In a secret report, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that nuclear material was found at an undeclared site in Iran. The site wasn’t named, but experts believe the location was in the Turquzabad district — the same area Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged in a UN speech last year that Iran had a “secret atomic warehouse.”
Iran claimed the building housed a “carpet cleaning factory.”
The IAEA report said its inspectors had “detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency”.
“It is essential for Iran to continue interactions with the agency to resolve the matter as soon as possible,” the report added.
The report did not say where the particles were found, but three senior Israeli security and intelligence officials told a briefing last Thursday that inspectors had visited the site in Turquzabad earlier this year and taken environmental samples.
The Israeli officials claimed the tests showed that uranium had been stored at the site, but not in a form that could yet be used for a weapon. The BBC understands the uranium was not enriched.
During a speech at the UN in September 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu showed photos of a complex in Turquzabad, which he said was a “a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program”.
It’s likely that uranium was not stored at the site, that the “particles” were left behind when equipment was removed. But Netanyahu is correct in saying that the undeclared site was a clear violation of the nuclear agreement as well as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
Meanwhile, enrichment activities are resuming at Fordow in what appears to be a crash program. Russia says that “Iran is now producing at least 5.5 kilograms (12 pounds) of low-enriched uranium per day, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told journalists on Monday, as cited by AP. Previously Tehran had been producing a mere 450 grams (1 pound) each day.”
Even the timid EU is considering reimposing sanctions on Tehran.
“Iran must finally return to its commitments (under the 2015 accord),” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said before a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels.
“Otherwise we will reserve the right to use all mechanisms specified in the deal (for sanctions to be reimposed),” he said.
Not likely that anything will come of this threat. The Europeans weren’t going to lift a finger even if Iran built a nuclear weapon, so a mere violation of a nuclear agreement won’t matter.
Iran has been aggressively expanding its influence in the region, continuously tempting Israel and the international community to act on their defiance. The international community has been found wanting in standing up to Tehran and their nuclear diplomacy. Only the U.S. seems willing to confront a terrorist state looking to get its hands on weapons of mass destruction.
And the world is running out of time.