IAEA: Iran steps up sensitive nuclear work

UN watchdog report shows Tehran accelerated uranium enrichment drive; document reports IAEA's failed mission to Iran which sought a response to allegations of research relevant for nuclear weapons development.

By REUTERS
February 24, 2012 19:16
2 minute read.
IAEA cameras in Iran uranium plant [file]

IAEA cameras in Iranian uranium enrichment facility 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

VIENNA - Iran has sharply stepped up its controversial uranium enrichment drive, a United Nations watchdog report showed on Friday, a defiant move certain to further fuel Western alarm about the Islamic Republic's atomic aims.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a confidential document, also reported its failed mission to Tehran this week to try and get Iran to respond to allegations of research relevant for the development of nuclear weapons.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The setback increased worries about a downward spiral towards conflict between Iran and the West, and sent oil prices higher.

"The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the Vienna-based UN body said in its latest quarterly report about Iran's atomic activities.

The IAEA report to member states showed Iran had carried out a significant expansion of activities at its main enrichment plant near the central city of Natanz, and also increased work at the Fordow underground facility.

Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, which is Iran's stated aim, or provide material for bombs if refined much further, which the West suspects is Tehran's ultimate aim.

At Natanz, the IAEA report said 52 cascades - each containing around 170 centrifuges - were now operating, up from 37 in November.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


At Fordow, almost 700 centrifuges are now refining uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent and preparations are under way to install many more, the IAEA report showed.

Fordow is of particular concern for the West and Israel as Iran is shifting the most sensitive aspect of its nuclear work, refining uranium to a level that takes it significantly closer to potential bomb material, to the site.

Estimated to be buried beneath 80 metres of rock and soil, it gives Iran better protection against any Israeli or US military strikes.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has warned that the Islamic state's nuclear research could soon pass into what he called a "zone of immunity," protected from outside disruption.

The IAEA report showed Iran had now produced nearly 110 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent since early 2010. Western experts say about 250 kg is needed for a nuclear weapon.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations

By YONAH JEREMY BOB