IAEA, Iran in Silent Standoff Over Nuclear Probe

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that Iran plans to start installing another 3,000 centrifuges for its uranium enrichment program, which would bring the total amount of centrifuges in operation or in the process of being put into operation to 9,000.

Analysts are reportedly concerned that the growing enrichment capacity increases the nation’s ability to enrich sufficient uranium to weapons-grade levels of purity to produce a bomb, but the IAEA has repeatedly certified that the uranium is only being enriched to the low levels required for civilian use, such as running the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and that none of the uranium enriched so far was diverted to any non-civilian use. Iran is hoping to have the Bushehr plant operational sometime next year.

UN officials continue to complain about a reported standoff between Iran and the IAEA regarding the implementation of an Additional Protocol to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Iran has said it has no issues with any IAEA probes within the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but has maintained that the UN Security Council demands are “irrelevant” and based on forged documents.

Iran had been voluntarily cooperating with the Additional Protocol before the IAEA reported them to the United Nations Security Council in 2006. Iran’s parliament had made the cooperation conditional and the move obliged the government to halt its implementation. It has been suggested that Iran might resume cooperation with the Additional Protocol if the case is returned to the IAEA.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.