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The August 2012 IAEA Report on Iran: An Initial Assessment
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Note: correction on Fordow centrifuge totals (3pm, Aug. 30)

By Tom Z. Collina and Daryl G. Kimball

The IAEA’s latest quarterly report on Iran, now in circulation, finds that Tehran has installed more machines for uranium enrichment in its Fordow underground facility, but has not started to use them. This means that Iran has not significantly increased its rate of enrichment at this facility since the IAEA's previous report from May.

Moreover, although Iran has enriched additional uranium to almost 20%--a level that could be more quickly turned into weapons material--Tehran has converted much of this material to reactor fuel. Thus Iran’s available stockpile of 20% enriched uranium (91 kg) is essentially unchanged from May.

Iran is still continuing enrichment at two sites and seeking to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Although, the August IAEA report is another troubling reminder of Iran's proliferation potential, it is not a “game-changer” in terms of Tehran’s capability to build a nuclear arsenal if it were to decide to do so.

As White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said August 24, “there is still time and space” for diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff. But it is also clear that new and more energetic diplomacy is needed to resolve the most urgent proliferation risks posed by Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Here is our brief summary of key takeaways from the new IAEA report:

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Posted: August 31, 2012