Iran’s Civilian Use of Uranium Frustrates Hawks

Diplomats: Iran May Be Stepping Up Civilian Use

Another round of IAEA reports details the amount of enriched uranium in Iran’s stockpile is still well short of the “red line” the Israeli government set for military action.

Israel’s “red line” was artificial to begin with, but was defined under the clear assumption that Iran would cross it early this summer, providing a pretext for aggressive military action. It’s not working out that way.

Though officials are trying to present this as some tricky Iranian strategy, the fact of the matter is that Iran is enriching uranium to civilian levels and then using it for civilian purposes, exactly like every other nation with a civilian program does.

The “stockpile” problem with Iran’s 3.5% enriched uranium mostly centered on the delays with the Bushehr power plant, and the secondary problem with the 20% uranium likewise was a function of Iran struggling to figure out how to convert that into fuel rods usable in the aging Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), a US-built reactor that is materially Iran’s only source of medical isotopes.

This has been irking Israel to no end for quite awhile, as Iran’s continued use of their civilian nuclear program for civilian purposes is really getting in the way of their various ambitions to start a war. The news is getting worse for them too, as diplomats say the indication is that as Iran escalates their enrichment, they’re also stepping up their usage.



Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of