IAEA Continues Misleading Allegations on Iran’s Uranium Stockpile

Uranium still well short of weapons-grade

Thursday’s quarterly report from the IAEA once again details Iran’s stockpile of uranium. As usual, the watchdog overstated the seriousness of the enrichment of uranium for civilian use.

Iran’s highest enriched uranium, at 60%, increased just 6 kg from last quarter, to a total of 62.3 kg. 60% is considered highly enriched, but weapons-grade is considered over 90%.

This has been a recurring theme for years. Iran has never even attempted to enrich to weapons-grade, but whatever happens to be the highest level they do enrich to is then spun as a risk.

The only reason Iran even enriches to that level is as a diplomatic pressure when trying to reach a new deal to restore the JCPOA nuclear deal. The P5+1 nations wanted enrichment at a lower level, but that was conditioned on a deal that was never honored by the United States.

Iran has made on-again, off-again efforts to try to improve relations with the IAEA, and even announced intentions to hold more meetings over the past week.

Though some of these meetings seemingly go well, Iran gets little from them, as the next quarterly report has the IAEA right back to fear-mongering the world about their civilian program, despite its lack of a proliferation threat.  The IAEA is satisfying the US by continuing to make an issue of Iran’s enrichment, but plainly disincentivizing cooperation by never giving Iran credit for the concessions they do make.

There are things the IAEA really wants, like access to Iranian sites and a new monitoring deal to replace one that expired. Iran has shown willingness to provide both, but only in the context of a restored JCPOA. Though the IAEA has a clear path to get what they want, the deal needs P5+1 support, and the more the IAEA keeps them happy, the more they undercut the deal with reports like these.

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.