IAEA Report: Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal

Shipment Resolves Brief Heavy Water Excess

The latest report from the IAEA has once again affirmed that Iran is complying with the terms of the P5+1 nuclear deal, a month after their previous report affirmed that the entire deal had come into force.

This affirmation comes irrespective of handwringing among US Congressional hawks about how Iran would never comply with the deal, and shows that the deal is firmly in place as Iran goes to the polls.

The only “violation” was an extremely technical one, in which Iran briefly exceeded its limit of stored heavy water by less than 1%, with officials saying they verified that for a few days Iran had 130.9 tonnes, in excess of the 130.0 tonnes they are allowed. Iran exported 20 tonnes within days of that, however, bringing them well under the limit again.

Heavy water contains deuterium, hydrogen atoms with a neutron in their nucleus, and is used to moderate neutrons in certain types of nuclear reactors. The “production” of heavy water is simply the collection of it from a normal water supply, as roughly 1 in 3,200 water molecules will be heavy water in any random sample.

This means that in theory, Iran could’ve just dumped the excess heavy water into a lake if it was a big deal, though since they already had a buyer and the shipment was just days away, it was simpler to just document the “violation” and shrug it off.

The heavy water manufacturing in Iran was meant to power the Arak nuclear plant, which is undergoing a redesign as part of the deal. The deal allows Iran to keep making heavy water for export in the meantime, which is what they’re doing.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.