The IAEA Report on Iran

Ed Waage
The International Atomic Energy Agency has released a updated report on Iran's efforts to enrich Uranium. The BBC reports that
Iran is continuing to defy UN demands to stop enriching uranium and is expanding its controversial work, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a report. The International Atomic Energy Agency report also said Tehran was blocking IAEA efforts to probe suspicious nuclear activities.
The BBC story also quotes a UN official that Iran could have 3,000 centrifuges running by June. A BBC companion piece quotes a report from the Institute for Strategic Analysis that
"If and when Iran does have 3,000 centrifuges operating smoothly, the IISS estimates it would take an additional 9-11 months to produce 25 kg of highly enriched uranium, enough for one implosion-type weapon. That day is still 2-3 years away at the earliest."
Further, the IAEA report continues to state that Iran is not cooperating fully with the IAEA inspectors. The BBC states
The report also said Iran had agreed to unannounced inspections and surveillance measures at Natanz but that the IAEA's ability to monitor the nuclear programme had "deteriorated" because of lack of access.
The Bush administration is also upset with the statements made by IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, that Iranian enrichment was a done deal and the Western nations should change their strategy as a result. The New York Times carries a Reuters story that
IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei upset Western powers by saying last week their strategy of denying Iran enrichment capability was obsolete as Iran had already gained it.   He said they should now seek a face-saving compromise capping Iran's enrichment short of ``industrial scale,'' a level he feels would pose a minimal risk of yielding atomic bombs.
These developments come as the US Navy is conducting military exercises in the Persian Gulf. In addition, the International Herald Tribune reports that Iran may be developing plans to strike European nuclear power plants:
A European security analyst told British lawmakers Tuesday that he believes Iran may be attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has conducted reconnaissance of European nuclear power stations.
The next step in this enrichment standoff is up to the UN Security Council. They will probably just ratchet up the pressure marginally as they have done in the past.   There are signs that the US led effort to isolate Iran economically is having an effect. According the GulfNews.com, the banking sanctions are squeezing EU companies trying to conduct business in Iran. Perhaps continuing economic hardships in Iran will cause some political upheavals there. Failing that, the military option needs to be on the table.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has released a updated report on Iran's efforts to enrich Uranium. The BBC reports that
Iran is continuing to defy UN demands to stop enriching uranium and is expanding its controversial work, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a report. The International Atomic Energy Agency report also said Tehran was blocking IAEA efforts to probe suspicious nuclear activities.
The BBC story also quotes a UN official that Iran could have 3,000 centrifuges running by June. A BBC companion piece quotes a report from the Institute for Strategic Analysis that
"If and when Iran does have 3,000 centrifuges operating smoothly, the IISS estimates it would take an additional 9-11 months to produce 25 kg of highly enriched uranium, enough for one implosion-type weapon. That day is still 2-3 years away at the earliest."
Further, the IAEA report continues to state that Iran is not cooperating fully with the IAEA inspectors. The BBC states
The report also said Iran had agreed to unannounced inspections and surveillance measures at Natanz but that the IAEA's ability to monitor the nuclear programme had "deteriorated" because of lack of access.
The Bush administration is also upset with the statements made by IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, that Iranian enrichment was a done deal and the Western nations should change their strategy as a result. The New York Times carries a Reuters story that
IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei upset Western powers by saying last week their strategy of denying Iran enrichment capability was obsolete as Iran had already gained it.   He said they should now seek a face-saving compromise capping Iran's enrichment short of ``industrial scale,'' a level he feels would pose a minimal risk of yielding atomic bombs.
These developments come as the US Navy is conducting military exercises in the Persian Gulf. In addition, the International Herald Tribune reports that Iran may be developing plans to strike European nuclear power plants:
A European security analyst told British lawmakers Tuesday that he believes Iran may be attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has conducted reconnaissance of European nuclear power stations.
The next step in this enrichment standoff is up to the UN Security Council. They will probably just ratchet up the pressure marginally as they have done in the past.   There are signs that the US led effort to isolate Iran economically is having an effect. According the GulfNews.com, the banking sanctions are squeezing EU companies trying to conduct business in Iran. Perhaps continuing economic hardships in Iran will cause some political upheavals there. Failing that, the military option needs to be on the table.