March 4, 2022 | Institute for Science and International Security

Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report – March 2022

March 4, 2022 | Institute for Science and International Security

Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report – March 2022

Excerpt

This report summarizes and assesses information in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) quarterly safeguards report for March 3, 2022, 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 inspectors’ diminished ability to detect Iranian diversion of assets to undeclared facilities.

Highlights and Breakout Estimate

  • Due to the growth of Iran’s 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium stocks, breakout timelines have become dangerously short, far shorter than just a few months ago. Iran now has enough 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium (in the form of uranium hexafluoride (UF6)) to use as feed for production of enough weapon-grade uranium (WGU) (taken as 25 kilograms (kg) per weapon) for two nuclear weapons, producing the first quantity of WGU in as little as two to three weeks after breakout commences, including a set up period, and producing the second quantity by the end of that month.
  • In total, Iran has enough 60, 20, and 4.5 percent enriched uranium to make sufficient WGU for four nuclear weapons. The third quantity could be produced soon after the start of the second month after breakout commences, and the fourth in somewhat less than four months. The third and fourth quantities would depend on stocks of uranium enriched between 2 and 4.5 percent and would be produced significantly more slowly than the first two quantities of WGU.
  • In essence, Iran is effectively breaking out slowly by producing 60 percent enriched uranium and continuing to accumulate it. As of February 19, Iran had a stock of 33.2 kg of near 60 percent enriched uranium (in uranium mass or U mass), or 49.1 kg (in hexafluoride mass). If Iran accumulated about 40 kg of 60 percent enriched uranium (U mass), it would have enough to be able to further enrich it and quickly produce 25 kg of WGU (U mass) in just a few advanced centrifuge cascades.

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