Lack of Evidence Over Iran ‘Nukes’ Alarms US

With US Poised to Press for New Sanctions, Rumors About Iran's "Breakout Capability" Are Spread

Though there appears to be virtually no evidence that they have any inclination to do so and considerable evidence to suggest they aren’t currently doing so, US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Glyn Davies is now accusing Iran of desperately trying to retain the ability to hypothetically create a single atomic weapon if they chose to do so at some later date.

The latest rumor mongering is based on assessments which US intelligence agencies have gleaned from the IAEA’s own report on Iran, which suggest that Iran may have enough low level enriched uranium stored up to use at the soon-to-be-open Bushehr nuclear power plant that, if they decided to enrich it further they’d have an outside shot at constructing a single, usable weapon of some sort. At the same time intelligence officials concede that Iran is not doing so.

And indeed, the IAEA’s report does caution that there are some questions which remain unanswered, but it has continued to be able to confirm with absolute certainty that none of the low enriched uranium is being diverted to any other purpose. The IAEA has cameras installed at all of Iran’s enrichment facilities, so this hypothetical additional enrichment, even if Iran did possess the technology to do so (and there is some doubt to this) could not be done without immediate international attention.

But with the US poised to make a new push for crippling sanctions this month, even speculative claims are better than no claims at all, and as they face an uphill battle to convince Russia and China of the need to destroy Iran’s economy to punish them, stories of what they might theoretically some day be able to do if they wanted to are sure to continue to pour out of Washington.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.