by Jason Ditz, published on Antiwar.com, September 7, 2021
IAEA report complains about lack of a new monitoring agreement.
The IAEA is continuing to offer misleading reports on Iran’s nuclear program, giving false impressions of rapid growth of the uranium stockpiles built around counting the rate of growth of trivially small segments.
Tuesday’s report both centers on Iran’s 60% enriched uranium stockpile, a stockpile which didn’t even exist at the start of the year but has “quadrupled” since May. The report also complains about the struggles since the expiry of a monitoring agreement with Iran.
In context, Iran had only just started enriching to 60% in May, and Iranian state media self-reported a stockpile of 6.5 kg of it in mid-June. That’s not a lot by any objective measure. Even then, the IAEA estimated the stockpile today at only 10 kg. Claiming it quadrupled is based on going back to the very start of the process to try to make it sound like rapid growth when it is plainly not.
It is also unsurprising when one considers Iran’s civilian program has no direct use for 60% enriched uranium, and is only producing it because parliament told them to as a way of protesting Israeli sabotage attempts. The nuclear program is complying with parliament, but has no reason to stockpile any huge numbers.
The IAEA also complained about the lack of a continued monitoring agreement since the expiration of the last such agreement. They demanded that the situation be “immediately rectified by Iran.”
In practice, Iran has no reason to “rectify” this when they remain under a safeguard agreement and are only not offering special access that they used to offer as part of a purely voluntary deal which has since expired.
Iran noted that they continue to offer sufficient cooperation, and that Iran is under no obligation to keep extending the monitoring deal unilaterally.
Jason Ditz is a libertarian anti-war blogger and journalist.