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Report: Iran Still Faces Large Hurdles to Reach Final Nuclear Deal Report: Iran Still Faces Large Hurdles to Reach Final Nuclear Dea... Report: Iran Still Faces Large Hurdles to Reach Final Nuclear Deal Report: Iran Still Faces ...

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Defense

Report: Iran Still Faces Large Hurdles to Reach Final Nuclear Deal

The analysis comes as the interim agreement on the country’s nuclear program went into effect this week.

Negotiators announced an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program last year.(JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Jordain Carney
January 21, 2014

The Iranian government agreed to curb its uranium enrichment under the interim agreement that went into effect Monday, but that's a just small beginning to larger steps it would likely need to take as part of a long-term deal.

That's the assessment in the report from the Institute for Science and International Security released Monday. The ISIS based its conclusions on talks with senior U.S. officials.

According to the report, the Iranian government would likely have to make a number of modifications including:

 
  • Shifting the under-construction, heavy-water reactor in Arak to a light-water reactor. The reactor—which has been a source of tension between the Iranian government and Western officials—would enrich below 5 percent for isotope uranium 235. Uranium 235, if enriched enough, can be used in a weapon.

  • Not stockpiling enriched uranium beyond what is needed for a peaceful civilian program.

  • For at least 20 years, limiting its enrichment to one nuclear site and shutting down its current site at Fordow, or converting it to a "non-centrifuge-related site." Centrifuges are a key part of the uranium-enrichment process.

  • Centrifuges will be limited; and excess centrifuges will be removed from nuclear sites at Natanz and Fordow. The International Atomic Energy Agency will be responsible for monitoring the centrifuges.

  • For at least 20 years, caps should be placed on the amount of 20 percent low-enriched uranium oxide that Iran possesses. The material can easily be converted to hexafluoride, needed to create fuel for an atomic bomb.

Some of the provisions are measured on a 20-year timeline because, according to the report, that is the minimum amount of time the international community needs to feel confident in treating Iran like other non-nuclear countries that follow the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who leads ISIS, told The Wall Street Journalwhich was given exclusive access to the report—"Our requirements are a far cry from what Iran wants. The negotiations are going to be really tough. We don't see ourselves as sketching an extreme case, however."

The report comes as the IAEA announced Iran has agreed to an inspection schedule of its nuclear facilities, slowed construction on the Arak heavy-water reactor, and begun using centrifuges previously used to enrich uranium to 20 percent for 5-percent enriched uranium.

Officials have said talks at reaching a long-term deal on Iran's nuclear program could start next month.

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