New problems in implementation of Iran's nuclear program: experts

New problems in implementation of Iran's nuclear program: experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 2 / Trend , T.Konyayeva /

Despite the news headlines that Iran has lowered the production on uranium enrichment, it is clear that the information does not corresponds with the situation, said a representative SIRPI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

"If to look at the IAEA's General Director report Iran has most definitely not only slowed down its enrichment program, but also Iran continues to install and operate centrifuges at the same rate as before that is about 3 to 5 cascades per month," said Shannon N. Kile, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Non-proliferation and Export Controls Project.

"What's happened is that between May and August of this year Iran has slightly fewered centrifuges that were actually enriching uranium. That is not quite the same thing as slowing down the program," he said

In his latest report, published on August 28, ElBaradei said the number of centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran has reached 8,308 (an increase of 1,000 centrifuges), but the number of operating centrifuges decreased by 400.

According to Kile, the main question is why has Iran slightly fewered cascades enriching uranium. "I suspect the answer is because some of the cascades, some of the centrifuges have been taken offline for repair and maintenance work," he said.

"There have been reports that Iran made it had serious accidents also. I don't know that's true," the expert said.

However, the Iranian nuclear expert believes that the most likely cause for a slowdown in the nuclear program is the reduction in the amount of source material ["yellow cake"].

"Different kinds of restrictions were imposed for the importation of raw material to Iran. For this reason, Iran is currently forced to reduce the rate of operation of the available equipment for its longer-term work," an Iranian political analyst Ahmad Shirzad told Trend by telephone from Tehran.

Western countries have repeatedly accused Iran that the main purpose of the deployment of its nuclear program is to create nuclear weapons. According to the recent IAEA report, Iran has not provided information refuting the connection of its nuclear development with military program.

Kile considers that Iran is not legally required to provide that information to the IAEA and its regulations. "And Director General ElBaradei says that repeatedly that the IAEA has no legal authority to compel Iran to answer these questions about its suspected undeclared nuclear activities," he said.

"The reason is there is no any reason to believe that Iran is using nuclear material for its experiments and nuclear material is the basis of the IAEA's safeguards inspection regime," SIRPI representative said.

It means that if there is none nuclear material in the place, then the IAEA doesn't have a legal authority to investigate what's happening. Thus, Iran is actually correct about that, Kile said.

However, according to him, from the political point of view many independent experts believe that there is a serious evidence Iran may have a secret and undeclared nuclear program that is related to nuclear weapon.

"I think Iran should reveal this information, it's in Iran's interests because people are very suspicious about whether Iran's program is entirely peaceful and natural as Iranians claim," he said.

On the eve of the statements by ElBaradei, Iran, after a year, gave an opportunity to the IAEA representatives to conduct an investigation at the Arak Heavy Water Production Plant.

This plant produces plutonium, which can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. Up to now, Iran has enriched 1508 kilograms uranium (4.5%). A higher level of enrichment of uranium, obtained as a result of this process of uranium, will be sufficient to produce two or three atomic bombs.  

To prevent the creation of nuclear weapons and suspend Iran's nuclear program, the Western countries do not exclude the possibility to make a decision on the application of energy sanctions against Iran at the summit of G20, which is scheduled for September 24-25 in Pittsburgh.

According to the expert from Sweden, the sanctions that are now being considered to be done to Iran, import refined petroleum products, for example gasoline, will not impact on its nuclear program.

"If there any changes in the nuclear problem is going to have to come because of internal political changes in Iran and right now it's very difficult to predict because after the presidential elections in June the Iranian elite is very split and divided," Kile said.

However, according to Iranian political analyst, the sanctions imposed on the energy sector will affect the development of technologies in this sector, whereas the previous sanctions against the banking system of Iran put pressure on the population and created tension in the country as a whole.

U.S. and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful nuclear program. The UN Security Council adopted five resolutions, three of which are resolutions imposing sanctions against Iran, requiring it to give up uranium enrichment, and two resolutions containing warnings. However, Tehran denies all accusations, saying that its nuclear program is aimed at covering country's electricity needs.

T.Jafarov contributed to the article.

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