How far will newest U.N. nuclear report on Iran go?
Satellite Imagery of Natanz nuclear facility in Iran Photo By: GeoEye
October 18th, 2011
06:44 PM ET

How far will newest U.N. nuclear report on Iran go?

By CNN Sr. National Security Producer Pam Benson

Amid new reports indicating Iran's nuclear program is faltering, the international nuclear watchdog agency is putting the finishing touches on its latest assessment and it might go further in tying Iran to a possible weapons program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's new report will be sent to the board of governors next month in advance of its November 17 meeting.

Last month, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said Iran was not providing enough detail about its program for the agency to conclude Iran is engaged in only peaceful nuclear activities.

"The agency is increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the agency continues to receive new information," Amano said at the September board of governors meeting.  "In the near future, I hope to set out in greater detail the basis for the Agency's concerns so that all Member States are fully informed."

It is not clear how much more detail will be provided to the member nations, but a U.S. official says the report is not going to "fundamentally change" the assessment of the program.  The official said "there are not new things being seen, but it will bring the IAEA in line with what the US has assessed so far."

However, nuclear weapons expert David Albright believes the IAEA might go a little further with its report.

"The IAEA has new stuff and something seems to have alarmed Amano," Albright said Tuesday.

IAEA member states have provided the director general with some new information, Albright explained. But whatever the details might be, Albright doubts there is a smoking gun that will definitively prove Iran has a weapons program.

A second U.S. official said Amano is struggling with what to release.

"It's a delicate balance for the director general," said the official, because he has to decide whether divulging more information could impact IAEA's ability to operate within Iran.  As it is, Iran has restricted the access the agency inspectors have to its various nuclear facilities.

Albright, who is President of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, does not think Iran would go so far as to kick out the inspectors.  As he put it, "all hell would break loose" within the international community and Iran is too vulnerable to "go for the bomb now."

Although the U.S. is convinced Iran is involved in the research and development of nuclear weapons, the most current American assessment is that Iran has still not decided whether to in fact build them.

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Filed under: IAEA • Iran • Nuclear • United Nations • weapons
soundoff (40 Responses)
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  7. Tom Clark

    As far as Israel and the US can push it!

    October 24, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  8. matthew

    do any of you read or understand what you have written in response to this article? Every single one of you is a complete moron who either can't spell, or just have no frigging clue how the sphere of international diplomacy works. Not a single one of you should be allowed to vote, regardless of country from which you hail– you are all too stupid.

    October 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  9. Nuke Iran

    And nuke Amanutjob

    October 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Jesse

      Hey Nuke Iran,
      You're a Jew-boy aren't you?
      Jews hate Iraninans. Look dude, you shouldn't want to destroy a whole nation over what their stupid leader said!
      Those who say Zionist are racists, say so because of Guys like you, with your kind of mentality.
      Israel sucks by the way. You too bumkin.

      October 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  10. Matt

    We are talking about two different things the ability to build, the capability. The covert program to delay that capability which they would have acquired in 2009, and the program to delay the device being actually being built. Now the assessment was mid to late 2011 early 2012, now is if they decided to build it. Now those months can be delayed by a degree but it is a totally different operation, than denying the capability.

    Now the fact they were arguing whether to build it out in the open use Qum shows the 2011/12 time line was correct, now by an intense operation that could be delayed to the end of 2013. The delay is they seek to develop the weapon clandestinely not overtly in Qum. If Qum was not discovered then covertly by the 2011/12 time line, phase two delaying it till the end of 2013.

    So from that 2011/12 time line you have to be ready to strike militarily if required if they decide to build it overtly or covertly if Qum remained undiscovered. Now the covert option certain parts being sourced type, levels etc, certain levels of Uranium shipments, geospatial, SIGINT, HUMINT can tell you which phase that is in, the covert mission to build a nuclear weapon.

    But that is totally different that is a phase one operation, a pre 2011/12 doctrine. Qum is a phase two operation with finally a military application for resolution. Both phase one and two obviously have two totally different time lines in which they can be delayed. One is in the term of years and the other months.

    October 23, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply
  11. william

    I would like the UN to move out of the United States. The UN delegates and their minions have had it too good for too long. I could think of some great countries that they could set up shop.

    October 23, 2011 at 3:52 am | Reply
  12. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbbbbbbbb

    Hmmm whats that noise – It's a drone MF I home Ahmadinejad has nightmears about drones until one finds him and send a french fighter to blow his Sh_ _ up!

    October 22, 2011 at 9:47 am | Reply
    • bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbbbbbbbb

      I hope

      October 22, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  13. chizzlin sam

    so someone in article stated "all hell would break loose if un was kicked out"...
    the un cant go where it wants already...they are overpriced specialists from third world countries getting paid to write encyclopedic legalized opinions covering all minutae except the nuclear bomb...

    October 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  14. chizzlin sam

    what was bushs assessment before leaving? oh yeah, something like..."iran does not have a nuclear weapons program"
    bush=worst u.s. president Ever...

    October 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  15. Kerry

    If they ever do have a nuclear disaster no worry about killing anything's already dead there.

    October 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      Yup! Some klutz is going to drop something.....or turn a knob with label in Chinese, the wrong way.....and boom. Hope the oil doesn't get contaminated; the people already are.

      October 21, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
  16. Adam

    the UN is a joke. Look at all the past events in Africa. Rwanda could be a prime example of what the UN is. It is good for nothing and will never accomplish anything important.

    October 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • pat

      You mean the UN that appointed Libya to be the chair of the UN Human Rights Commission, that was found under the hypocrite Gaddafi to be a major abuser of human rights in Libya and is now nearly removed from Libya... The UN that allows the little man Ahmadinejad of Iran to abuse fellow countries without being kicked out.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • Christian

      That's why we have NATO and the Mossad! The UN has never accomplished anything without a hard shove from by the U.S. Now Russia and China are getting don't expect miracles (in fact, don't expect anything positive).

      October 21, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  17. Jesus

    U.S won't do anything because they know that they will lose.

    October 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Robinson

      The US could literaly turn Iran into a smoldering crater if it were so inclinded. So stfu.

      October 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • OregonTom

      You have a defeatist attitude.

      October 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  18. glyder

    hell for starters.

    October 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  19. Jeff

    It's an election year so nobody is willing to get us stuck in another unpopular war...yet. They're still pussyfooting around and acting like everything is OK. The thing is we have bigger problems here in the US that need attention. I agree that Iran is, and will always be, a problem. However, we need to fix things here before we throw money into another war with some little s**thole Arab country. Let our so-called allies handle this one.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  20. Tim

    Hey Bob go F%CK off ! I'm willing to bet your sorry ass won't be there when the bullets start flying !

    October 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply

    UN will do nothing! Stop all foreign aid to all countries and UN call back our troops and we will get out of the deficit-let the troops build a few steel mills, electric plants and green energy plants-that will cut down on unemployment.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  22. Bob

    Nuke Iran!!!

    October 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • shahryar

      Bob, how about we fucking nuke you m

      October 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Reply
    • Jesse

      You're a Jew-boy aren't you?
      Jews hate Iraninans. Look dude, you shouldn't want to destroy a whole nation over what their stupid leader said!
      Those who say Zionist are racists, say so because of Guys like you, with your kind of mentality.
      Israel sucks by the way. You too bumkin.

      October 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • Tom Clark

      Not an option! Only a terrorist would suggest such a radical insane thing! Have a nice day.

      October 24, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply

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