Iran Nuclear Disclosure Lacks Key Information

After submitting a report on Iran’s nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday, an Iranian official acknowledged that the report does not identify the origin of some controversial uranium enrichment technology (see GSN, Oct. 23).

Speaking to reporters shortly after receiving the report, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said he hoped it would include all the information the IAEA sought.

“We have asked … to know the origin of the equipment,” ElBaradei said. “I was assured that the report I got today is a comprehensive and accurate declaration,” he added.

Iran’s chief IAEA delegate Ali Akbar Salehi, however, later said Iran did not disclose where it acquired some equipment.

“How can you give the (equipment’s) origin … if you have taken it from the intermediaries on the foreign market?” he said.

At issue are uranium enrichment centrifuges in which IAEA inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium, suggesting the possibility that Iran has created nuclear bomb material in violation of its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty commitments. Iranian officials have denied enriching any uranium and have said the IAEA findings must have resulted from activity conducted by the equipment’s previous owner (George Jahn, Associated Press/Arizona Republic, Oct. 24).

Recent FindsA diplomat in Vienna said that IAEA inspectors have recently discovered other potentially hidden nuclear activities in Iran, including centrifuge work and laser technology development to enrich uranium.

Some of the new discoveries were made during inspections at installations only recently opened to agency officials. A team of IAEA inspectors is scheduled to return to Iran tomorrow to confirm information contained in the recently submitted dossier. That process could take weeks, ElBaradei said (Douglas Frantz, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 24).

Additional ProtocolElBaradei yesterday said that Salehi had told him to expect a letter from Iran “in the next few days” that would confirm Iran’s intention to sign the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement.

Once in effect, the protocol would “enable us to regulate all future nuclear activities in Iran,” ElBaradei said (IAEA release, Oct. 23).

Meanwhile, 1500 Iranian hard-liners in Tehran today protested the decision to sign the protocol. They called for Iran to withdraw from the NPT and some wore white shrouds to indicate their willingness to die for their beliefs, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press/KPLC-TV.com, Oct. 24).

October 24, 2003
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After submitting a report on Iran’s nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday, an Iranian official acknowledged that the report does not identify the origin of some controversial uranium enrichment technology (see GSN, Oct. 23).

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