U.N. Report: Iran Upgrading Nuclear Capabilities

February 21, 2013

            Iran has begun installing new centrifuges for enriching uranium at the Natanz nuclear facility, according to a new report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Tehran had informed the United Nations in January 2013 that it would install the advanced models, which can enrich uranium two or three times faster than the old centrifuges. The installation of the centrifuges would be "a further escalation and a continuing violation" of Iran's international obligations," said State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland on February 21.
            Iran has not granted U.N. inspectors adequate access to all of its facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was unable to conclude "that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” The report also urged Iran to grant access to the Parchin site. The agency received information indicating that Iran may have conducted experiments related to nuclear weapons development at that location. The following is a summary from the new report, followed by a link to the full text and remarks from the State Department.

62. While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs[location outside of facility] declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing  the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.
63. Iran has started the installation of more advanced centrifuges (IR-2m) at FEP [Natanz] for the first time.
64. Contrary to the Board resolutions of November 2011 and September 2012 and despite the intensified dialogue between the Agency and Iran since January 2012 in  nine rounds of talks, it has not been possible to agree on the structured approach. The Director General is unable to report any progress on the clarification of outstanding issues, including those relating to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.
65. It is a matter of concern that the extensive and significant activities which have taken place since February 2012 at the location within the Parchin site to which the Agency has repeatedly requested access will have seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to undertake effective verification. The Agency reiterates its request that Iran, without further delay, provide both access to that location and substantive answers to the Agency’s detailed questions regarding the Parchin site and the foreign expert.
66.Given the nature and extent of credible information available, the Agency continues to consider it essential for Iran to engage with the Agency without further delay on the substance of the Agency’s concerns. In the absence of such engagement, the Agency will not be able to resolve concerns about issues regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.
67. The Director General continues to urge Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations and to engage with the Agency to achieve concrete  results on all outstanding substantive issues, as required in the binding resolutions of the Board of  Governors and the mandatory Security Council resolutions.
Click here for the full report.
Remarks by State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland
            We’ve seen these reports that Iran has announced its intention to install advanced centrifuges in the production unit at Natanz. Frankly, this does not come as a surprise to us, given the IAEA reports on Iran’s development of advanced centrifuges. But the fact remains that the installation of new advanced centrifuges would be a further escalation and a continuing violation of Iran’s obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA board resolutions. So it would mark yet another provocative step.
            But there is another path here. There is the diplomatic path, and as you know, we have P-5+1 talks with the Iranians next week. They have an opportunity to come to those talks ready to be serious, ready to allay the international community’s concerns, and we hope they take that opportunity...
            We're obviously concerned that Iran continues to flout its international obligations and has refused to halt its enrichment activities and, in fact, is taking steps to expand its capacity. It already has enough uranium to fuel the Tehran research reactor for at least a decade, and its recent actions would allow it to increase its stockpiles well beyond the civilian needs. So this will obviously be a subject that we have to talk about in Almaty, because it’s very hard for the international community to understand what Iran is doing when it claims that all of this is peaceful.