Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

How many things does Iran have to neglect to mention concerning their nuclear program before they have actually violated the NPT?

Iran has failed to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about a number of nuclear activities in a timely manner, according to the latest report by IAEA Director-General Muhammad El Baradei, which warns Tehran that its behaviour is "a matter of concern".

The report confirms, as JDW reported previously (JDW 11 June), that R&D work for Iran's uranium enrichment gas centrifuge programme has taken place at a previously undisclosed facility in Tehran called Kalaye Electric.

Regional intelligence sources told JDW that in recent weeks 1.9kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, previously imported from China, has been used to test four centrifuges at Kalaye Electric in preparation for starting up a larger centrifuge pilot plant at Natanz.

The UF6 is part of a larger consignment Iran confirmed it had imported from China in 1991 and had not previously informed the IAEA about. That material, which includes 1,000kg of UF6, is "now being stored at the previously undeclared Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories [JHL]", located at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre, the report says.

Also imported from China were 400kg of uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) and 400kg of uranium oxide (UO2), which are being stored at JHL. Iran now says that in 2000 it converted most of the UF4 into uranium metal at JHL, the report notes.

Western intelligence officials said the presence of metallic uranium is proof of Iran's military nuclear intention as metallic uranium is not normally used in commercial atomic programmes. The IAEA also expressed its concern, indicating that "the role of uranium metal in Iran's declared nuclear fuel cycle still needs to be fully understood since neither its light-water reactor nor its planned heavy-water reactors require uranium fuel".

< email | 6/24/2003 02:58:00 PM | link

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