Washington, Sept. 5 - The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will take place in Vienna Sept. 10-14. This closed meeting of the governing body of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog will focus on Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program.
Here are some key facts certain to be debated:
- IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano filed a 14-point document to the agency’s 35-member Board of Governors on Aug. 30. The day before, the IAEA established a special task force on Iran. The team will include experts from several fields to pool the Vienna-based watchdog's limited resources more efficiently.
- Negotiations between the IAEA and Iran to bring the Iranian program under international inspection and supervision have completely failed. International sanctions have also failed so far to rein in the Iranian program.
- Western nations are expected to ask to present a resolution to the IAEA board of governors to formally rebuke Tehran over its failure to cooperate with the agency's inquiry.
- The report made several key points about the Iranian program.
- Uranium Enrichment Continues Unabated: In the three months since the IAEA's last report, Iran has steadily added to its inventory of enriched uranium at all three of its declared centrifuge plants. Iran's total stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, including from the underground fortified Fordow plant, is now nearly 200 kilograms, about 50 kilograms more than three months ago. Iran's biggest enrichment plant, at Natanz, has now put out just under 7,000 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, compared to about 3,500 kilograms at the beginning of 2011 and 1,000 kilograms at the beginning of 2010.
- No Iranian Cooperation on Weapons Allegations: Last November, Amano published detailed evidence suggesting that, since the late 1980s, Iran had carried out nuclear weapons-related research and development activities. The new report spells out that Iran has persistently refused to comply with IAEA requests to address these allegations.
- Iran also developing plutonium plant: The U.N. Security Council has ordered Iran to suspend construction at Arak of a heavy-water reactor typically used to generate weapons-grade plutonium. Iran has continued to defy those resolutions.
- Explosives testing at Parchin: Iran continues to deny IAEA inspectors access to this plant 20 miles south of Tehran where they suspect nuclear simulation explosions have been tested, a strong indicator of weapons development. The IAEA has surveillance evidence that Iran is working hard to cover up traces of these tests.
According to an analysis by the Institute for International Science and Security, Iran has increased its production of 20 percent enriched uranium, bringing it close to weapons-grade while the number of installed centrifuges at the underground Fordow enrichment plant has doubled.
Iran has produced enough low-enriched uranium to build five nuclear devices if that material were further enriched to weapons grade.
The IAEA gave the following details for journalists covering the meeting:
Amano will open the meeting with an introductory statement which will be released to the public after delivery. He will then hold a press conference around lunch time on Sept. 10.