Iran’s Persistent Push for Nuclear Weapon Development

IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi informed the IAEA Board of Governors that the Agency has lost continuity of knowledge in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors, bellows, heavy water, and uranium ore concentrate. He emphasized the large gaps in nuclear inspections due to Iran’s suspension of its Additional Protocol three years ago.

Grossi also expressed concerns about recent statements from Iranian officials indicating that Iran has completed all aspects of the nuclear weapons cycle, with the only obstacle being the political decision to proceed with weapon production. These statements raise doubts about the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations.

Furthermore, Grossi highlighted the ongoing increase in Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, despite a slight decrease in the level of uranium enriched up to 60%. He noted the lack of progress in resolving outstanding safeguards issues and the failure of Iran to provide credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles at specific locations.

Iranian nuclear violations uncovered in 2018

In 2018, Mossad uncovered Iranian nuclear violations during a raid in Tehran. Grossi also pointed out discrepancies in Iran’s nuclear material balance reports, with some issues resolved and others requiring further investigation. He stressed the importance of Iran implementing modified Code 3.1 to ensure the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Despite these concerns, the IAEA Board is not expected to escalate the nuclear standoff to the UN Security Council, as there is limited appetite for confrontation without clear evidence of Iran’s intent to develop nuclear weapons. The focus of the US and the West on conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza also contributes to the lack of urgency in addressing Iran’s nuclear activities.