A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the group tasked by the United Nations with monitoring nuclear activity, says Iran has failed to meet two obligations to prove its nuclear program is not for weapons. The IAEA also admitted that it is unable to know if Iran has hidden nuclear activities.
There were five obligations that Iran committed to as part of its agreement with the U.S. and the IAEA. Two of them, related to evidence of work on nuclear warheads and detonations, have not been met.
A 2011 IAEA report detailed Iranian activity that cannot be credibly attributed to a nuclear energy program. This includes tests of explosives necessary for nuclear weapons, development of neutron initiators that trigger nuclear detonations, construction of underground sites for uranium enrichment and research on nuclear warhead development.
Iran even reviewed logistics for an underground nuclear weapons test. The report concluded, “The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
The new IAEA report says Iran is not adequately answering inquiries about work on technologies related to causing nuclear explosions and developing nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles.
Inspectors are denied access to the Parchin site where a test of high-powered explosives is believed to have been carried out in 2003. Iran has been cleansing the site since at least 2012 and the IAEA says construction there continues.
The Iranians also denied a visa to a specific IAEA inspector for a third time so he could not visit the country.
Page 14 of the document includes an important admission by the IAEA. It states that Iran has not diverted the declared and monitored nuclear material. However, “the Agency 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.”
The IAEA knows it lacks the capability to detect secret nuclear activity inside Iran. In addition, we know that Iran and North Korea work closely together on their nuclear and missile programs. Iran’s activities inside its territory could be frozen or even rolled back but continue unabated in North Korea.
The U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on numerous individuals and entities in Iran on August 29 in response to the regime’s weapons of mass destruction and terrorism sponsorship. One company is used to obtain equipment for ballistic missiles and another acquires aluminum products for centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, the real authority in Iran, said Iran needs to have 190,000 centrifuges operating to meet its long-term needs.
“Our officials say we need 190,000 [centrifuges]. We might not need this [capacity] this year or in the next two or five years but this is our absolute need and we need to meet this need,” Khamenei said.
The U.S. and Europe want Iran to be limited to 10,000. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges with only 10,000 operating. In January, President Rouhani said Iran will not dismantle even one centrifuge or “under any circumstances.” The regime also says it will not dismantle any of its nuclear facilities and that it is testing new centrifuges.
The so-called “moderate” President of Iran has publicly boasted of using diplomacy to buy time for developing the nuclear program when he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
In 2005, he pointed to Pakistan as an example of where the West was forced to accept a nuclear program’s existence and even said, “No, we have not lied…But in some cases, we may not have disclosed information in a timely manner.”
Rouhani agreed to the nuclear deal with its temporary limitations on the program because it fits a long-term strategy. Iran is now enticing Western governments and businesses in an effort to complicate future sanctions and bring in revenue for the regime. The deal has had very positive geopolitical consequences for Iran.
The Iranian regime is committed to having nuclear weapons capability. At the very least, it wants to have the infrastructure in place to quickly produce an arsenal before the world can stop it.
In December 2001, another supposedly “moderate” Iranian leader, former president and chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani publicly said:
“If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”
That quote shows exactly why the world cannot allow anyone with a jihadist mindset to come anywhere near a nuclear weapon. If Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism is threatening now, then it’ll become exponentially worse if it becomes nuclear-armed.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.