“IAEA report expresses concern over Qom plant, stresses stance on Code 3.1”

“IAEA report expresses concern over Qom plant, stresses stance on Code 3.1”
November 16 & 17, 2009
     Over a week after IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said there was “nothing to be worried about” regarding Iran’s Qom facility, the IAEA’s latest Iran report states that questions remain over the facility’s purpose. The report points out that satellite imagery indicates construction of the Qom facility, also known as the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, began in as early as 2002, contradicting Iran’s claims and “[reducing] the level of confidence” in the absence of other undeclared facilities under construction. The report also stresses that Iran remains bound to the revised Code 3.1 despite arguments to the contrary [previously covered here] (IAEA).
     While Iran claims that the Fordow plant was constructed as a backup in case the Natanz plant were bombed, but ISIS argues that in the event of war, the production of weapons-grade uranium would likely be a higher priority than LEU production. The analysis also argues that 600 50-liter barrels of heavy water discovered at the Esfahan plant were likely imported secretly and raise more doubts over the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program. ISIS also suggests the increased rate of LEU production despite a reduced number of active centrifuges indicates Iran’s P1 centrifuges may be operating more efficiently (ISIS).
     Iran’s IAEA ambassador Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh pointed out that the IAEA report confirmed Iran’s claims about the Fordow plant, highlighting the report’s remarks on the absence of centrifuges, consistency with provided design information, and Iran’s cooperation with inspectors (PressTV).


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