The latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s nuclear programme, due out today, is expected to say that Tehran has rapidly expanded the quantity of equipment at its underground uranium enrichment plant but that Tehran has not started using the new machines to produce nuclear fuel.
The IAEA quarterly report, according to newswire items, will say that more than 300 centrifuges have been installed at the underground Fordow facility, near the city of Qom, but that they are not yet spinning and that the rate of uranium production has not risen since the last IAEA report in May.
The IAEA report will also note complaints from UN inspectors on Tehran’s lack of cooperation with their investigation into allegations of Iranian nuclear weapons work. Particular attention will be drawn to Iran’s refusal to allow inspectors into a suspect site at the Parchin military base, where satellite images have shown buildings being bulldozed and earthmoving vehicles in what IAEA officials believe is an attempt to “sanitise” the area of incriminating evidence.
In related news, according to an internal UN document shared with the Associated Press, in an effort to intensify the IAEA’s investigation the agency is forming an Iran Task Force to focus on probing allegations that Tehran has been – or is – secretly working on developing nuclear weapons. The announcement from the IAEA states that the elite squad started work 10 August. Dated Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency statement said the unit will concentrate on implementing IAEA agreements with Iran, allowing it to monitor its nuclear activities as mandated by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Creating a unit focused on only one country is an rare move for the IAEA – reflecting the urgency the UN nuclear watchdog attaches to Iran’s nuclear programme, amid fears that the country is moving closer to the ability to make atomic weapons, despite its denial.