Friday, August 31, 2007

IAEA Report on Iran - Enrichment Programme 'Well Below Capacity'

Although you would barely know it from the reporting on the BBC. Although their report describes 'significant developments', it only gives a passing mention to the fact that the enrichment programme is well below capacity. According to the BBC:

The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has agreed to a plan aimed at clearing up questions about its controversial nuclear activities.

The IAEA says the development is "significant", but adds that for the plan to work, it is essential to get full and active co-operation from Iran.

It also says Iran is continuing its enrichment programme, but at a slower pace than before, despite UN sanctions.

Western powers fear Iran could try to make nuclear arms, which Tehran denies.

Notice the fact that the reduction in enrichment is secondary to the fact that they are enriching and that this is contrary to UN sanctions. Their actual capacity seems barely important to the BBC, who concentrate on the agreement between the IAEA and Iran. Compare this to the coverage in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper:

Iran's uranium enrichment program is operating well below capacity and is far from producing nuclear fuel in significant amounts, according to a confidential United Nations nuclear watchdog report.

A senior Iranian nuclear official said the
International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) report showed U.S. suspicions about Tehran's nuclear intentions were baseless.

Officials familiar with the report said the IAEA could open future inquiries into Iran's atomic activity if new suspicions arose, even after Tehran answers questions about the program under a transparency deal reached this month.

Western leaders suspect Iran wants to build atom bombs, not generate electricity, and were alarmed when Tehran said in April it had reached "industrial capacity" to enrich uranium.

But the IAEA report said Tehran remained far short of that threshold. Iran had just under 2,000 centrifuges divided into 12 cascades, or interlinked units, of 164 machines each refining uranium at its underground Natanz plant as of August 19, it said.

Not only does this undermine the case for war that is slowly being built up by the US, it also proves the extent to which the Iranian regime will over-exaggerate their capacity. Reports such as these are often overlooked as governments build the case for military action. It is clear that Iran is a long way from posing the threat that the Western powers allege, however, this does not mean that the propaganda campaign will cease. On the contrary, they will continue to present Iran as a country seeking nuclear armaments in attempt to threaten the world. This is, perhaps, the reason why Iran has requested that its understanding of the agreement with the IAEA be published on the IAEA website (which you can read here - pdf file).