Jeffrey LewisGov/2010/10 and Gov/2010/11

Here is the full text of the IAEA Board of Governor’s reports:

℘ Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1835 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Gov/2010/10

℘ Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Gov/2010/11

Also, don’t forget, the IAEA released a document on Iran’s re-enrichment of LEU last week: GOV/INF/2010/2.

I feel agile today. And grateful, as always, to that little bird in Vienna.


  1. nick (History)

    For the period of Nov 23-Jan 29, the enrichment level at FEP reached 3.8 Kg/day; this must be a new record with 3772 units enriching, of course it might have been higher before, but it was that many at the inspection date of 1/29/10. A24 has one cascade not enriching, bringing the total number of centrifuges down by that much from the November Report (3936), adding more credibility to the notion of technical problems with the IR-1 design.

  2. VirtualNomad (History)

    A note of caution before synthesizing all the breathless news reports about the “new” and “first-time” elements contained in the IAEA report about Iran’s “current” work on a deliverable physics package.

    They are missing the elephant in the room.

    The “current” syntax in IAEA’s report probably reflects merely the fact that Iran achieved 19.8% enrichment, thereby demonstrating — in the absence of clearing up past explosive, delivery-vehicle, neutron generator, etc.. work — they’ve mastered the key element of building a bomb.

    It’s the enrichment, stupid

    A pity that nobody asked the “officials” whether, in their judgment, this higher enrichment constituted possible “current” work on a device.

  3. archjr (History)

    Two observations:
    1) Not only did the Agency finger Iran as the “only State with significant nuclear activities which has a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force but is not implementing the provisions of the modified Code 3.1.” The lovely folks in OLA (and the DG of course, to his credit) also make the point that, by reneging on their 2003 acceptance of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Iran is agreeing only to safeguards legal standards that date way back to 1976. Surely no self-respecting student of safeguards, as the Iranians surely are, would agree that the standard in place at that time was sufficient, particularly in light of the lessons Iran and the rest of us learned about safeguards in Iraq.

    2) Pure supposition, but a large part of Iran’s reasoning for its continuing obfuscation is doubtless the fact that the only bombed suspected nuclear-weapons facility in history (until whatever used to be in Syria) was OSIRAQ, under Agency inspection at the time. One can surely understand why someone would think that declaring a facility to the IAEA is a sure way to put that site on an Israeli target list. All the more reason for the Agency to respond quickly and firmly to all previously undisclosed nuclear sites, wherever they may be (which the IAEA has done well in recent years and even better with the latest Iran report), and to no longer shy away from using its special inspections authority. A tool unused is irrelevant to the project.

  4. archjr (History)

    Sorry, a third observation, and an apology in case it’s required:

    More speculation, but look for lots of additional questions about Iran’s plutonium-related activities as they mature, beyond the outstanding issues. It’s a perfect way to complify the myriad safeguards issues and use the practice of exchanging formal letters to draw out the process. So it’s not necessarily “the enrichment, stupid”.

    Advance apologies if I repeat some others’ trenchant observations. I like to read the IAEA reports themselves before I read the coverage and analysis, and I’m sure my reactions to this report are not unique.

  5. Jayne (History)

    link in the post is to the Syria report — equally interesting but not what you’re talking about.

  6. Andrew

    @VirtualNomad: Unfortunately, many countries in the world have nuclear reactors and nuclear know-how. See: or

    How reasonable is it to assume all of the nations with enrichment will forever and always be “good” nations? Didn’t Iran used to be “good” awhile ago?

    The thousands of active and passive nuclear warheads which have already been developed and stationed all around the world seem like the graver threat to me.

  7. mark hibbs

    A few days ago Jeffrey tweeted and facebooked that, in culling my previous articles on Iran’s centrifuge project, officials (yes, these were Western, not Iranian) had told me back in 2007 that inside of about 3 years, a large number of the IR-1s installed at Natanz would crash. It seems from the looks of the report and what other people are saying about it that that 2007 prediction might have been correct.

  8. archjr (History)

    Josh pointed out (link, and thanks) that there have been many attacks on nuclear facilities, so I should have referred to OSIRAQ/Tammuz/Tuwaitha as the only OPERATING reactor to be bombed. Ironically, many people felt at the time that biggest damage done may have been to the credibility of IAEA safeguards.

  9. anonymous (History)

    I have been observing the Iranian response for the past 2 years and it fits the following model:

    Iran is playing for time while it completes the development of one or more nuclear warheads. Every development and piece of information either supports or does not contradict this hypothesis. I see a good deal of focus on the centrifuge cascades at the FEP and the PFEP, and particularly the number of cascades out of operation, and thus the reduced SWP available for breakout. How do we know that these centrifuges are not being purposefully kept idle for future breakout? And how do we know that the declared SWP capacity at these visible plants is not being reinforced by a series of small secret cascades scattered at undisclosed locations?

    All the new available data either supports or does not contradict the hypothesis that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

    If the hypothesis is true, Iran at some date in the not too distant future will announce it has weaponized several warheads and is prepared to deliver them in the event of an attack. At that stage, the world can no longer be assured (even with a 90% effective ballistic missile shield) that Iran will not be able to destroy a major city or a massed military force. This gives Iran the green light to continue to produce several weapons per year until they are a major nuclear power.

    This is the outcome that the modeled data is pointing towards.

    So let us say that over 20 years Iran has amassed 200 warheads, perhaps on ballistic missile submarines, each of them boosted using 1950’s technology. In this world, who is to say that rulers with a unique inherently religious ideology will not demand using the threat of nuclear attack items that are rational under this ideology? What if the ideology is expansionist? What if the ideology conflicts with western enlightenment values that we collectively enjoy. This is the threat the world is facing.

    The recent movie “The Book of Eli” presents a possible post apocalyptic view of the future after a nuclear exchange. This is a foreseeable horror. It our collective responsibility to help make choices that prevent such a future.

    I unfortunately must remain anonymous.

  10. archjr (History)

    Wrong again. I got it exactly backwards. One justification the Israelis gave for bombing the reactor was that it was nearing fuel loading, and they didn’t want to risk a radiation release. Sheesh, I am getting old.

  11. Norman (History)

    If I am right, most experts disagree with “Anonymous” that Iran will definitely weaponize. Rather, they agree that the available data are most consistent with Iran’s drive towards some level of breakout-out capacity only. Iran’s clear wish to stay in the NPT (while stretching it’s obligations greatly), and repeated polls of the Iranian public, are also most consistent with this policy.

    Anonymous’ “data” entirely discount repeated denials of overt weaponization by Iran’s leaders, and especially that of Ayatollah Khamenei, who issued a fatwa and has said that nuclear weapons are against Islamic faith. One cannot discount the religious statements when, if they were discovered to be lies, they would utterly discredit Iran’s leaders. Developing nuclear weapon capacity as protection against a very possible attack allows wiggle room.
    We should remember that when Saddam Hussein used poison gas on Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war, Iran did not reply in kind, even though it surely could have developed this WWI technology quickly.

  12. bts (History)

    That’s a good one anonymous. You say Iran is going to destroy the whole world (just like in the movie) therefore US should bomb Iran to save the world! We should bomb Iran for the children!

    At least there should be crippling sanctions against Iran to bring them pain and suffering. It’s for the children!

    There is just one problem: US is already stuck in other costly wars which have shown no strategic benefit.