Lawfuel.com – Iran continues to defy international law and the efforts to determine its intentions regarding obtaining its own nuclear arms.
Iran has evidently increased its uranium enrichment efforts in violation of the resolutions passed to stop its efforts, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA report, which has been published by the Institute for Science and International Security, which is a nonprofit group focused on global nuclear nonproliferation efforts, said Iran is not cooperating with efforts to verify that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, leaving the agency with “serious concerns” about potential military uses.
And CNN reports that Iranian officials refused to provide IAEA inspectors access to a key military installation during a visit that ended Tuesday and dismissed the concerns of inspectors as based on “unfounded allegations,” according to the report, which has not yet been released by the IAEA.
But investigators have confirmed that Iran has expanded its capacity to enrich uranium, according to the report.
Enrichment involves increasing the concentration of uranium-235 from its natural concentration of less than 1% to the higher concentrations necessary to fuel nuclear power plants or other uses.
Nuclear power requires 3% to 5%. Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to about 90%. Iran is enriching some uranium to 20%, despite United Nations and IAEA resolutions to stop, the report published Friday confirmed.
While Iran has said the higher-level enrichment is meant to produce therapies for cancer patients, international critics have called the efforts a troubling step toward possible militarization of nuclear technology there.
IAEA inspectors left Iran after two days of talks failed to reach an agreement on how to verify Tehran’s claim that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes and after inspectors said they were denied an opportunity to visit a military base in Parchin.
The IAEA reported in November that Iran built a chamber at Parchin in 2000 that was designed to contain the force of up to 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of high explosives. Inspectors visited the site twice in 2005, but did not go to the building now believed to have housed the test chamber, that report stated.
Parchin may have been the site of tests of high explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear bomb — experiments the agency called “strong indicators of possible weapon development,” it read.
The IAEA found that between the November report and its current one, Iran added 3,000 centrifuges for a total of 9,000 at the Natanz facility in central Iran, according to Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and Security. More centrifuges mean more enrichment capability.
“That’s a significant jump,” he said.
Brannan described Iran’s growing stockpile of the enriched uranium as a “major concern” and questioned why so much is needed.
“They stockpiled so much of it they can operate for over a decade,” Brannan told CNN.
The 20% level is significant because nuclear experts believe further enrichment needed to create a material for a possible weapon is easy to achieve once one is capable of 20%.