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November IAEA report: Ghosts of Violations Past

Another IAEA report regarding Iran’s nuclear progress is coming up this Friday and while not much is known to date about the contents of the expected document, several leaks indicate that there will be no big surprises in it, but more of Iran’s steady, determined pursuit on it’s way to full capability. What’s to be expected? More of the same, at a faster pace. We’ll be examining the new information in light of our previous research of the matter, which is as always available for free use Here.

Iran’s pursuit inevitably includes repeated violations of UN guidelines and agreements. According to AFP:

“Iran is on the threshold of being able to significantly ramp up production at its most controversial nuclear plant, diplomats expect the UN nuclear agency to say in a new report on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will outline that despite sanctions, Iran’s engineers have now fully fitted out the Fordo enrichment facility, dug into a mountain near the holy city of Qom.”

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Iran turns down another negotiation attempt by the IAEA

 The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran failed on Friday to strike a deal aimed at allaying concerns about suspected nuclear weapons research by Tehran, a setback in efforts to resolve the stand-off diplomatically before any Israeli or U.S. military action (Reuters).

A flurry of bellicose rhetoric from some Israeli politicians this month has fanned speculation that Israel might hit Iran’s nuclear sites before the U.S. presidential election in November.

Tensions rose another notch on the eve of Friday’s talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when diplomatic sources said Iran had installed many more uranium enrichment centrifuges at its Fordow underground site.

While the new machines are not yet operating, the move reaffirmed Iranian defiance of international demands on it to suspend enrichment and may strengthen the Israeli belief that toughened sanctions and concerted diplomacy are failing to make the Islamic Republic change course.

“The discussions today were intensive but important differences remain between Iran and the U.N. that prevented agreement,” Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA’s chief inspector, told journalists after about seven hours of talks with an Iranian delegation in Vienna.

“At the moment we have no plans for another meeting.”

Little headway appeared to have been made on the IAEA’s most urgent request – access for its inspectors to the Parchin military site where the agency believes Iran has done explosives tests relevant for developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that “undoubtedly some progress” was made but that differences remained.

“Because it is a very complex issue … issues related to national security of a member state are something very delicate,” the veteran Iranian diplomat said.

“But I have to say that we are moving forward … and we are going to continue this process so that we at the end of the day will have a framework agreed by both sides.”

Soltanieh had said before the talks began: “Both sides are trying to bridge the gap.”

The diplomatic sources who revealed the expansion of centrifuge capacity at Fordow also said satellite imagery indicated Iran had used a brightly coloured tent-like structure to cover a building at Parchin, increasing concern about a possible removal of evidence of illicit past nuclear work there.

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Iran2407 : Hot Evidence To Nuclear Coverup in Parchin

Evidence of “Cleaning Up”:

Water…used as part of…attempt to wash out radiological evidence from hydrodynamic testing…grinding down the surfaces inside the building, collecting the dust and then washing the area thoroughly….followed with use of new building materials and paint. Washing alone runs the risk of contaminating the wider area outside. Removal of the surrounding, contaminated earth suggests recognition of the need to remove the layer of soil that was contaminated by water runoff.

For more detailed information click here

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Baghdad: Another line Bites the Dust?

Click the caricature to see the enlarged PDF version

This weeks 5 + 1 conference and diplomatic activity around Iranian nuclear operations we all witness, aroused the subject for a while; however referring the experience UN, IAEA and world leaders have with Iranian delegation does not give much room for optimism and Iran2407 keeps the skeptical vision on the matter and the reason for it is the almost decade-long effort to persuade Iran’s government to halt the uranium enrichment. Is there another red line melted and fell to diplomacy efforts?

The Economist in his last week’s editorial fully enlightens the topic :

<em>”…OPTIMISM, in the intricate and frustrating world of international wrangling about Iran’s nuclear programme, is a relative concept. But the White House did call the opening of talks between Iran and the “5+1 group” (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in Istanbul four weeks ago a “positive first step”. After several months in which a pre-emptive military strike by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities seemed to be becoming more likely, hopes of a diplomatic solution have now risen. Attention is switching to Baghdad where, on May 23rd, the work on a deal will begin in earnest.</em>

<img src=”http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/images/print-edition/20120519_IRD001_0.jpg&#8221; alt=”” />

<em>Iran’s return to the table in an apparently more constructive mood marks a sharp change. The latest round of talks failed in January 2011, after Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, set preconditions that other countries found unacceptable. But since the end of 2011 pressure on the regime in Tehran has increased. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), published a damning report detailing its concerns over the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear programme.</em>

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<em>The last time Iran seemed interested in co-operating was in 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq. George Bush had named Iran as part of the “axis of evil” (which also contained Iraq and North Korea). Fearing that it could suffer Iraq’s fate, Iran signed the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which gives IAEA inspectors souped-up rights of access. Two years later, when things were going badly wrong for America in Iraq and Iran believed the threat of an invasion had passed, it reneged on those commitments.</em>

<em>But responding to pressure is not the same as genuine willingness to do a deal. Optimists think the restarted talks could persuade Iran to take a new course and defuse a hugely dangerous crisis. But sceptics believe that the regime is playing for time, growing ever closer to the point where it can produce a small arsenal of nuclear weapons. Doomsters contend that it is all too late anyway: Iran is already so close to the nuclear threshold that the main effort should now be to dissuade potential nuclear rivals, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from taking the same path…” <a href=”http://www.economist.com/node/21555540″>(The Economist)</a></em>

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The IAEA-IRAN Vienna Summit: Another line crossed?

The P5+1 summit in Istanbul on April the 14th has made everyone focus on what Iran should do to appease fears concerning its nuclear program.

And yet, up until now, most of Iran’s past transgressions, non-compliances or violations of UN-IAEA guidelines remain unanswered and will most probably go unanswered in the future. Unanswered questions that give Iran precious time to continue with its program as it pleases.

Questions that may never have to be answered if Iran does finally develop a bomb because, quite simply, a nuclear arsenal allows its owners to turn a deaf ear to facts and questions.

The last two IAEA reports display a series of facts and specific questions relating to covert plans and experiments linked to the development of a nuclear bomb, denial of access to information and nuclear/military plants, excessive uranium enrichment beyond domestic electricity needs.

We gathered 24 acts from the IAEA reports which remain unanswered to this date. In the end, it really comes down to one simple question: Is Iran building or planning to build a nuclear bomb?

Iran does have an answer to that question in the form of a purported fatwa (a religious decree) by its supreme leader Khamenei to never produce nor use a weapon of mass destruction since it is a sin. Iran’s answer completes the logic that begins in the fatwa: If there is not motive and therefore no program, then, there cannot really be any transgressions only unfortunate misunderstandings.

As this blog’s purpose is to supply a clear and informative picture of Iran’s nuclear process we cannot offer an analysis of Iran’s intentions or the validity of its religious arguments. We can however present the following information inn a simple format and leave it for analysts, commentators and publicists to evaluate the facts.

  The visuals are brought courtesy of the Iran 24/7 Initiative and are released under a CC BY NC  license -Attribution-NonCommerial 3.0 Unported.

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Iran nuclear sites: an animated guide

This clip turns to be really relevant to to the another upcoming Summit of 5+! in 13th of May

Global powers are urging Iran to open a sensitive nuclear site to international inspectors as fears grow over Tehran’s race to obtain nuclear weapons.
This animation highlights several key installations that comprise Iran’s nuclear program.
Source: Reuters, Varicus

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24 Acts of Non Compliance by Iran – A new Info graphic

Relevant more than ever in light of the upcoming P5 + 1 and Iran Summit, attached is a new infographic based on recent IAEA reports which includes 24 specific acts of non-compliance. This info is free to use, quote and repost in any manner you see fit and is meant to shed light on Iran’s track record to date vis-à-vis the possibility that Iran’s nuclear program includes nuclear armament.

Click thumbnail for a full-size PDF file.