has 13 members. Six of these are members of the president’s cabinet. The remaining seven are comprised of representatives of the Intelligence Ministry, Guidance Ministry, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) agency, and other state organizations who are vetted and controlled by Khamenei. The members representing the elected administration are thus a permanent minority and not able to have a definitive impact on the decisions of the group.
            The Working Group has criminalized content that is supposedly contrary to “public chastity and morality,” “sacred Islamic principles,” “security and public peace,” and “government officials and public institutions.” These highly subjective and potentially all-encompassing determinations have given the hardliners free reign to take sweeping action based on their own interpretations and political proclivities.
            The state’s efforts to achieve control over digital communications in Iran have focused on three main areas. First, authorities are developing the technical infrastructure that will give various state agencies full control over Internet access inside Iran. This includes developing the Iranian National Information Network (or “National Internet”), which will allow the state to be the sole “gatekeeper” to the Internet inside Iran; providing government-issued SSL security certificates, which will enable undetected government access into accounts; and developing a national browser and operating system, which will ensure use of the government SSL certificates. Second, authorities are continuing their filtering activities, with a focus on mobile phone applications, which have become an increasingly central platform for Internet use in Iran. Third, hardliners in the Judiciary and the intelligence and security services are strengthening the state’s ability to target and prosecute online activists.
            Taken together, the development of the National Internet, the filtering of mobile applications and websites, and the intensified prosecution of online activists, indicate that the state has significantly increased intent—and capability—to stamp out online dissent.
            While the June 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani ushered in hopes for a change in the government’s Internet policies, the reality that state control over the Internet is increasing is a sober reminder that key centers of power in Iran remain committed to online repression.
            To be sure, Rouhani has rhetorically promoted Internet freedom; it is part and parcel of his overriding policy objective, namely, the economic revitalization and modernization of the country. Moreover, he has had some notable achievements. His unblocking of the WhatsApp mobile application in May 2014, and his granting of licenses to provide 3G and 4G services in the country, were both significant. Indeed, hardliners had long railed against fast Internet speeds (and the access to content not controlled by the State that such speeds would allow), and had relied on the practice of slowing down Internet speeds to the point where its use was rendered effectively impossible.
            Nevertheless, such support has translated into relatively few tangible policies, and hardliners in the intelligence, security and judicial branches and supported by Khamenei have been able to pursue their intensified control over the Internet.
Click here for the full report


Syrian & Iraqi Crises Pose Challenge to Iran

             The rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and the rebellion against the Syrian government has called Tehran’s close relationship between Baghdad and Damascus into question, according to a new paper by Jubin Goodarzi. The following is an excerpt from “Iran and the Syrian and Iraqi Crises,” Viewpoints No. 66, published by the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
             As an extremist Sunni movement that does not recognize Shi’as to be Muslim, the rise of ISIS has been an extremely ominous development for Iran. Moreover, ISIS has been able to take its campaign into Iraq (a country having a 1,500 kilometer common border with Iran) and to threaten the existence of the government in Baghdad—both of which are deeply disconcerting from Tehran’s perspective. Already there have been clashes along the Iran-Iraq frontier between ISIS and Iranian security forces since June 2014.
             Iran’s response since then has been swift and entailed taking a number of decisive steps. First, it dispatched elements of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force to Iraq in order to defend Baghdad, Samarra, and Karbala. Later, in August, according to reports, troops from the 81st Armored Division crossed the border to assist Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga units in fighting ISIS. Second, it sent Su-25 ground-attack planes and other aircraft to assist in the aerial bombardment of ISIS forces. Third, specialist technical units and drones were sent to engage in surveillance of ISIS communications and movements. Fourth, Iran immediately began to provide arms and ammunition to Iraqi forces fighting ISIS. Fifth, Iranian personnel also gave advice on military tactics and strategy to the Iraqi army, Shi’a militias and Kurdish peshmerga units. Their role seems to have been instrumental in lifting the siege of Amerli in September and Jurf al-Sakhar in October. Senior Iranian military officials have explicitly stated that Tehran would not tolerate an ISIS presence along its frontier.
             Tehran is determined to prevent an ISIS victory in Iraq since this would have major security implications for Iran. Such a development would pose a direct threat to Iran’s national security, endangering its western flank. It would also enable ISIS to encourage unrest in the Sunni-inhabited regions of Iran, leading to the destabilization of the Iranian state. The Islamic Republic is also concerned that recent developments may lead to the disintegration of Iraq, with Iraqi Kurdistan declaring independence. This could have negative political and strategic consequences for Iran in terms of a knock-on effect on Iranian Kurdistan. The Iranian Kurds could then opt to go their own way or join the newly-independent Kurdish state to the west. Tehran would also be concerned about a more prominent American and Israeli presence in Iraqi Kurdistan as both have established a foothold there since 2003. The disintegration of Iraq could lead to the destabilization of Iran in terms of a spillover of the hostilities across the border or providing impetus to Iranian minorities along the periphery to take up arms against the government.
             Overall, Iraq is of vital importance to Iran in several respects. First, having Iraq as an ally ensures Iran’s security to the west and enables Tehran to project its influence across the Arab East into Syria and Lebanon. Second, bilateral trade has been growing between Iran and Iraq in recent years, and its value stood at $12 billion in 2013. Finally, it is important to bear in mind that if the Assad regime in Syria falls, the value of Iraq will increase significantly for Iran.  

Click here for the full text.


Read Jubin Goodarzi's chapter on Iran and Syria in "The Iran Primer."


Iran Nuke Program 1: ABCs of Issues

      There’s no one single formula for a nuclear deal with Iran. The United States compares negotiations to solving a Rubik’s Cube™, because so many pieces are involved—and moving one moves all the others. (The world’s most popular puzzle has 43 quintillion permutations to solve it so all the colors match on the six faces.) These are some of the key issues in the Rubik’s Cube of a nuclear deal.



         CENTRIFUGES: Since 2002, Iran has built centrifuges to enrich uranium, which can fuel both peaceful energy and deadly bombs. Tehran claims it is only for medical research and energy. But Iran’s abilities far exceed its current needs; Russia provides fuel for Iran’s single nuclear reactor.
            Iran now has about 19,000 centrifuges—up from less than 200 a decade ago. The vast majority of these are first-generation “IR-1” centrifuges, but Iran has begun installing much more sophisticated “IR-2” models. About 10,000 are enriching uranium at Iran’s two enrichment facilities, Natanz and Fordow; the rest are installed but not operating. The more centrifuges or the more advanced centrifuges Iran has, the faster it can enrich uranium.

            A deal will try to reduce the number of Iran’s centrifuges. Outside experts suggest the goal could be to limit Iran to between 2,000 and 6,000 operating IR-1 centrifuges, and place constraints on research and development into more advanced machines.

          ENRICHMENT: Uranium enriched to 90 percent is the purest form to fuel a weapon. Prior to the November 24 “Joint Plan of Action” (JPOA) interim nuclear deal, Iran was enriching up to 20 percent level; under the JPOA, enrichment has been temporarily capped at five percent or less.
            A final deal could seek to limit enrichment to five percent or less.
          STOCKPILE: The larger the stockpile of uranium gas, the faster Iran could produce fuel for a bomb. Iran had 447 kg of uranium enriched at 20 percent before the interim deal went into effect in January. It has since begun “neutralizing” its 20 percent stockpile by diluting 104 kg to 3.5 percent enriched uranium and converting another 287 kg into uranium oxide powder. As of May, Iran had an estimated 56 kg of uranium gas enriched at 20 percent. It is due to dilute or oxidize all its 20 percent uranium gas by July 20.

            A deal could seek to limit the stockpile of 5 percent enriched uranium and require Iran to further reduce its stockpile of 20 percent uranium in oxide form. Iran may be allowed to keep some for research, but not enough to quickly build a bomb.

         NATANZ: Iran’s primary enrichment facility includes three underground buildings, two of which are designed to hold 50,000 centrifuges, and six buildings built above ground.
            A deal will try to limit the program at Natanz.
          FORDO: The smaller, underground enrichment facility near Qom includes two halls; each could hold 1,500 centrifuges. Iran claims Fordow is to enrich uranium up to 20 percent— only for research. But skeptics contend the deeply-buried site, designed to survive aerial bombardment, is intended to take 20 percent enriched material from Natanz and enrich it to higher levels for use in a nuclear weapon.
            A deal will try to end enrichment activities at Fordow, perhaps converting it to a research-only facility.
            ARAK: The small heavy-water reactor, begun in the 1990s, is unfinished. Iran claims it is to produce medical isotopes and thermal power for civilian use. But the design would also produce plutonium that, if chemically reprocessed, could provide an alternative fuel to uranium for an atomic bomb. Nine kilograms of plutonium is enough material to fuel one or two nuclear weapons. After completion, Arak would need to run for 12 to 18 months to generate that much plutonium.
            A deal will try to close Arak or redesign it in a way to substantially reduce plutonium output. A deal will also try prohibit Iran from building a reprocessing facility.
          INSPECTIONS and VERIFICATION: Any deal will require considerable transparency into the nature and extent of Iran’s civilian nuclear infrastructure, as well as possible past military dimensions of its program. A deal will also involve extensive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Natanz, Fordow, Arak, centrifuge assembly facilities, uranium mines, research facilities—and possibly other sites—aimed at ensuring that Iran’s program remains solely for peaceful purposes.

             It may also cover access to sites suspected of past work on bomb components, such as Parchin military base. And it is likely to require Tehran’s acceptance of the IAEA’s “Additional Protocol,” allowing inspections at both declared and undeclared sites—and maybe other intrusive measures.

          IRAN’S RED LINES:
            Iran has its own configurations for the Rubik’s Cube of a deal. They include:
  • Preserving key elements of its nuclear program, including some uranium enrichment and research and development
  • Protecting Iran's "right" under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to a peaceful nuclear energy program to alleviate the drain on its oil sources and fuel modern development
  • Removing nuclear-related sanctions on Iran by the United States, European Union and United Nations


July 14 Update: Iran released the most detailed report to date explaining its practical needs for its nuclear program. It was posted on the quasi-official website NuclearEnergy.ir.


For more information, see:

David Albright and Andrea Stricker “Centrifuges: Key to Final Nuclear Deal
Robert Einhorn “Preventing a Nuclear Armed Iran

Photo credits: Rubik's Cube by by Lars Karlsson (Keqs) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons [edited by Iran Primer], President.ir



Iran Nuke Program 2: ABCs of Sites

      The following is a rundown of Iran’s key nuclear sites. Each will be a subject at diplomatic talks between the Islamic Republic and the world's six major powers.






Bushehr Nuclear Facility
        The Bushehr facility contains Iran’s first nuclear power plant. Its light-water reactor was loaded with nuclear fuel in August 2010. It has an operating capacity of 1,000 megawatts. Bushehr was originally launched in 1976 under contract with a German company, but after the 1979 revolution, Washington opposed it on the grounds that weapons grade plutonium could be extracted from the reactor’s waste, allowing Iran to construct nuclear weapons. Iran says the plant is for power-generation purposes only and will be subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
      The theocracy halted construction of the Bushehr reactor after the 1979 revolution, and it was badly damaged during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. But Tehran decided to revive the project in 1990 to provide energy. The contract was awarded to Russia’s Rosatom Corp. To address international concerns, Moscow agreed to supply the enriched uranium fuel for the power plant and take back its plutonium-bearing spent fuel. In February 2005, Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement designed to ensure Iran could not divert enriched uranium for a weapons program.  In September 2013, Russia transferred operational control of some key facilities to Iran.
Natanz Fuel Enrichment Facility
         This fuel enrichment facility is at the heart of Iran’s dispute with the United Nations. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exiled opposition group, revealed the existence of the facility in 2002. It is located just outside the city of Natanz, approximately 130 miles south of Tehran.
         The site consists of two facilities:
  • An above-ground pilot fuel enrichment plant (PFEP)
  • A larger, underground fuel enrichment plant with the capacity to hold up to 50,000 centrifuges (FEP). 
      Activities at Natanz were suspended in 2004 following an agreement negotiated by Britain, France and Germany. But Iran restarted its uranium enrichment at the FEP after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005. The international community is concerned that Iran may use the enrichment technology at Natanz for nuclear weapons. These activities were proscribed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1696 in 2006. Iran rejects the legality of these resolutions.
            Iran has not installed new centrifuges at either of the Natanz sites since the implementation of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action. And enrichment of uranium above five percent is no longer taking place at Natanz, according to a February 2014 U.N. report. About 160 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent still remains at the site but some of the stockpile is being downblended or converted to uranium oxide, which could not easily be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. 
Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility
          The historic city of Isfahan is home to several nuclear-related sites, but the most significant facility is the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Plant. Isfahan also has a fuel fabrication laboratory, a uranium chemistry laboratory and a zirconium production plant. The conversion plant has been operational since 2006, and converts uranium yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for Iran's enrichment facilities. The facility can also produce uranium metal and oxides for fuel and other purposes.
Tehran Nuclear Research Center
      The Tehran Nuclear Research Center is a complex of several laboratories, including the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). The TRR produces radioisotopes for medical and research purposes. The United States supplied Iran with the 5-megawatt light-water reactor in 1967; it was fueled with highly enriched uranium (around 90 percent). In 1987, Argentina concluded a deal with Iran to change the core of the reactor so it could operate on low-enriched uranium (20 percent).
Arak Heavy Water Plant and Reactor
           The Arak nuclear facility includes a heavy water production plant, which has been operational since 2006, and a 40-megawatt heavy water reactor still under construction. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exiled opposition group, also revealed the existence of this facility in 2002.
      Heavy water production plants are not subject to traditional safeguards of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. Under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol, Tehran would be subject to declarations and complementary access for IAEA inspectors. Since Iran has signed but not yet ratified the Additional Protocol, the IAEA uses satellite imagery to monitor the facility. Iran's heavy-water-related activities are also proscribed by U.N. Resolution 1696, which Tehran rejects.
            In December 2013, Iran provided the IAEA with information and access to the plant. Approximately 100 tons of reactor-grade heavy water have been produced at Arak since 2006. 
Qom Uranium Enrichment Facility (Fordo)
      This secret uranium enrichment facility was made public in 2009 after the United States shared intelligence about it with allies, and Iran confirmed its existence. Construction of the uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom began around 2006, but Tehran maintained that it was not required to report its existence under the safeguard obligations until six months before it became operational. The plant has a few installed centrifuges, but Iran stopped all work once the site was publicized. The facility is located on a mountain on what was reportedly a former Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ missile site.
           The facility’s revelation prompted concern that Iran intended to construct a potential breakout facility where it could make weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb. Iran told the IAEA that the plant was intended to enrich uranium only to 5 percent, which is not enough for a nuclear weapon. The plant is believed to have room for 3,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
            Parchin is a military complex about 19 miles southeast of Tehran. The IAEA suspects Iran may have conducted experiments related to nuclear weapons production. U.N. inspectors visited the site twice in 2005 but did not find anything suspicious. But the IAEA later received additional evidence about alleged experiments. “We didn’t have enough information [back then],” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said in 2012. “Extensive activities have taken place” at Parchin that have “seriously undermined” the IAEA’s ability to investigate possible military dimensions of Iran’s program, according to a February 2014 report.
            Iran apparently undertook cleanup activities, according to satellite imagery analyzed by the Institute for Science and International Security. The IAEA noted that satellite imagery revealed “possible building material and debris” at Parchin in 2014.
Gchine Mine and Mill
            The Gchine mine is located in southern Iran in Bandar Abbas. The associated mill is located at the same site. According to the IAEA, it began production in 2004 and has an estimated production capacity of 21 tons of uranium per year. The IAEA has questioned the mine’s ownership and relationship to Iran’s military. In January 2014, Iran provided the IAEA with managed access to the mine.
July 14 Update: Iran released the most detailed report to date explaining its practical needs for its nuclear program. It was posted on the quasi-official website NuclearEnergy.ir.


Photo credits: NuclearEnergy.ir, Natanz via Iranian President's Office and The New York Times



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