WHAT ABOUT THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM ?

What is Iran’s nuclear programme?
How is it known that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme?

• Contrary to Iranian claims that its nuclear programme was civilian, through the 1980s and 1iran-nuclear-program990s Iran was buying materials and designs for nuclear facilities in secret.

• In 2002, Iranian opposition groups disclosed details of major nuclear sites under construction which Iran had kept hidden in direct contravention of its international commitments. They included a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water production plant and reactor at Arak that could produce weapons grade plutonium. Neither are necessary for civilian power.

• In 2009, Britain, France and the US exposed another secret enrichment facility under a mountain at Fordow, too small for civilian fuel but big enough for weapons grade uranium.

• The IAEA issued a report in November 2011 with detailed evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. It showed a structured programme until 2003, and suspected activities after that.

• In defiance of binding UNSC resolutions, Iran continues to expand its enrichment capacity and to enrich at levels closer to weapons grade. It is also continuing with the construction at Arak.

• Iran has repeatedly refused to allow the IAEA to access the Parchin military base, where it is believed to have been working on nuclear triggers.

• Iran already has missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and David Cameron warned in March 2012 that Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

How has Iran breached its international obligations?

• In 2005 the IAEA declared Iran non-compliant with the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), stating: “Iran’s policy of concealment has resulted in many breaches of its obligation to comply”.

• In 2006 Iran stopped implementing the terms of the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which it had signed in 2003 after the discovery of its secret facilities, and which was supposed to give IAEA inspectors greater access to Iranian nuclear facilities.

• Iran has rejected numerous binding UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to cease enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water related activities and to cooperate with the IAEA.

• Iran has repeatedly rejected international offers of wide ranging cooperation in economic, political and technological fields, and sanctions relief.

A billet of highly enriched uranium that was r...

How close is Iran to a bomb?

• Iran’s strategy is to develop the technologies and materials to build a nuclear arsenal, so that it is able to do so quickly when its leadership judges the time is right.

• Iran has enough low enriched uranium (3.5% enriched) for six bombs, if further enriched, and a growing stock of 20% enriched uranium. It has developed warhead designs and has missiles that can carry a warhead. By mid-2014, Iran will be able to break out to weapons grade uranium (90% enriched) from its low enriched uranium within a few weeks, faster than the IAEA could detect.

• The Arak reactor, capable of producing weapons grade Plutonium, could go hot in 2014.

Key sites

• Natanz: Large uranium enrichment facility built in secret and discovered in 2002.
• Arak: Heavy water plant and nuclear reactor capable of producing weapons grade plutonium.
• Fordow: Enrichment facility built illegally and in secret deep under a mountain by Qom. Too small for civilian fuel but able to turn low enriched uranium into weapons grade.
• Parchin: Site where IAEA demands access due to evidence Iran tested nuclear triggers.
• Ishfahan: Research facility including plant to processes uranium into gas form for enrichment

source: EIPA

 

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