November 19, 2021 | Institute for Science and International Security

Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report – November 2021

November 19, 2021 | Institute for Science and International Security

Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report – November 2021

Excerpt

This report summarizes and assesses information in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) quarterly safeguards report for November 17, 2021, Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), including Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The IAEA’s latest report details Iran’s rapidly advancing nuclear activities and steps to limit IAEA monitoring, indicating the inspectors’ diminished ability to detect Iranian diversion of assets to undeclared facilities. At the same time, the IAEA has made no progress on resolving outstanding safeguards issues relating to the presence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. The latter is discussed in a separate quarterly IAEA safeguards report, NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued also on November 17 and analyzed separately by the Institute. In these reports, and during IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi’s public appearances, the IAEA Secretariat has sounded an alarm to the Board of Governors and to the international community.

Highlights and Breakout Estimate

  • Iran has enough enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) in the form of near 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium to produce enough weapon-grade uranium (WGU), taken here as 25 kilograms (kg), for a single nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. It could do so without using any of its stock of uranium enriched up to 5 percent as feedstock. The growth of Iran’s stocks of near 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium has dangerously reduced breakout timelines.
  • Iran could continue producing more weapon-grade uranium, using its substantial stock of uranium enriched between two and five percent. In just over two months after the commencement of breakout, Iran could have produced enough additional WGU for a second weapon. After about 3.5 months, it would have enough for a third weapon. The additional production of enough WGU for a fourth weapon would be slower, taking six months, reflecting the depletion of Iran’s pre-existing stocks of enriched uranium.

Andrea Stricker is a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Follow Andrea on Twitter @StrickerNonpro. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.

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Issues:

International Organizations Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear