Monthly Archives: November 2011

European Peloton Recruits from Iran

I mentioned Iranian cycling “once before,”: but thought I’d do so again when I saw “this Boulder Report piece”: discussing several European pro teams’ interest in Mehdi Sohrabi of Iran’s Tabriz Petrochemical team. It seems that he’s now part of “Lotto-Belisol.”:

According to the Boulder Report piece and “this”: article, the European teams wanted Sohrabi for his UCI points in order to qualify as WorldTour teams (the articles explain it better than I can).

Still, perhaps this is a trend. The Boulder Report does point out that “for somewhat undetermined reasons, visa issues for Iranian riders appear to have lessened, meaning [Iranian riders] Sohrabi and Zargari can actually sign contracts for foreign teams.”

2007 Iran NIE Revisited (Briefly), Part II

After reflecting on “this post”: a bit (I do reflect occasionally), I’ve realized that the 2007 NIE language I highlighted was always responsive to claims that the estimate was invalidated by evidence of post-2004 Iranian weapons-related activities.

Here’s that language again, for good measure:

bq. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so…We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, *Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.*

Again, absent more information about the projects in question, it’s impossible to know the full picture. But I should have noticed this before.

India on Enrichment

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India Dr Srikumar Banerjee recently “gave an interview”: in which he appeared to mention the possibility of India using a new unsafeguarded enrichment facility for its nuclear arsenal.

He said:

bq. As far as the new facility in Chitradurga is concerned, it will not be a safeguarded facility. *We are keeping the option open of using it for multiple roles.*

To be clear, he didn’t mention nuclear weapons, just that the facility could “be used to produce slightly enriched uranium (SEU) with about 1.1 per cent U-235 content to fuel our pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) units.”

Doubt this will shock anyone, but there it is.


An astute reader suggested that Banerjee might have been referring to the production of fuel for India’s subs. I don’t think so because of his response to a direct question about that subject:

bq.. Saurav Jha:Is your current enrichment capability sufficient to fuel India’s emerging nuclear submarine fleet or will that be attained only with Chitradurga? If not then will Chitradurga be used only for civilian power reactors?

Dr Srikumar Banerjee: Our *existing site is more than adequate for feeding the fleet.* And this fleet is of course more than one.

p. *Update II:*

Another astute reader finds the PHWR fuel scenario plausible, noting that India presumably wouldn’t want to put safeguarded fuel in unsafeguarded reactors. I hadn’t thought about that.

2007 Iran NIE Revisited (Briefly)

I “recently”: highlighted this paragraph from this month’s IAEA report on Iran:

bq. The information indicates that prior to the end of 2003 the above activities took place under a structured programme. There are also indications that some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device continued after 2003, and that some may still be ongoing.

Like some others, I was struck by the extent to which it seemed to support the “2007 NIE”, which stated that “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” (officials from the intelligence community and other parts of the US government officials have since articulated similar assessments).

Now, it’s true that the IAEA report described post-2003 Iranian activities related to nuclear weapons development. But I had forgotten the NIE’s language which appears to have accounted for at least some of those activities:

bq. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so…We also assess with high confidence that *since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.*

Obviously, I don’t know which projects they were talking about, but I thought that portion worth highlighting.

Iran: Of Mice and Nukes

I have “previously commented”: on the use of metaphors in foreign policy discussions, but Amb. Soltanieh’s “statement”: contained a true gem that I must share.

Commenting on the annex to this month’s “IAEA DG report”: about Iran’s nuclear program, Soltanieh argued that “there was no surprise since all issues were repeated several times before and the annex does not include any reliable authenticated documents supporting allegation.”

Based on this claim, he concluded that

bq. It was proved that the so called “Big Elephant in the room of DG“ was “Tiny Mouse” but not a natural mouse but a plastic computer mouse fabricated in USA.

On travel next few days. Have a nice weekend.

India’s Nuclear Liability Regulations

“Here”: may be found the long-awaited liability regulations promulgated pursuant to India’s 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act.

Whether Washington is happy is another matter. “According to”: the State Dept, the United States is “continuing to study India’s regulations on civil nuclear liability.”

Iran Nov IAEA Housekeeping

Sorry for the light blogging lately. I’ll put up a few housekeeping posts.

This first one contains the IAEA Board “resolution”: on Iran, that government’s “statement”: regarding the resolution, and an Iranian “letter of protest”: to the IAEA.

Lastly, the NAM “statement on”: the resolution contains this very interesting paragraph:

bq. Before concluding, NAM wishes to express its deep concern and dissatisfaction at the *selective circulation of the Director General’s report, or parts thereof, to certain Member States prior to its official release to all Member States*. This runs counter to the principle of the sovereign equality of all Member States enshrined in the IAEA Statute and should not be repeated in the future.

One imagines there’s a story behind this…

Nov 2011 IAEA Iran Report: Another Thought

Before I leave on travel, during which I shan’t blog, I wanted to point out one more item from the “recent IAEA report”: on Iran.

Paragraph 35 of the Annex says:

bq. In an interview in 2007 with a member of the clandestine nuclear supply network, *the Agency was told that Iran had been provided with nuclear explosive design information.* From information provided to the Agency during that interview, the Agency is concerned that *Iran may have obtained more advanced design information than the information identified in 2004 as having been provided to Libya by the nuclear supply network.*

This, as far as I recall, is the first reference to Iran’s acquisition of such design info in an official publication. The 2007 “NIE”: doesn’t say anything like that.

Have a good weekend.

Export Controls and Toilets

Clif Burns has an “entertaining post”: about export controls over at ExportLawBlog.

I’m serious. He writes that the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls removed certain chemical toilets from the US Munitions List, explaining that “[t]he toilet in question was initially manufactured for the Lockheed C-130 and was subsequently modified for other military aircraft.”

I concur that this line from the DOS notification, which is apparently an explanation of this item’s limited military applications, is just outstanding:

bq. The core functionality of the toilet remains the same as a model used for commercial aircraft.

Nothing to add to that.

P Goldschmidt on the IAEA

I noticed that CEIP’s Pierre Goldschmidt presented an interesting “short paper”: on the IAEA safeguards system. I just wanted to add one thought.

The paper correctly argues that, in the case of NNWS, commitments contained in CSAs and APs are “much more limited” than the powers given to the IAEA by its statute. However, I think it’s worth noting that, from what I understand, these limitations exist partly because the IAEA statute isn’t self-executing. Therefore, the IAEA’s legal authority to implement safeguards is grounded in the CSAs and APs.

That is all.