Iran Cabinet Orders 10 New Natanz-Size Enrichment Sites

Threatens to Limit IAEA Cooperation

In news that even the nation’s state media was linking clearly with last week’s IAEA resolution, Iran’s cabinet approved a plan calling for the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment sites, each roughly on par with the existing Natanz site.

The US reacted with predictable outrage, condemning the move as “another serious violation of Iran’s clear obligations.” The US pressed forward with the IAEA vote as a first step toward new sanctions against Iran.

Ironically, however, the Iranian announcement seems to have conformed not only with Iran’s obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but also with the subsidiary agreement that the international community is constantly demanding Iran follow, even though they have never ratified them.

The IAEA resolution was ostensibly the result of Iran declaring the Qom facility in September, six months before the addition of nuclear material as required under the NPT. Western officials insisted Iran should’ve declared the site before construction began.

But now Iran has done exactly that, declared 10 new sites well before construction is actually beginning, and Western nations are using this “act of defiance” as proof that they need to crack down even further against Iran.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani slammed the IAEA over the policies, and said if they continued they might limit cooperation with the atomic body in the future. Such a threat is likely an empty one at the moment, as it would almost certainly provoke a massive international response, but if the West continues to move against Iran to punish them for things that were perfectly legal within the NPT, the nation may eventually see little point with continuing with a legal system so clearly stacked against them.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.