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December 3, 2015 8:44 am

Think Tank: Atomic Agency Report on Military Dimensions of Iran Nuclear Program Inconclusive

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Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz. Photo: Wikipedia.

Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Washington, DC-based think tank said on Wednesday that a new report on Iran’s nuclear program by international inspectors did not conclude the issue of whether Iran once pursued nuclear weapons.

The Institute for Science and International Security released a statement saying, “The bottom line is that the [International Atomic Energy Agency] investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programs cannot be understood to be concluded, certainly it cannot be closed.”

The statement was signed by David Albright — a former IAEA official — Andrea Stricker and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini.

The IAEA report apparently shows that Iran had a “coordinated effort” to the making of nuclear bombs until 2003, and some arms-related work may have continued until 2009, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

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The report was required by the road map for the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal announced by Iran and world powers in Vienna in July that would remove international sanctions from Iran in exchange for some restrictions on its nuclear program.

The institute, in its “initial reactions” to the IAEA report, said Iran had provided little real cooperation with international inspectors.

“Denials and lack of truthfulness should not be confused with cooperation in the context of the JCPOA, any more than such “cooperation” by a defendant in a criminal investigation would be construed as real cooperation,” read the statement.

Additionally, the institute said, “The truth of Iran’s work on nuclear weapons is probably far more extensive than outlined by the IAEA in this report.”

Iran has said it never sought nuclear weapons and insists its enrichment program is for peaceful uses only.

Some elements of the IAEA report underscore how some Iranian activities could be interpreted as preparations for nuclear weapons, without being able to be proved as such. For example, the IAEA noted that Iran developed explosive bridgewire detonators with characteristics relevant to a nuclear bomb, while acknowledging that such detonators have also been increasingly used for civilian and conventional military purposes.

Additionally, the report noted Iran’s development of computer modelling for a nuclear explosive device between 2005 and 2009, while mentioning “the incomplete and fragmented nature of those calculations.”

Iranian leaders warned earlier this week that they would not pursue their commitments under the JCPOA if the IAEA failed to settle the issue of the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

But because of Iranian obfuscation, the institute said, inspectors were actually unable to break much new ground.

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