November 19, 2015
Iran has uninstalled nearly a quarter of its uranium-enriching centrifuges since October 18, also known as the nuclear deal’s Adoption Day, according to a new U.N. watchdog report. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found that Iran has removed 4,500 centrifuges at the Natanz and Fordo facilities. But it still has to uninstall another 10,000 centrifuges to reach the target of 5,000. Iran’s stock of low enriched uranium also increased to the equivalent of 12,639.6 kg, up by 460 kg since August. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran must eventually cut the stockpile to 300 kg. The following are excerpts from analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security and remarks by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report
By David Albright, Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, Andrea Stricker, and Daniel Schnur
November 18, 2015
This report covers the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) latest safeguards report on Iran dated November 18, 2015 and the reporting period since the last safeguards report from August 27, 2015, during which the interim Joint Plan of Action has remained in effect. It also discusses Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and IAEA/Iran Roadmap related activities and developments.
1) Since October 18, 2015, also known as Adoption Day, Iran removed 4,112 IR-1 centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) Hall A and stored them in Hall B. Iran has been removing an average of about 147 IR-1 centrifuges per day. At this rate, Iran would need another one and a half months to finish dismantling the required number of IR-1 centrifuges at the FEP under the JCPOA. It appears to be dismantling these centrifuges faster than expected.
2) Since October 18, 2015, Iran removed 160 IR-2m centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Natanz FEP Hall A and stored them in Hall B. The dismantlement rate of the IR-2m centrifuges was only on average 6 per day, suggesting possibly more care being taken in dismantling these centrifuges or a recent start to their dismantlement. The latter would suggest a commitment to dismantle the IR-1 centrifuges first.
3) Since October 18, 2015, Iran removed 258 IR-1 centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. However, the removed centrifuges remained in the FFEP cascade hall.
4) Iran has started recovering uranium from its near 20 percent liquid, solid, and fuel items scrap. As of November 2015, Iran has fed 95.9 kg of this scrap into the uranium recovery process, recovered 44.7 kg of uranium in the form of oxide, and has so far used 30.4 kg of this recovered material to manufacture Teheran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel items. The IAEA also reported that Iran ceased this recovery effort on November 7, 2015. However, 39.4 kg of uranium in scrap fed into the recovery line are stuck in process.
5) After a lengthy delay, the Enriched UO2 Powder Plant (EUPP) finally started producing more LEU dioxide. As of November 9, 2015, the plant had produced 2,330 kg of uranium in the form of UO2 enriched up to 5 percent uranium 235.
6) Under the separate IAEA/Iran Roadmap, the IAEA reports that all of the activities set out for the period to October 15 were completed on schedule. The IAEA report does not contain any details on the status or any preliminary findings of its investigation about the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear programs. The IAEA states that it will issue by December 15 a report to the IAEA Board of Governors regarding the PMD issue. The safeguards report provides no details about the controversial arrangement between the IAEA and Iran whereby Iran took environmental samples at the Parchin site under IAEA direction, albeit without IAEA inspectors being physically present during the sampling.
7) Based on the IAEA values in the report, Iran has in total the equivalent of 12,639.6 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride. The inventory is 8,305.6 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride and the equivalent of another 4,334 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride in various chemical forms at the EUPP. This stock of 3.5 percent LEU has increased by 460 kg since August 2015.
Remarks by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
As I mentioned, there have been important developments concerning the implementation of IAEA safeguards in Iran.
In July, Iran and the P5+1 countries agreed on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Security Council asked the IAEA to undertake verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, and our Board of Governors authorised us to do so.
Iran will implement the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. This is a powerful verification tool that will give the Agency greater access to information and to locations in Iran.
Iran also agreed to implement a number of additional transparency measures. These go beyond the scope of the additional protocol and will help the Agency to better understand Iran’s nuclear activities.
Also in July, I signed a Road-map with Iran for the clarification of possible military dimensions to the country’s nuclear programme by the end of this year. Activities set out in the Road-map were completed by the target date of October 15th.
We are now finalising our analysis of all of the information at our disposal. I will present my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues to the IAEA Board of Governors by December 15th. My report will be factual, objective and impartial. Our Member States will determine the appropriate response.
Much work remains to be done, but I believe the significant progress made on the Iran nuclear issue represents a real success for diplomacy. It demonstrates that even complex and challenging issues can be tackled effectively if all parties are committed to dialogue – not dialogue for its own sake, but dialogue aimed at achieving results.
In the case of Iran, the sustained efforts of the IAEA, the P5+1 countries, the Security Council – and, of course, Iran itself – have got us to where we are today. The IAEA was able to make a vital contribution by sticking to its technical mandate and not straying into politics.
The agreements reached in July represent a clear net gain for the IAEA from the verification point of view.
The Agency will continue to implement safeguards in Iran with a view to being able to draw what we call the “broader conclusion” – that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities – in due course.
Click here for ISIS’s full analysis.
Click here for the full IAEA report.
Click here for Amano’s full statement.
Click here to read David Albright and Andrea Stricker’s chapter on Iran’s nuclear program.
Photo credit: Yukiya Amano via Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au (CC 3.0)