UN report on Iran’s nuke program affirms past weapons effort

A much-anticipated report from the UN’s nuclear watchdog on Iran’s nuclear program indicates the Islamic Republic worked in the past on nuclear weapons, but leaves many key questions unanswered.


The report, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) circulated to its 35-nation board, shows that Iran worked in the past on nuclear weapons but “these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies.”


Iran has consistently claimed that its nuclear program has always been for peaceful purposes, so the reported nuclear weapons-related activity appears to debunk such a claim. The IAEA admits in the report that not all information was made available by Tehran, leaving findings inconclusive. On the basis of what the IAEA received from the Islamic Republic, IAEA Director General Yukiya Aano wrote in his report, “The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”


Should the report be approved by the IAEA’s Board of Directors at a December 15 meeting in Vienna, the issue of possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program will be settled. Such an outcome would further clear the way toward lifting UN sanctions on Iran, in accordance with the P5+1 nuclear deal that was endorsed by the UN Security Council in July. Iran still needs to abide by its commitments under the July 14 accord to get UN sanctions relief.


Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors last week, Director General Yukiya Amano conceded that his organizations is “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”


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