The International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran was distributed to the IAEA Board of Governors on Friday, June 5, 2020. The report was in two parts. On Monday, June 8, 2020, the Iranian regime’s media translated and published the first part of the report. However, they remained silent about the second part and did not publish any news about the second part. This is while various analyses and reports were published in the world’s leading news agencies and media about the content of the second part of the report. The regime had adopted a similar policy regarding the Agency’s March 2020 report too, and the second part of the Agency’s report was not translated or published in any state-run media.
Tomorrow, Monday, June 15, 2020, the IAEA Board of Governors is scheduled to convene to review the latest report and to consider this issue and make a decision.
The cause of Iran regime’s fear
To understand why the regime is so terrified about the upcoming meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, let us take a quick look at the IAEA’s latest reports:
The June 5, or the first IAEA report, assesses Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). According to the report, Iran violated the JCPOA in at least five areas: increasing the stockpile of enriched uranium to 8 folds – increasing the stockpile of heavy water to 132 metric tons. The limit is 130 metric tons – increasing the enrichment of uranium from 3.67% to 4.5% – Enrichment activity on Fordow site – Operation in a new site and injecting gas to a new type of centrifuge.
The second part of the IAEA report is about the NPT agreement and the additional protocol. Part of the report titled “NPT safeguards agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran” reads:
As previously reported, as a result of its ongoing evaluations, the Agency identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations in Iran that had not been declared by Iran. In July and August 2019, the Agency requested responses to these questions from Iran, pursuant to Article 69 of the Safeguards Agreement and Article 4.d. of the Additional Protocol. The Agency provided Iran with detailed information upon which the Agency had made its requests.
Based on the Agency’s technical analysis, including evaluation of all safeguards-relevant information, the questions and requests for clarifications relate to the three locations indicated below as follows:
- The possible presence in Iran between 2002 and 2003, at a location later identified by the Agency to Iran, of natural uranium in the form of a metal disc, with indications of it undergoing drilling and hydriding, which may not have been included in Iran’s declarations; the origin of this disc; and where such material is currently located. As previously reported by the Agency, this location underwent extensive sanitization and levelling in 2003 and 2004. Consequently, the Agency has assessed that there would be no verification value in conducting a complementary access at this location.
- The possible use or storage of nuclear material and/or conducting of nuclear-related activities, including research and development activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle, at a location in Iran specified by the Agency. This location may have been used for the processing and conversion of uranium ore including fluorination in 2003. This location also underwent significant changes in 2004, including the demolition of most buildings; and
- The possible use and storage of nuclear material at another location specified by the Agency where outdoor, conventional explosive testing may have taken place in 2003, including in relation to testing of shielding in preparation for the use of neutron detectors. From July 2019 onwards, the Agency observed activities consistent with efforts to sanitize part of the location.
The summary section of the report, reads: “The Agency notes with serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied access to the Agency, under Article 4.b.(i) and Article 5.c. of the Additional Protocol, to two locations and, for almost a year, has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities in Iran. This is adversely affecting the Agency’s ability to clarify and resolve the questions and thereby to provide credible assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities at these locations in Iran.”
The regime’s fear of covert nuclear military activities
As was mentioned in the IAEA report, the agency has touched on three specific locations where covert nuclear activities were carried out, and all three locations were later destroyed by the regime. The IAEA possesses both the documents of the activities carried out and the documents of destroying these places, parts of which have been published in the recent report. According to hints in the IAEA report, the first place is the Lavizan-Shian site, located in the northeast of Tehran. The third place is the Abadeh site in the north of Abadeh city in Fars province.
But the question is why the regime is covering up this issue and what is the source of its fear. Iran’s regime is fearful because the biggest concession it received in the 2015 JCPOA agreement is in danger. The 2015 JCPOA agreement turned a blind eye to the possible military dimensions of the regime’s nuclear activities, but now with the new IAEA questions, the case is open again.
On May 15 and 16, 2003, in three separate press conferences in Washington, Paris, and Berlin, the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed the Lavizan-Shian site. Following these revelations, the Iranian regime cleared and destroyed the site in December 2003 by replacing the topsoil of the site down to 4 meters deep.
The aerial photos of Lavizan-Shian site before and after destruction:
In June 2004, the IAEA asked to inspect the site and raised many questions, but it took several years for the questions to be answered, and some remain unanswered. With the acquisition of new evidence on the uranium metal disk discussed in the report, the same site has been questioned again by the IAEA.
As a result, the case of the regime’s military nuclear activities has been raised again at the international level and will undoubtedly create a new and major crisis for the regime.