A few more things about that report. Previous deep thoughts “here.”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1442/thoughts-on-iaea-iran-report
p=. *More on Centrifuges*
First, CFR’s Gary Samore allowed me to use some information (which originated from an email exchange with some other folks) that might shed more light on an issue I mentioned “before.”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1442/thoughts-on-iaea-iran-report
bq. The fact that Iran is feeding this much UF6 into the centrifuges seems to suggest that it has overcome other past technical difficulties. A source told me in April that, at the time, Iran was
“being ‘cautious’ by introducing small amounts” of UF6 into the centrifuges so they wouldn’t crash. [Last sentence paraphrased.]
Maybe not so much. According to Gary,
bq. My sources tell me that the machines are *NOT* operating at full capacity (i.e. they are spinning at lower than optimal speeds to avoid crashing). [ _Emphasis his._ ]
p=. *Iranian UF6*
According to the report, “Iran presented 269 tonnes of UF6 for
Agency verification” when IAEA inspectors conducted the annual PIV at Iran’s conversion facility.
That number is consistent with past Iranian statements. For example, AEOI head Gholamreza Aghazadeh “said”:http://www.iribnews.ir/Full_en.asp?news_id=234729 early last month that Iran has produced 270 tonnes of UF6 “over the past one year.” More recently, his deputy, Mohammad Saeedi, claimed that Iran has 280 tonnes of UF6.
There are legitimate questions about the quality of Iran’s UF6, but I wouldn’t be too sanguine that all of it sucks. For example, “I wrote more than a year ago”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2006_04/iranmurky.asp that Iran’s ability to produce UF6 “appear[s] to be improving,” according to a “Vienna diplomat” and a “State Department official.”
The United States assesses that Iran’s uranium hexafluoride is now of high enough quality that it will not damage the centrifuge[s], the State Department source said.
Anyone who knows anything else is free to tell me.
p=. *Wanted: Transparency*
One of the most striking things about the report is its emphasis on what the IAEA _doesn’t_ know about Iran’s program because of Tehran’s lack of transparency. Not only has Iran refused to cooperate (for the most part) with the IAEA’s requests for information about Iran’s nuclear program(s), but Iran still won’t implement the additional protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement.
The UN Security Council, BTW, has required Tehran to cooperate with the investigation and ratify its additional protocol.
Anyway, this lack of cooperation is clearly impairing the IAEA’s investigation. According to the report:
bq. because the Agency has not been receiving for over a year information that Iran used to provide, including under the Additional Protocol, *the Agency’s level of knowledge of certain aspects of Iran’s nuclear related activities has deteriorated.*
That information includes
bq. information relevant to the assembly of centrifuges, the manufacture of centrifuge components or associated equipment and research and development of centrifuges or enrichment techniques.
Personally, I have thought for a while that getting Iran to suspend its program is increasingly less important than getting it to ratify the additional protocol. Obviously, Iran should do both.