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Iran's Nuclear Capability

Researchers at the British-based International Institute for Strategic Studies say that Iran is intent on developing a nuclear weapons capability. The report says there are two co-located centrifuge enrichment facilities in Iran that may become capable in the next several years of producing enriched weapons-grade uranium. Both are in Natanz, located between Isfahan and Kashan in the central part of the country.

According to the Institute report, "If Iran threw caution to the wind and sought a nuclear weapon capability as quickly as possible without regard for international reaction, it might be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon by the end of this decade."

Under a 2004 agreement with representatives from Britain, France, and Germany, known as the European Union Three, or E-U-3, Iran said it would halt its uranium conversion and enrichment activities. In August, Iran breached that accord and rejected proposals to limit its nuclear program in exchange for economic and other incentives. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormick says that the U.S. supports the EU-3 effort:

"What we are going to be looking for in the weeks ahead is at the next I-A-E-A Board of Governors meeting, that the Board of Governors refer the issue of Iran to the Security Council. And I think we are in absolute lockstep with the EU-3 on this issue and we will continue to stay in close contact with them."

This month, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the I-A-E-A, confirmed that Iran has resumed uranium conversion, in breach of its Paris Agreement commitments and in defiance of the I-A-E-A Board’s resolutions.

On September 19th, the members of the Agency's board will meet to consider next steps. The United States and the E-U members of the I-A-E-A Board of Governors believe that the board should agree at that meeting to report Iran’s safeguards noncompliance to the U-N Security Council.

Greg Schultze, the U.S. representative to the I-A-E-A, says the Iranian leadership is determined "to develop a nuclear weapons capability." Such a goal, says Mr. Schultze, "poses a threat to international peace and security."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.