There were flurries of condemnation by the international community following the revelation by the International Atomic Energy Agency that earlier this week the Iranian government revealed that it is constructing a second, smaller uranium enrichment facility.
Officials put the new facility near the city of Qom, and the IAEA indicated that while it is still about a year from operation and has no nuclear material in it yet it will have less than half the capacity of Iran’s existing facility at Nanatz. The centrifuges at the new site will be domestically designed and potentially more efficient than the aging imports used in Nanatz.
Though Iran was quick to confirm that it would allow the IAEA to inspect the still-incomplete facility, the West reacted with its predictable outrage, with President Obama accusing them of “breaking rules that all nations must follow” and French and British leaders calling for immediate action against the nation. Despite claims from officials that world leaders are “absorbing these revelations,” the US has known about the construction for several years.
The IAEA has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is only enriching uranium to the low levels needed for power generation in its soon-to-be-complete Bushehr nuclear power plant, Western officials have accused them of secretly plotting to threaten the world with a nuclear weapon.
And despite the predictable “call to action,” which really was no different from the call to action made by the same world leaders the day before the revelation, it is not clear Iran has broken any rules with the new construction.