New IAEA Data: Iran Still Not Close to Israel’s ‘Red Line’

Iran Has More or Less Same Stockpile It Had in May

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put forward his “red line” for the size of Iran’s nuclear stockpile needed for Israel to attack in September of 2012, with the assumption that the line would be crossed in spring.

Spring came and it went, and frustrated Israeli officials said Iranian trickery had pushed the war back to autumn. Now the data for the IAEA’s September report is coming out, and Iran is almost exactly where they were in May.

The problem isn’t an Iranian plot, but an Israeli mistake. Since Iran has a uranium enrichment program, Israel assumed that the stockpile would just keep growing. That’s not what happened.

The thing is that Iran has a civilian nuclear program to go with that enrichment program, and all that enrichment of uranium to civilian levels is being used in that program, and not just getting thrown on a pile somewhere.

That Iran had that biggish stockpile at all is more or less coincidental, as the completion of the Russian-made Bushehr power plant took longer than expected, and figuring out how to make fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) wasn’t so easy either. Now that they’re both up and running, the uranium is being enriched and used, and while the focus now is on Iran increasing its enrichment capabilities, it is also eying more power plants, meaning that Iran may never stumble across that Israeli “red line” as its civilian program grows.

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.