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Deal At Any Cost
Iran’s Nuclear Stockpiles Increase

Cheating already? According to an IAEA report released Friday, Iran’s nuclear stockpiles have grown by 20 percent over the last 18 months, despite the Obama Administration’s claim that Tehran’s program was “frozen” during that time. The Administration now finds itself with an even harder sell to make: convincing Congress and America’s wary allies that Iran will get rid of 96 percent of its stockpile in only a few months following the conclusion of a deal.

Western experts say that the oversupply could have been caused by technical problems, and that the material isn’t necessarily usable for weapons. Alternatively, Iran may well have been stockpiling in order to secure an advantage if negotiations fall through (or, rather, when they do, as our own Adam Garfinkle has repeatedly predicted).

“From the U.S. perspective, it’s obviously less than ideal,” an Iran specialist at Columbia University said, while noting that nevertheless the development is not necessarily a deal-breaker. Indeed, it seems very unlikely to be, given the Obama Administration’s frantic pursuit of this deal at what looks like any cost.

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  • Dan Greene

    “According to an IAEA report released Friday, Iran’s nuclear stockpiles have grown by 20 percent over the last 18 months, despite the Obama Administration’s claim that Tehran’s program was “frozen” during that time.”

    Could we see the a full quotation of the administration’s claim and an explanation of its meaning? In the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) that was formulated as part of the Interim Agreement between Iran and the P5+1 in November 2013, Iran agreed that it would “not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months [from January 2014].” (The six month time frame has been extended twice.) This was NOT an agreement to stop all enrichment activity but to cease enrichment to more than a 5% level (among other provisions.)

    https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/gov2014-62.pdf

    So the increase in the 3 1/2% enriched uranium stock–the standard enrichment level for most nuclear fuel–represents no violation of the agreement at all.

    What it probably does represent is a bargaining tactic. To cease all LEU enrichment now would be to show over-eargerness while the final agreement is still being negotiated. Iran is saying that they have the capability to enrich more uranium and they will continue to do so until a final bargain is concluded.

    Don’t know why TAI thinks that getting rid of the vast majority of enriched uranium would be particularly difficult, assuming a final agreement is reached. And the insinuation of cheating, when the author knows very well that an increase in LEU stock is not an instance of cheating, is the kind of petty dishonesty that mars so many TAI pieces.

    The 29 May 2015 IAEA report cited in the article confirms in its Annex IV, p. 20, that Iran has abided by its commitments under the JPA.

    http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/iaea-iranreport-05292015.pdf

    So the scary NYT story by Sanger and Broad and the TAI piggy-back piece are simply attempts to create new obstructions to a final agreement. Hey, if there are insufficient impediments to the conclusion of a deal, we, as journalists, can create some!

    Also interesting that the supposed “expert” from Columbia presumably insisted on anonymity. That’s confidence-inspiring.

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