250 Kilograms of 20% Enriched Uranium for…RESEARCH?

With the publication of the latest IAEA report one fact has been made painfully clear- Iran had stockpiled enough Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) in order to assemble one nuclear bomb. In fact, the November IAEA report points towards a large increase in centrifuges and in 20% HEU production since the underground nuclear plant at Fordow became operational. 

Ice-Bomb 20% HEU can be used for two purposes: further enrichment to Atomic bomb pay-load material (90% EU) or…research. Since Iran repeatedly denies any military aspect to its nuclear program (it is, they say, a “sin”), Tehran’s explanation for this stockpile is quite simply “research”. And yet, when asked as to the nature of this research, Tehran has been evasive and up until now, no details were shared. Tehran’s refusal to be transparent on the 20% HEU, has led it to be isolated and sanctioned as well as threatened to be attacked. More reports, more summits, more threats, more tensions, more sanctions and still, Iran keeps on stockpiling 20% HEU for “research” purposes. One thing is certain: this research, if it does exist, must be terribly important to be worth the pressure Tehran is going through to keep on stockpiling. Indeed, what type of research is so important that a country is willing to sustain such economic sanctions in order to undertake? Let’s assume that Iran is actually carrying out research with 20% HEU. If the research is in the field of peaceful use of nuclear material, why not share this research with other nuclear countries? And If the research is humanitarian (eg: a cure for cancer), why not collaborate with other nuclear capable countries who already have much experience in nuclear research? What kind of peaceful research is important enough to stand up against the UN and yet so secretive that it cannot be shared? What makes this research so special that Iran is willing to go to war for? There are many reasons to believe that Iran’s nuclear program is in fact military-aligned. These reasons can be found in the latest IAEA report: multiple nuclear sites, a nuclear clean-up at the Parchin military site and centrifuges and 20% EU stockpiles in excess of the needed amounts for a peaceful program. The stockpiling of the 20% HEU is the most dangerous of all and the most bewildering if we are to accept Tehran’s explanations of “research”. If Tehran were to share some proof that “research” is the sole purpose of 20% HEU enrichment, then the world will surely lift the sanctions. Why put the Iranian economy, and by proxy the Iranian citizens through such sanctions if Iran seeks nuclear capabilities solely for research purposes? Really, it is that simple.

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2 thoughts on “250 Kilograms of 20% Enriched Uranium for…RESEARCH?

  1. You can’t possibly be this transparent… The 20% enrichment is for fuel rods to use in the Tehran ‘RESEARCH’ reactor. This has never been a ‘secret’.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/15/us-iran-nuclear-rods-idUSTRE81E0EZ20120215

    Plus, you seem to be pretty oblivious that without this refuelling of the Tehran reactor, radiation treatment of cancer patients in Iran would all but stop… Might be time to wake up: sanctions are explicitly designed to harm and eventually kill civilians.

    • Hi Jeannie,

      Thank you for your input.
      I find it hard to believe that all nuclear negotiations were brought to a stand-still (10 fruitless meetings in 2012 alone) for about 10 years because the IAEA and the P5+1 would not allow for the treatment of cancer. I find it even harder to believe that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would go through such lengths to try to protect this “research” at the expense of the Iranian economy. I believe that the voters who brought in Rouhani would also find this hard to believe.
      Tehran’s strategy over its nuclear program is far from transparent – the case of the Parchin base being closed to IAEA inspectors while satellites show a thorough wash-up is the obvious cover up but it is not the only one.
      i suggest you read through the latest IAEA reports but i will provide you with a few relevant quotes:
      “Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities in the declared facilities referred to below.”
      Iran has produced to date “324 Kg of UF6 enriched to 20%” – much much more than necessary for research or cancer treatment.
      “Iran has not provided a substantive response…for design information…(for) the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities”.
      “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects….(and) has not provided access…since…17 August 2011”.
      “The Agency has reiterated during each round of talks with Iran its request for access to the location at the Parchin site, but Iran has not acceded to that request.”
      have no illusions: this is not about research or cancer – this is about the ambitions of Tehran to reach break-out point.
      blaming the west on the sanctions is as childish as blaming a parent for disciplining a child and no, they are not meant to kill civilians, they were meant to get to apoint where a more moderate president might lead his country back to normalization…

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