While the world (media included) understandably focused on Syria this past week, a new report released by the IAEA confirmed that Iran continues to advance toward nuclear military latency.
Before commenting on the report’s content, a word about the media headlines: they reflected – depending on the outlet – both growth (BBC) and slowdown (NYT) in Tehran’s nuclear progress. How can that be? All in the eyes of the beholder, of course, but the media should make at least some effort to project objectivity.
Over to the report’s key findings, as summarized by David Albright’s ISIS:
*The number of IR-1 centrifuges installed at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) has increased to 15,000 (600 centrifuges per month). Furthermore, one-third of the planned 3,000 advanced centrifuges (IR-2m) have been installed at the plant.
*Iran made serious modifications to the Parchin military complex ahead of an IAEA team’s visit to the site, significantly impeding the team’s ability to inspect the area.
*Tehran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium has increased only marginally, reportedly due to problems in its conversion process.
*A delay is expected in the start-up of the Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor, stemming from the fact that Iran has made only one-fifth of the fuel assemblies required for the facility.
*Iran continues to refuse to cooperate with the IAEA on the possible military dimensions of its past and possibly on-going nuclear programs.
The IAEA also announced that another round of talks with Iran will be held on September 27 in Vienna (the first in Hassan Rouhani’s presidency). AEOI head Ali Akhbar Salehi greeted the announcement by attacking the Agency’s credibility.
So many international crisis balls to keep in the air. The media needs to do a better job reporting it all.