Analysis

Iran Preparing Large Increase in Nuclear Fuel Production
Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General and Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Department (left) and Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh speak to journalists after talks in Vienna, Austria, August 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)
September 4, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
A new IAEA report shows that sanctions on Iran have failed, that Iran has in fact accelerated its nuclear weapons program, and that Tehran is planning a massive increase in the production of nuclear fuel. Also alarming is the substantial evidence that Iran used the summer of 2012 to move its nuclear fuel production to a fortified underground facility to defend against an attack by Israel or the United States. The new IAEA report also points to a further increase in the number of nuclear weapons Iran could potentially construct and increases the potential for an Israeli air strike.

The new IAEA report is alarming because it shows that Iran is rapidly increasing its capacity for the production of nuclear fuel – the most difficult step in making a nuclear bomb. This is taking place at the Fordow nuclear facility, which is built into a mountainside and heavily fortified. Iran has also refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to a facility where it allegedly has conducted nuclear warhead experiments. The report indicates that Western efforts to use sanctions and diplomacy to convince Tehran to halt its nuclear program have been an utter failure and that Iranian leaders instead appear to be preparing a nuclear weapons program that could survive Israeli and American airstrikes. 

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