IAEA: Iran increases nuclear program
A satellite image of Natanz from December 14, 2011 (credit: GeoEye)
February 24th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

IAEA: Iran increases nuclear program

By Adam Levine, with reporting from Matthew Chance

Iran has stepped up its enrichment of uranium in the months since international inspectors last visited, according to a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The report was sent to member nations on Friday and posted online by the Institute for Science and International Studies. The new IAEA report cites an increase in centrifuges used to enrich uranium, at the Fordow and Natanz sites, at both lower levels and to 20%, a key level of achievement if Iran decides to create nuclear weapons.

Iran has failed to cooperate with efforts to verify that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, Director General Yukiya Amano concluded in the report.

"The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme," the report said.

Iranian officials refused to provide IAEA inspectors access to Parchin, a key military installation during a visit that ended Tuesday and dismissed the concerns of inspectors as based on "unfounded allegations," according to a copy of the report by Director General Yukiya Amano, which was published on the website of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-profit group focused on nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

The IAEA found that between the November report and its current one, Iran added 3,000 centrifuges for a total of 9,000 at the Natanz facility in central Iran, according to Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and Security. More centrifuges mean more enrichment capability.

"That's a significant jump," he said.

Brannan described Iran's growing stockpile of the enriched uranium as a "major concern" and questioned why so much is needed.

"They stockpiled so much of it they can operate for over a decade," Brannan told CNN.

The 20% level is significant because nuclear experts believe further enrichment needed to create a material for a possible weapon is easy to achieve once one is capable of 20%.

But Brannan said Iran is likely to be deterred from increasing the enrichment because of international attention, noting that it would have a hard time not arousing suspicions of inspectors if it tried to keep them from the enrichment sites in the time it would take to further enrich.

Another analyst, however, played down the significance of the latest IAEA report. Joel Rubin with the U.S.-based Ploughshares Fund, a group devoted to seeking the elimination of nuclear weapons, said it is "not a game changer."

Rubin said there are still valid concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and program, but there is no indication the country has achieved a new "breakthrough."

"It's an update that - yes - Iran is doing things that we are not fully read into and we need to understand," Rubin said. "But Iran has not moved to a more advanced program."

Read Matthew Chance's story on the report here
Read about Parchin in our story "The site Iran doesn't want inspectors to see"

Filed under: Arms Control • IAEA • Iran • Nuclear
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Noella Lothamer

    Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I take a part of your post to my blog?


    January 28, 2021 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  2. Gijoe

    Wow im hitting em out of the park tonight! Im HOT man im HOT

    February 27, 2012 at 2:02 am | Reply
  3. Gijoe

    Israel's population is eight million and ONE! THE LORD OF HOSTS! It is impossible to destroy Israel as the iranians will find out like everybody else. Though half the city will be taken , GOD will annhialate Israel's enemies. You can bet the farm on that one

    February 27, 2012 at 1:31 am | Reply
  4. gabe

    Jeremy Bernstein of the New Yorker wrote an interesting e-single on Iran's developing nuclear program. Worth reading, for those interested: http://goo.gl/tk0fx

    February 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  5. mipolitic

    notice for the last seven weeks obama has not placed himself in a position not to be questioned by the media since this iranian nuke threat has become a boiling point in the mid east.

    obama is only concerned about re-election while the world is facing a iranian jihad nukes.
    truly unbelievable.

    February 25, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • usuckzionistcaca

      idf baby-killing liar!

      February 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • F B M

      Well.......he IS a politician, you know.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  6. paul

    i think IRAN dos have a right to have a nuclear weapon as long as Israel dos.
    and even dough i don't think that IRAN is after a nuclear bomb since they all ready have a nitrogen bombs and a long range similes that can reach not only the Europe but also United States and the technology to make more.
    however i think we should think about it, dos anyone have a right to own a weapons of mass destruction?
    if one nation dos, then all nations do, and if you say no then no one dos.
    who are the nations that have? Israeli, UK, Pakistan, US, India, North Korea, Rousseau, China, Iran, France, Italy, Germany..............., and who are the ones that ever used them? (United State) in Hiroshima.
    we call Iran a terrorist country, but we are blind and can not see the fact that what makes a terrorist a terrorist.
    United States categories terrorists, as a group or nations who enforce there beliefs and ideas by force to others, in order to govern over them or take advantage of them for their own benefits.
    in that case who are the real terrorists? We as an American Are,
    we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan just because we wanted them to obey us and did not like their way of life.
    Israel is a terrorist as they have continuously bombed the other country scientists cars and houses, and government buildings, and are keep taking advantage of United States military power to due their biding, and are keep terrorizing other nations.
    so who are we to say Iran dos not have a right to defend themselves against us ans Israelis?

    February 25, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply

    one best way is to stop iran frm further increasement of its nuclear programs, peace to rain.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:17 am | Reply
  8. Rick

    Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Israel did not. One country is in violation of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and one is not.

    February 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  9. Dana

    Who are we to say Iran wants nukes for war? We are the only nation to wipe out 250 thousand men. women, and children with two bombs, then we mass produced them to force Russia and China to live in peace. There is a name for that. Maybe they want protection from Israel and the U.S.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • regularreaderguy

      I believe it is their right to make nukes, but using them no. If Iran really wants to get into some serious shit, then I guess they'll use their nukes. Hopefully they don't now because non radioactive world is better than nuclear wasteland world! Hopefully this is some sort of cold war intimidation nuke making, instead of i'll kill everyone in the goddamn country nuke making.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  10. Blue Dog Dem

    When someone says they hate you and want to kill you, believe them.

    February 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  11. Steve Thompson

    Iran could well have a sufficient stockpile of highly enriched uranium necessary to create a nuclear weapon within a few months as shown in this article:


    It looks like the world will soon have a new member of the "nuclear weapons states".

    February 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  12. 911: israeli Mossad Op

    Iran is no threat to the U.S.- No more blood of our American Soldiers for Israel !! Why is Israel trying to drag the U.S. into her paranoid delusions? Israel has over 300 nukes-Iran has NONE...who should be SANTIONED?? HYPOCRISY folks!

    Why is there never a mention of the Israeli terrorist organizations such as the haganah and Irgun that the zionist took part in?? They created terrorism...just look up the king david hotel against the brits, when the zionists killed many british soldiers because they did not want to abide by the Balfour Declaration. USSliberty-911..all terrorist acts.....
    Youtube: USSLiberty Youtube.com: Alan Sabrosky ...After viewing these videos on youtube-tell me that israel is our ally!
    Wake up Sheeple, Before it's Too Late!

    February 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • Flemmdog

      Israel is on our side (Ally) whereas Iran in general hates our guts, lifestyle, and everything western. Therefore they are a serious threat to us if they develop nukes-plain and simple.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
      • Shant-ta-hay

        israel is our enemy you dork idf on the clock propagandist.

        February 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • F B M

        "We" (the CIA) gave them ample reason to despise us.

        Not that their inflammatory rhetoric does them any favors, mind you.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  13. kafantaris

    Iran faces a delicate issue. On the one hand it wants to show the world all it’s got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show 'n tell will give its enemies a roadmap to bomb it.
    Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma ten years ago. Though he wanted the world to know he had nothing to hide, he also wanted to bluff his archenemy Iran into believing Iraq still had WMD.
    Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Ahmadinejad.
    But since the price tag for ridding Saddam proved high, maybe we ought to reflect what we are asking of Iran now. On the eve of a threatened attack, we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show us all it's got.
    Such great expectations are a sign we have been talking to our friends too long and are in need of a broader perspective. Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?
    “But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel.”
    True, but Israel is not a thorn on their side either.
    Surely, however, we can see beyond the hyperboles and figure out their underlying purpose. Or have we forgotten that not all Iranians are thrilled with Ahmadinejad?
    He sure hasn’t forgotten.
    Nor has he forgotten that that his countrymen hate Israel even more. So he tells them that Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth. Expectantly, this nonsense unites them against a common enemy. It is even a diversion from the misery and isolation brought on by his theocratic regime.
    Quite clever work by Ahmadinejad - and not a rial spent or a bullet fired.
    So why are we letting the crazy talk about destroying Israel get us all worked-up - to the point of turning the world topsy-turvy again.
    Can we not see the desperate attempts of an unpopular regime simply trying to hold on?

    February 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  14. Between Unemployment

    It's odd how the LA Times came out with an article titled, "U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb" lat night. Thanks, CNN. I was almost not scared for a few hours there. Rest assured, I'm back to being afraid! I can count on the Chicken Little Hawks in the GOP (other than Ron Paul) to keep my fears in line.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply

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