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June 2, 2015 2:54 pm

Western Officials Baffled by Continued Growth of Iran Nuclear Stockpiles Despite Agreement

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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The Iran nuclear program's heavy-water reactor at Arak. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A New York Times report on Tuesday that Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles have grown 20 percent over the last 18 months further called into question Iranian goodwill over a deal with world powers over its nuclear program.

The report, citing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also calls into question one of the Obama administration’s main arguments for continuing to pursue the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal based on the Lausanne framework hammered out by negotiators in April, namely that Iran had frozen its fuel production following an interim agreement in late 2013.

“Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended all of its enrichment related activities in the declared facilities,” said the report released by the IAEA last Friday.

And according to the Times, Western officials and experts “cannot quite figure out why” Iran continues to boost its nuclear fuel stockpiles.

One explanation was that Iranian scientists ran into difficulties converting enriched uranium into fuel rods, which cannot be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Another possible explanation is that the Iranians want a larger stockpile to serve as a bargaining chip should the deal fall through, which is especially relevant as any nuclear deal will ultimately include the lifting of sanctions against Iran.

Once sanctions are lifted, firms and nations around the globe would be free to start doing business in Iran, which critics of the deal say would tie the international community’s hands in reimposing sanctions should Iran cheat on the nuclear deal.

“That’s exactly the problem with dropping the sanctions before Iran has proved any goodwill,” said an Israeli diplomatic source earlier this week. “The Americans are going to be doing business with Iran, and the Austrians and the Germans and the French and the whole world is going to do business with Iran.”

The IAEA report also said the agency “remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

On Monday, Russia announced it was starting construction on a second nuclear plant in Iran.

Responding to the IAEA report, nongovernmental organization The Israel Project said, “Iran has violated every nuclear-related treaty it has ever signed, and [President Barack Obama] has spoken of giving them a $150 billion signing bonus for the impending deal that will undermine American leverage to enforce the upcoming deal.”

Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who flew back to the U.S. for treatment of an injury he sustained during a cycling accident in Switzerland, still must sell the deal to Congress. According to the Times, this includes convincing lawmakers that Iran would shrink its stockpile by 96% just a number of months after the deal is signed.

“The violations will be brushed off,” said The Israel Project. “The administration will say the Iranians still have time to hit their targets, which is the same game that administration officials played with Iran cheating on oil export caps.”

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  • Joseph London

    Even if you believe Obama is incredibly naive for trusting Iran, why have UK, France, Germany, China and Russia gone along with ‘trusting’ Iran? They’re not all naive.

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  • jb willikers

    It’s good to know we have our “best” people monitoring this potentially “explosive” situation. However, I would prefer to have the 3rd grade of an inner city school doing the job.

  • The Mullahs could purchase an electronic billboard ad on Times Square asserting “We are conning the Americans with this deal and have no intention of halting our work on the bomb” and Obama would still sign a deal.

    Obama really has no problem with Iran getting a nuclear bomb because he does not believe (of course he can’t say it) that America has any right to dictate to a Muslim nation.

    Plus by allowing Iran to get the bomb, Obama accomplishes his goal of putting Israel in its place. Obama views Israel as an interloper in the M-E (Again, he obviously cannot come out and say it, but just look at who he has associated with throughout his life: anti-semites.

    The idiots in Congress surrendered their powers under the Treaty Provision in the Constitution.

    Israel really has no choice but to pre-empt Iran’s bomb.

    I can only hope that Bibi has what it takes to recognize this.

  • Larry Andrews

    Gee, what a shocker! The Islamic Republic of Iran didn’t do what it said it would do. President Obama is so naïve that if Japan attacked Pearl Harbor he would blame it on
    Americans eating too much sushi!! This is what has happened in the Middle East during President Obama’s tenure. Libya is in complete chaos. Iraq is in complete chaos. Syria is in complete chaos. Yemen is in complete chaos. Egypt is on the verge of financial collapse. None of the Sunni Arab governments trust the United States. Israel has been demonized. And, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become more powerful than at any time since it came into existence. The day President Obama becomes former President Obama will be a blessed day for the Jewish people!!

  • How much longer will the world powers believe that Iran is honest in their dealings? Nuclear enrichment does not grow by itself.
    And Putin is still the instigator. Why must they continue to build nuclear facilities in Iran?
    It seems the tyrants will not be happy until they destroy this world. Perhaps that is good. There are too, too many harboring ill-will. If they are so intent to end this world, let them begin by killing THEMSELVES first.

  • RobiMac

    Well, if they understood the Hudna, they wouldn’t be baffled, would they?

  • It is plain Madness that OBAMA and his administration is continuing this path that will ultimately end up with a serious danger to the whole world, as Iran CANNOT be trusted.

  • Kris Kristian

    If any country believes that Iran will not carry on with their nuclear stockpile, or that they will shrink it’s stockpile by 90%, a number of months after the deal is signed, needs to look in the mirror and shout out loUd. ‘WE ARE IDIOTS AND FOOLS TO BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT IRAN SAYS WILL HAPPEN.”

  • jay sharpe

    Obama and Kerry are sell outs they should both be kicked out of office,the IDF should bomb Iran back in to the stone age now while it still can.

  • Bernard

    Did they really expect anything to change or improve ? If so – wishful thinking !

    Realistically , did anyone expect anything different to transpire ?

    Or realistically , is Iran being given enough rope to hang itself in order for everyone else to keep their little hands clean ?

  • Fred Chalfin

    Duh! Since Iran had no intention of actually complying with any “deal”, once the sanctions were lifted, there was no reason for them to stop fuel production either.

  • Liz Crawford

    What “bafflement?” Keeping the West busy by this bait-and-switch “negotiation” while they continue what they’re going to do anyway has been precisely their whole plan from the beginning.

  • David

    I am not baffled by the machinations of an evil regime in Tehran. Evil does as Evil is. What I am baffled by is the inability of the Republicans to stop the evil person in the White House.

  • Valentina Perakh

    DO NOT TRUST IRAN1period!

  • Michael Garfinkel

    I’m shocked, shocked to find out there’s nuclear enrichment going in here!