ISIS Iran Reports


The following reports address specific issues in Iran's nuclear programs, whether imagery analysis of ongoing work at a nuclear site such as Natanz, our assessment of the latest IAEA report on Iran’s implementation of its safeguards obligations, or a summary of where the various U.S. Presidential candidates stand on the issues.


December 17, 2014: Case Study: Iranian Illicit Financing for Quds Force’s Overseas Purchases

A case study on Iran’s Quds Force transfers of money to Chinese banks to illicitly finance purchases

December 16, 2014: Update on IR-5 Centrifuge Issue: Taking Stock

In the debate over the IR-5 centrifuge feeding by Iran, it is clear the Joint Plan of Action did not allow it.

December 12, 2014: Stopping Iran’s Illicit Nuclear Procurement

Any long term agreement with Iran must ensure that illicit nuclear procurement is both prohibited and prevented.

December 8, 2014: Iran’s Stock of near 20 Percent LEU under the Extension of the Joint Plan of Action

Despite the fact that Iran no longer has a stock of near 20 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) in hexafluoride form, it retains a significant portion of this material in the form of oxide.

December 3, 2014: Testimony of David Albright before Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hearing: Dismantling Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Next Steps To Achieve A Comprehensive Deal, Video here

November 25, 2014: Update on Iran’s Stock of Less than Five Percent Low Enriched Uranium

Status of Iran’s commitment to convert newly produced 3.5 percent LEU to oxide form.

November 24, 2014: Analysis of Status of Iran’s Compliance with the Joint Plan of Action

ISIS’s analysis of the IAEA’s monthly report on the status of Iran’s commitment under the interim agreement of the Joint Plan of Action.

November 20, 2014: Provisions to Limit Future Iranian Illicit Procurements for Its Nuclear Programs

David Albright and Olli Heinonen discuss the need for an architecture to prevent future illicit nuclear procurements by Iran.

November 20, 2014: A Note on Iran’s IR-5 Centrifuge Feeding

Controversy over Iran’s feeding of an IR-5 centrifuge

November 18, 2014: Testimony of David Albright before House Subcommittee

ISIS President David Albright testified today before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.  The hearing was titled “Iranian Nuclear Talks: Negotiating a Bad Deal?”

November 18, 2014: Revisiting Iran’s Stock of Near 20 Percent LEU

The IAEA has confirmed that Iran no longer has a stock of near 20 percent LEU in hexafluoride form. However, Iran retains a large near 20 percent LEU stock in oxide form.

November 18, 2014: Evaluating Iran’s Stock of Less than Five Percent Low Enriched Uranium

Iran’s stock of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride has increased during the last few months. To meet its obligations under the interim deal of the JPA, Iran needs to convert about 500 kilograms of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride to oxide form prior to November 24, 2014.

November 17, 2014: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS analysis of the November 2014 IAEA Iran safeguards report, corrected November 17, 2014

November 6, 2014: Covering all the Iran Nuclear Breakout Paths in the P5+1 Negotiations

Ensuring a long term agreement covers all potential Nuclear Breakout Paths.

November 5, 2014: A New Approach to Resolve Military Aspects of Iran’s Nuclear Program

David Albright and Olli Heinonen outline a new approach to resolve the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program

October 21, 2014: Update on the Site of the Alleged Explosion at the Parchin Military Complex

New analysis and imagery of the alleged explosion at Parchin.

October 8, 2014: Finding the Site of the Alleged Explosion at the Parchin Military Complex

Imagery showing the possible site of the alleged explosion at Parchin

September 24, 2014: Technical Note: Making Sense out of the IR-8 Centrifuge

Iranian nuclear officials recently announced that centrifuge experts were developing the IR-8 centrifuge, a machine they claimed was 16 times more capable than the current generation IR-1 centrifuge.

September 23, 2014: Technical Note: Making Sense out of Iran’s Offers to Cut its SWUs

This week in New York, Iranian officials may talk again about reducing the annual SWUs of the installed centrifuges. Any such Iranian offer that does not explicitly state that centrifuge numbers will be reduced should be treated with skepticism.

September 22, 2014: Compendium of ISIS’s Reports and Recommendations on the P5+1/Iran Long-Term Deal Negotiations

This compendium of ISIS findings provides information and insight into the on-going negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive solution between Iran and the P5+1.

September 10, 2014: ISIS Reports June - September 5, 2014: Iran

Over the summer, ISIS closely monitored the ongoing P5+1 negotiations with Iran and published a series of reports analyzing the technical aspects of these negotiations with a view to ensuring that any comprehensive deal eventually reached is a sound one.

September 10, 2014: Iran Admits Illegally Acquiring Goods for its Nuclear Programs

As negotiations are resuming on a comprehensive nuclear agreement under the Joint Plan of Action, Iran’s on-going illicit nuclear and missile procurements complicate the achievement of that agreement.

September 9, 2014: Advisory: United States Enforces Existing Sanctions against Key Iranian Company

Company Tied to Attempted Ring Magnet and Carbon Fiber Procurements, Confirming Earlier ISIS Report

September 5, 2014: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS analysis of the September 5, 2014 IAEA report on the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in Iran.

September 3, 2014: Update on Parchin: A Necessary Piece of a Comprehensive Nuclear Deal

Addressing the IAEA’s concerns about activities at Parchin and other allegations about the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program is fundamental to Iran satisfying its safeguards obligations and a prerequisite to achieving a long-term agreement under the Joint Plan of Action between the P5+1 and Iran.

August 29, 2014: Centrifuge Research and Development Limitations in Iran

Iran’s centrifuge research and development (R&D) program poses several risks to the verifiability of a comprehensive solution under the Joint Plan of Action.

August 1, 2014: Time is Short for Iran to Address IAEA’s Nuclear Weapon Concerns

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reportedly expressed concerns that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not address by a late August deadline two key outstanding issues concerning allegations of Iran’s past and possibly ongoing work on nuclear weapons, or the so- called “possible military dimensions” (PMD) to its nuclear program.

July 31, 2014: Iran’s Near 20 Percent Stock: Status and Need to Reduce Size

Iran’s oxide stock of near 20 percent LEU is large; in fact, it is sufficiently large that if it were reconverted into hexafluoride form, it could produce, if further enriched, enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon.

July 22, 2014: “The Six’s” Guiding Principles in Negotiating with Iran

The recent negotiations in Vienna have shown that the principles driving the positions of the “The Six”—the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia—differ markedly from those of Iran.

June 17, 2014: Iranian Breakout Study Drastically Overestimates Time to Nuclear Weapon

Iranian breakout study is methodologically flawed in many important ways.

June 12, 2014: Comments on the Princeton Group’s Proposal on Iran

A large Iranian enrichment program should not be the goal of a long-term agreement with the P5+1.

June 3, 2014: Five Compromises to Avoid in a Comprehensive Agreement with Iran

Five commonly discussed proposals are flawed. They should not be part of a long term agreement with Iran.

May 27, 2014: Spin, Spin, Spin

Did Iran resolve the IAEA’s concern about its past work on EBWs? The answer has to be no or probably not.

May 23, 2014: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS’s analysis of the IAEA Iran safeguards report from May 23, 2014

May 15, 2014: Making Iran Come Clean About Its Nukes

What is the point of striking an agreement with Iran if Tehran will be able to hide its weapons work?

Read the op-ed by David Albright and Bruno Tertrais on the Wall Street Journal website.

May 13, 2014: Parchin: Resolution Urgent

Prospects of a Comprehensive Solution dim if Iran remains intransigent on Parchin.

February 25, 2014: Changes Visible at Parchin Nuclear Site

Recent commercial satellite imagery shows that new activity is taking place at the site.

February 21, 2014: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS’s analysis of the Iatest IAEA safeguards report on Iran

February 17, 2014: Maintaining at Least a Six-Month Breakout Timeline in Iran

The need to permanently reduce Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched LEU

February 12, 2014: Exploding Bridge Wire Issue: A Crack in the Door?

Iran has pledged to answer the IAEA’s questions about its past work on Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators.  Iran must admit any past work on nuclear weapons associated with this technology.

February 10, 2014: Testimony before SFRC on Iran nuclear negotiations

Testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iran nuclear negotiations.

January 27, 2014: Iran’s Centrifuge Research and Development Program

The interim steps under the Joint Plan of Action are not expected to seriously affect Iran’s centrifuge research and development program. 

January 20, 2014: Defining Iranian Nuclear Programs in a Comprehensive Solution under the Joint Plan of Action

The necessary provisions of a comprehensive agreement with Iran.

January 13, 2014: Update on Fordow Centrifuge Site: Future Uncertain

Recent satellite imagery of one of Iran’s most contentious nuclear sites: the Fordow enrichment plant.

November 14, 2013: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS’s analysis of the November 14, 2013 IAEA Iran safeguards report

November 5, 2013: Determining the Irreducible Elements of an Interim Agreement with Iran:  A Freeze Plus

A list of irreducible elements that should be goal achievements of a negotiated interim agreement.

November 4, 2013: Getting to the Core: United States Charges Iranian with Missile Export Violations

US sting operation leads to arrest of an Iranian agent attempting to procure anti-aircraft missile systems.

October 24, 2013: Iranian Breakout Estimates - Summary

A summary of the detailed technical study exploring Iranian nuclear breakout of capabilities.

October 24, 2013: Iranian Breakout Estimates, Updated September 2013

Detailed technical analysis of time frames and possible methods of Iranian nuclear breakout scenarios.

September 19, 2013: An Appeal to Iran

While the Iranian government claims it does not intend to develop nuclear weapons, to solve the nuclear issue it should make transparent all past activities related to nuclear weapons development.

September 13, 2013: Misleading Statement by Salehi on 20 Percent Low Enriched Uranium Conversion

The reality behind Iranian claims of the extent of 20% enriched uranium conversion efforts.

August 28, 2013: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

Detailed analysis of the information released in the latest IAEA safeguards report on Iran released on August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013: Quick Reaction to IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran

A short analysis of the information in the latest IAEA safeguards report on Iran’s nuclear program. More detailed analysis to follow later in the day.

August 22, 2013: Update on the Parchin Site

Analysis of recent satellite imagery of the Parchin site and an overview of major alterations made to the site since a February 2012 IAEA request for access.

July 31, 2013: Modeling Iran’s Tandem Cascade Configuration for Uranium Enrichment by Gas Centrifuge

A technical analysis of Iranian centrifuge cascaded organization and output capabilities and limitations.

July 30, 2013: Critical Capability

Priority is limiting the number and type of centrifuges at Natanz, Fordow, and any other centrifuge site Iran may now be constructing.

July 29, 2013: Lashkar Ab’ad:  Iran’s Unexplained Laser Enrichment Capabilities

The report takes a closer look at potential Iranian laser enrichment capabilities and facilities.

July 17, 2013: Iran’s Critical Capability in 2014Verifiably Stopping Iran from Increasing the Number and Quality of its Centrifuges

Iran is expected to achieve a critical capability in mid-2014, which is defined as the technical capability to produce sufficient weapon-grade uranium from its safeguarded stocks of low enriched uranium for a nuclear explosive.

July 15, 2013: Update on the Arak Reactor

Iran’s IR-40 Arak heavy water reactor is nearing operational status while concerns mount about its plutonium production capability.

June 19, 2013: Can Rouhani Deliver a Nuclear Deal? Can he be Trusted?

A look at past and present statements by the Iranian president elect and how his new administration might handle a deal over a the Iranian nuclear program.

May 22, 2013: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report of May 22, 2013

ISIS analysis of the latest IAEA safeguards report detailing increases in installed centrifuges, fuel tests for the IR40 heavy water reactor and further changes to the suspect Parchin site.

May 22, 2013: Iran Laying Asphalt at the Suspect Parchin Site

According to the IAEA’s report, “Iran has conducted further spreading, levelling and compacting of material over most of the site, a significant proportion of which it has also asphalted.”

April 17, 2013: Iran’s Nuclear History from the 1950s to 2005

A historical account of the Iranian nuclear program from its birth in the 1950s to its controversial discovery and questions about its purpose in the mid 2000s. 

March 7, 2013: Preventing the Suppression of Uncomfortable Truths on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Addressing misconceived criticisms regarding Iranian procurements of goods related to its nuclear program.

February 28, 2013: Basic Attack Strategy of Stuxnet 0.5

The report analyzes new findings on the early attack procedure of the Stuxnet virus that infected the Iranian enrichment plant in Natanz.

February 21, 2013: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS analysis of the IAEA safeguards report on Iran from February 21, 2013.

February 13, 2013: Ring Magnets for IR-1 Centrifuges

Following Iranian efforts to illicitly procure ring magnets for 50000 centrifuges through Chinese companies.

January 30, 2013: Day after Alleged Sabotage at Fordow: Hardly the Expected Emergency Response

Satellite imagery from the day following the alleged underground explosion at the Fordow fuel enrichment site shows not exterior signs of damage and no significant emergency or clean up activity.

January 25, 2013: Taking Stock and Moving Forward on the Issue of the Parchin High Explosives Test Site

In satellite imagery from January 17, 2013 several activities at the site appear to be almost complete while there is also evidence of new construction work

January 16, 2013: Steering Iran Away from Building Nuclear Weapons

Methods from the past may stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons today and in the future and avoiding war.

January 14, 2013: U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East

A major study and recommendations on the policy towards Iran’s nuclear program and wider Middle East nonproliferation issues. The report is co-authored by David Albright,, Mark Dubowitz, Orde Kittrie, Leonard Spector and Michael Yaffe.

December 19, 2012: The AP Graphs: A Preliminary Discussion

A closer look at the errors and implications of the alleged nuclear explosion yield graph published by the Associated Press

December 12, 2012: Update on Ongoing Construction at the Parchin High Explosive Test Site

Latest satellite imagery shows construction work continuing with pace at the Parchin test site in Iran.

November 29, 2012: Significant Changes Made to Parchin High Explosives Test Site, Further Activity Likely

Significant Changes Made to Parchin High Explosives Test Site, Further Activity Likely

November 16, 2012: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report

ISIS analysis of the figures of enriched uranium, deployed centrifuges, future production capabilities and major developments reported in the IAEA Safeguards report from November 16, 2012.

October 25, 2012: Discouraging Any Iranian Decision to Produce Highly Enriched Uranium

A look into the potential consequences of the Iranian hints that it might produce uranium enriched up to 60% which would qualify as HEU.

October 17, 2012: Parchin High Explosives Test Site Activity Still Ongoing

The tarps previously covering the two major buildings at the Parchin high explosive test site seem to be in the process of being removed.

October 9, 2012: Iran’s Evolving Breakout Potential

A major study by ISIS on Iran’s potential breakout scenarios and timelines if a decision to build nuclear weapons is made.

September 17, 2012: Revisiting Danilenko and the Explosive Chamber at Parchin: A Review Based on Open Sources

A detailed look into how and where Danilenko could have contributed to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons efforts.

September 17, 2012: Revisiting Vyacheslav Danilenko: His Origins in the Soviet Nuclear Weapons Complex

A comprehensive look at the technical knowledge and background of Soviet scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko whose work and expertise might have been put to use in Iranian nuclear weaponization efforts.

September 11, 2012: Time for Action on Iran at IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

The IAEA board should pass a resolution condemning Iran’s refusal to allow an inspection at Parchin and its stonewalling on achieving an umbrella agreement. 

August 30, 2012: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report from August 30, 2012

Iran’s Refusal for Access to Parchin Hindering Effective Verification; Little Hope for Structured Agreement to Resolve Issues on Iran’s Past and Possibly On-Going Military Activities; Rate of 20% LEU Production Increases but the Number of Cascades Producing the Material Remains Constant; Number of Installed Centrifuges at Fordow Doubles; Production of 3.5% Enriched Uranium Increases Slightly; Advanced Centrifuge Program Still Troubled and Makes No Visible Progress.

August 15, 2012: British Bank Accused of Doing Massive Illegal Iran Business: Settles with New York Authorities

Standard Chartered settles for $340 million in the case of its illicit dealings with Iran worth close to $250 billion.

August 12, 2012: Major U.S. Sting Operation Arrests Iranian in Nuclear Smuggling Network

The US Justice Department indicted an Iranian and a Chinese national in yet another case illegal procurement of dual use items for the Iranian nuclear program.

August 1, 2012: Cleanup Activity at Suspected Parchin Test Site Appears Complete: Site Considerably Altered

Satellite imagery from July 25, 2012 suggests that suspected cleanup activity at the Parchin high explosive site is now complete. No prospect yet of IAEA access to the site.

June 20, 2012: Suspected Clean-Up Activity Continues at Parchin Military Complex:Considerable Dirt Movement Near Suspect Building

Satellite imagery shows what appears to be further clean-up activity a the Parchin high explosives test site where the IAEA suspects Iran may have conducted nuclear weapons related tests.

June 15, 2012: Iranian Production of 19.75 Percent Enriched Uranium:  Beyond Its Realistic Needs

Iran’s growing stock of 19.75 percent enriched uranium is an increasing source of unease as it further reduces breakout timeframes.

May 30, 2012: Further Activity at Suspected Parchin Explosive Testing Complex:  Two Small Buildings Razed

Satellite imagery shows what appears to be further cleanup efforts at the Parchin high explosive test site

May 8, 2012: New Satellite Image Shows Activity at Parchin Site in Iran

Satellite imagery shows activity at the building identified by the IAEA as a potential military nuclear site.

April 25, 2012: Case of Three Tinners Set for Trial: Plea Deal Expected

The long drawn out case of the Tinners and their controversial role in supporting and bringing down the Khan smuggling network is coming to a close.

April 20, 2012: Internal IAEA information links the Supreme Leader to 1984 decision to seek a nuclear arsenal

Internal IAEA information casts doubt on the Iranian Supreme Leader’s claims regarding the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

April 10, 2012: A Freeze Today, Not in the Future, to Iran’s 20 Percent Enrichment

A critical look at the Iranian arguments for 20% enriched uranium production in view of the needs of the Tehran research reactor and a new, more powerful one planned but not yet announced.

April 10, 2012: Early Satellite Image Shows Foundation for High Explosive Test Chamber at Parchin Site in Iran:What was the chamber for?

A March 2000 satellite image of the Parchin site shows the foundation for the test chamber.

April 9, 2012: U.S. Intelligence Estimates and the Iranian Nuclear Program

Recent media reporting about the U.S. intelligence findings on Iran’s nuclear weaponization program has focused on the relatively narrow technical question of whether the Iranian regime has made the decision to restart an effort to actually build nuclear weapons. The recent reporting shows that the U.S. intelligence community assesses that this decision on restart has not yet been made.  However, this reporting does not address the broader question of whether Iran decided many years ago to seek nuclear weapons and put in place specific nuclear capabilities to allow it to do so expeditiously.

March 19, 2012: Department 70 and the Physics Research Center: Extensive Interest in Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technologies

The activities of Department 70 are in stark contrast to Iran’s declarations. Iran needs to reopen its discussions with the IAEA about procurements related to the PHRC and its activities.

March 5, 2012: Preventing Iran From Getting Nuclear Weapons:Constraining Its Future Options

USIP commissioned ISIS report on the possible futures of the Iranian nuclear program and ways to stop it before Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.

February 24, 2012: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Safeguards Report from February 24, 2012

Production of 20% Enriched Uranium Triples; Iran Increases Number of Enriching Centrifuges at Natanz FEP by Nearly 50% and Signals an Intention to Greatly Expand the Number of Centrifuges at Both Natanz and Fordow; Advanced Centrifuge Program Appears Troubled.

February 23, 2012: The Physics Research Center and Iran’s Parallel Military Nuclear Program

Did Iran have a military nuclear program parallel to the civilian program managed by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran?

February 23, 2012: PHRC telex appendix

Content of telex exchanges between western companies and Iranian organizations attempting to procure materials for a possible parallel military nuclear program.

January 20, 2012: No Obama Letter to Iran?

January 18, 2012: Reality Check: Shorter and Shorter Timeframe if Iran Decides to Make Nuclear Weapons

As Iran continues to enrich and increase its stockpile of uranium, the amount of time required to build a nuclear device - if the political decision were to be made - becomes shorter and shorter.

December 8, 2011: No Visible Evidence of Explosion at Esfahan Nuclear Site; Adjacent Facility Razed

Satellite imagery analysis of the Esfahan nuclear site in Iran following reports of an explosion in the area that might have affected the complex.

November 29, 2011: Vyacheslav Danilenko – Background, Research, and Proliferation Concerns

A detailed look at the man allegedly behind Iran’s work on the weaponization of nuclear material.

November 28, 2011: Satellite Image Showing Damage from November 12, 2011 Blast at Military Base in Iran

Satellite imagery of the blast at the Iranian military base.

November 18, 2011: Iran’s Ridiculous Distraction

November 14, 2011: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part II-- Iran’s Work and Foreign Assistance on a Multipoint Initiation System for a Nuclear Weapon

A detailed look into the question of Iranian weaponization efforts mentioned by the IAEA safeguards report of November 8, 2011.

November 8, 2011: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1

IAEA Details Evidence of Nuclear Weaponization Activities in Violation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty; Enrichment at Natanz Continues to Stagnate; Three Cascades of IR-1 Centrifuges Installed at Fordow, Low Enriched Uranium Cylinder Moved to Fordow

November 4, 2011: Iran Nuclear Issue – Considerations for a Negotiated Outcome

John Carlson, former Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, has written a paper highlighting the key considerations for a negotiated outcome regarding the Iranian nuclear issue.

October 27, 2011: Debunking Gregory Jones Again

October 18, 2011: Performance of the IR-1 Centrifuge at Natanz

During the past year, the performance of the IR-1 centrifuges at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) has faltered. Although the average monthly production of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) has increased to about 150 kg/month, the number of centrifuges needed to produce this LEU has increased disproportionately compared to the previous year.

October 18, 2011: Iran’s Advanced Centrifuges

An examination of Iran’s advanced gas centrifuge machines and how sanctions have impacted Iran’s ability to procure the needed materials to manufacture them.

October 11, 2011: New Satellite Imagery of Iranian Nuclear Sites on Google Earth

Over the last several months, Google Earth has posted updated commercial satellite imagery over Iran which includes several nuclear sites including the Arak heavy water reactor and heavy water production site, the Ardakan yellowcake production plant and the Gchine uranium mine and mill.

July 6, 2010: Man Suspected of Illicit Nuclear Trade to Iran Found Guilty

An update and supplemental documents on the case of Canadian-Iranian Mahmoud Yadegari convicted of violating several export control laws.

May 17, 2010: Iran’s Proposed LEU deal:  Skeptical but Awaiting Clarification

A look at the LEU swap deal proposed by Iran, Brazil and Turkey.

May 17, 2010: A deal for the LEU?

May 12, 2010: U.S. Extradition Request Denied in France for Alleged Iranian Military Parts Smuggler

On May 7, 2010, a French appeals court denied the U.S. extradition request based on a testimony by the French DGA (Direction générale de l’armement) claiming that the items in question could not have military purposes.

April 13, 2010: Iran’s new centrifuge:  What do we know about it?

A closer look at the new centrifuge that Iran unveiled on its nuclear day.

March 31, 2010: Defected Iranian Nuclear Scientist Reportedly Worked Across from Secret Nuclear Weapons R&D Facility

Imagery showing university where scientist worked is across the street from FEDAT.

March 3, 2010: Supplement to Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Taking Stock

Supplement to a February 11, 2010 ISIS report on the Iranian centrifuge enrichment program. The new version has been updated with details and analysis based on the latest IAEA safeguards report.

February 9, 2010: Iran’s enrichment for the Tehran Research Reactor:  Update

Further details on Iranian attempts to enrich 19.75% LEU for fuel fabrication for the Tehran research reactor.

February 8, 2010: Iran’s recent statements about production of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor:  A quick review

A review of the Iranian statements regarding the intention to produce 19.75% enriched LEU to fuel the Tehran research reactor and to build ten new enrichment facilities.

January 5, 2010: Questions and Answers regarding Iranian document:“Outlook for special neutron-related activities over the next 4 years”

ISIS takes a detailed look at the Iranian neutron initiator documents first revealed by the Times in December 2009

December 30, 2009: Iran’s Uranium Stockpile Dwindling

ISIS takes a new look at Iran’s uranium supply In view of an AP report regarding Iranian efforts to procure uranium ore from Kazakhstan.

December 15, 2009: The Trials of the German-Iranian Trader Mohsen Vanaki (Updated for Dec. 15th)

Further details on the case of Mohsen Vanaki, a trader accused of illicitly procuring materials for Iran’s nuclear program.

December 14, 2009: Documents Assessing the Organizational Structure of FEDAT

A look at the structure of FEDAT which, according to The Times’ source, is in charge of Iran’s “Clandestine Nuclear Sector”.

December 14, 2009: New Document Reopens Question on Whether Iran’s Nuclear Weaponization Work Continued Past 2003

New evidence regarding Iranian studies on a neutron initiator revive the discussion of Iranian weaponization efforts and the possibility that these might have continued beyond 2003.

December 14, 2009: Farsi and English Versions of Document on Neutron Initiator

The original Farsi and English documents regarding Iranian research on a neutron initiator provided by the Times of London.

November 30, 2009: Critique of Recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article on the Fordow Enrichment Plant

A review of the technical information provided in a recent BAS article on the Fordow enrichment plant.

November 16, 2009: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Report from November 16, 2009

ISIS analysis of the latest information available in the November 16, 2009 IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran.

November 5, 2009: Satellite Imagery Narrows Qom Enrichment Facility Construction Start Date

Satellite imagery analysis suggests that the Qom uranium enrichment facility construction begun sometime after January 2006.

October 23, 2009: Update: The Trials of the German-Iranian Trader Mohsen Vanaki:The German Federal Intelligence Service Assesses that Iran Likely Has a Nuclear Weapons Program

An update of the September 16, 2009 ISIS report with further details on the Vananki case.

October 21, 2009: IAEA DG on deal with Iran

October 7, 2009: Technical Note: Annual Future Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel Requirements for the Tehran Research Reactor

An estimate of the LEU usage by the Tehran Research Reactor in the context of the LEU supplied by Argentina to Iran within the period spanning from 1967 to 1993.

October 7, 2009: Timeline 1967-1993: Argentine Low-Enriched Uranium at the Tehran Research Reactor

A timeline of the Argentinian supply of LEU for the Tehran Research Reactor between 1967-1993.

October 2, 2009: Excerpts from Internal IAEA Document on Alleged Iranian Nuclear Weaponization

The report looks into the IAEA’s internal process of evaluating information regarding the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

September 29, 2009: Qom Uranium Enrichment Site May Have Been Re-purposed Tunnel Facility

Satellite imagery analysis seems to suggest that the recently disclosed Qom enrichment facility might have actually been re-purposed tunnel complex. 

September 25, 2009: ISIS Imagery Brief of Two Possible Sites of the Qom Enrichment Facility

A set of before and after commercial satellite images of two sites fitting the descriptions given of the recently disclosed Qom uranium enrichment plant in Iran. 

September 22, 2009: What is Venezuela Up To? Chavez’s Latest Efforts to Purchase Nuclear Technology Cause for Concern

Venezuela has announced plans for nuclear cooperation with Russia that might involve the construction of a research and a power reactor. Combined with the strengthening ties between Caracas and Tehran that would reportedly extend to the nuclear realm and to the supply of refined petroleum to Iran in direct contravention of the threat of U.S. supported U.N. sanctions, Venezuela risks becoming a major source of concern both in terms of dealing with Iran as well as non-proliferation in general. 

September 16, 2009: The Trials of the German-Iranian Trader Mohsen Vanaki:The German Federal Intelligence Service assesses that Iran likely has a nuclear weapons program

In November 2007, German authorities arrested German-Iranian Mohsen Vanaki under suspicions that he illegally brokered the transfer of dual-use equipment to Iran with applications in a nuclear weapons program. This case provides rare, illuminating insight into a disagreement among intelligence agencies about the complex judgments concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

September 11, 2009: Iran proposal to EU

September 1, 2009: Natanz Enrichment Plant: How to Measure Progress

The report clarifies misinterpretations based on the August 2009 IAEA report which indicated that the number on enriching centrifuges in Natanz had decreased, but which did not necessarily imply that the overall program had slowed down.

August 28, 2009: ISIS Analysis of August 2009 IAEA Iran Report

Centrifuges increase; Rate of LEU production steady; progress on inspection requests at Arak and Natanz; no progress on possible military dimensions.

ISIS has released its analysis of the August 2009 IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran’s nuclear program.

August 25, 2009: Update on the Arak Heavy Water Reactor in Iran

On August 11, 2009, ISIS released a report on Iran’s IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak, which is currently under construction.  The report raised several questions regarding the reactor’s planned fuel and the status of its construction.  Since the release of that report, ISIS has received additional information on these issues, shedding more light on the origin of the Arak reactor fuel rod bundle depicted in President Ahmadinejad’s visit to the Fuel Manufacturing Plant at Esfahan.

August 12, 2009: INR’s Flawed Assumptions?

August 11, 2009: Mysteries Deepen Over Status of Arak Reactor Project

Iran’s IR-40, or Arak, heavy water reactor, which has been under construction since June 2004, has not received as much attention as its gas centrifuge program and its operation and potential to produce significant amounts of weapons-grade plutonium are years away, although this timeline is narrowing.
In addition to increasing questions about the status of the reactor’s construction and associated hot cells that could be capable of separating plutonium, there are also numerous questions about the 40 megawatt-thermal heavy water reactor’s fuel assembly that was recently presented by President Ahmadinejad at the Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant.

July 22, 2009: What kind of umbrella?

July 14, 2009: A Smuggler’s Procurement of Nuclear Dual-Use Pressure Transducers for Iran

This case study looks at the April 2009 case of an Iranian-Canadian citizen arrested by Canadian authorities on evidence that he procured nuclear dual-use components from a U.S. company, brought them to Canada, and attempted to re-export them to Iran via Dubai. He allegedly purchased two pressure transducers, which can be used in gas centrifuge plants to measure gas pressure of the uranium hexafluoride in the cascades.

July 8, 2009: Misconceptions about Iran’s Nuclear Program

In the interest of promoting a broader understanding of technical issues about Iran’s uranium enrichment programs, ISIS has identified below several misconceptions about Iran’s nuclear program that have arisen in comments we have received or seen expressed in the broader news media.

July 6, 2009: Misunderstood Biden?

June 5, 2009: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Report on Iran

ISIS analysis of the IAEA safeguards report on Iran’s nuclear program released on June 5, 2009.
The report includes several new findings regarding the progress of the Iranian program and details the continuing challenges faced by the IAEA. 

May 21, 2009: Iran’s Procurement of U.S. Military Aircraft Parts: Two case studies in illicit trade

Iran illicitly targets U.S. military technology for procurement both because of its high quality and Iran’s need for specialized replacement components for existing aircraft programs dating to the Shah’s reign in the 1970s. Two recent cases of Iranian procurement of controlled U.S. aircraft parts illustrate the difficulty of detecting and preventing such activities.

May 14, 2009: ISIS Recommends

March 18, 2009: Nuclear Weapon Breakout Scenarios: Correcting the Record

ISIS analyzes a March 2 paper published by Alexander Glaser and R. Scott Kemp of Princeton University regarding Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon.

March 12, 2009: Iran Official Statements Issue Brief

In a post last week on the ISISNuclearIran website, we addressed the perceived inconsistency in statements made by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair sought to clarify the issue.

February 19, 2009: ISIS Analysis of the February 19 IAEA Report

ISIS analyzes the three main subjects of the latest IAEA report on Iran: the increase in the number of installed centrifuges, the current amount of LEU and the progress of the Arak heavy reactor plant. 

February 11, 2009: Is Iran running out of yellowcake?

Iran could be close to exhausting its supply of yellowcake while lacking the adequate resources to sustain indigenous commercial-scale uranium processing and enrichment. Our conclusion, echoed in a recent report by Mark Hibbs in Nuclear Fuel,1 is based on an examination of Iran’s uranium reserves, its stocks of yellowcake, or uranium oxide, acquired from overseas sources and, the requirements to sustain a commercial nuclear power program. The absence of activity at one of Iran’s two uranium mines casts further doubt on its claims that it can establish independence in the fuel cycle required for a civil nuclear energy program.

January 28, 2009: A Company’s Discretion Detects Large Iranian Valve Orders

In this case, a company used its knowledge about its products’ end uses as well as its expertise in identifying suspicious equipment requests to detect Iranian attempts to procure a large number of valves for its gas centrifuge program. The illicit procurement agents requested items not on international control lists of dual-use items, hoping to evade detection while still obtaining equipment adequate for use in a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant.

January 21, 2009: Nuclear Iran:  Not Inevitable

Few foreign policy and national security issues have dominated debate in the United States and abroad as Iran’s nuclear program has.  Is its declared civil uranium enrichment program a cover for an effort to secretly build nuclear weapons?  What should be done to stop Iran from developing a capability to build nuclear weapons?  The Obama administration faces a formidable and urgent challenge to sculpt a policy that can convince Iran to abandon or defer a nuclear weapons capability.  This report seeks to answer several key questions about how much Iran has achieved.  It also offers a roadmap for resolving the nuclear issue both peacefully and in a manner that would redirect Iran away from proliferation-sensitive parts of the fuel cycle, in particular uranium enrichment, while strengthening international monitoring of its nuclear capabilities.  Part I of this report contains an overview of Iran’s uranium enrichment program with an emphasis on questions related to Iran’s nuclear weapons capability, including when it might achieve such a capability and the state of evidence suggesting research and development of a weapons program.  Part II looks to the recent nuclear histories of Pakistan and South Africa as possible futures for Iran’s nuclear program and draws out key lessons from those experiences.  Part III offers a detailed set of recommendations and specific steps that the incoming administration should consider as it seeks to confront the specific challenges posed by Iran’s nuclear program in a wider context of competing regional political and security concerns.

December 2, 2008: Has Iran Achieved a Nuclear Weapons Breakout Capability?  Not yet but soon.

As Iran’s operation of its gas centrifuges has expanded and improved, there is growing focus on the quantity of low enriched uranium (LEU) produced at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP).  This is understandably an important topic deserving of close scrutiny.  However, lost in often imprecise reporting are important qualifiers such as units of measurement. As we explain below, understanding these units is relevant to Iran’s timetable to a weapons capability, or “break-out.”

November 19, 2008: IAEA Report Analysis:  Enrichment output steady; centrifuge numbers to increase dramatically;no access to Arak

The report makes three points:  Iran continues to make progress on developing and operating its centrifuges and plans to significantly increase the number of operational centrifuges; it has refused to allow the IAEA access to the Arak heavy water reactor that is under construction; and continues to resist efforts to address substantively its alleged nuclear weapons-related work, which the IAEA says remains of serious concern.

November 13, 2008: Arak Heavy Water Reactor Construction Progressing

Much of the focus on Iran’s nuclear facilities remains fixed on the Natanz enrichment plants and Iran’s progress toward mastering the gas centrifuge uranium enrichment
process.  While seldom noticed, Iran continues with construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak, called the IR-40, which has a declared power of 40 megawatts-thermal.

November 12, 2008: Unprecedented Projected Nuclear Growth in the Middle East:Now is the Time to Create Effective Barriers to Proliferation

This report examines future Middle East reactor projects and the large quantities of plutonium in spent fuel expected to accumulate from reactor operations.  Since Iran’s nuclear progress could cause other nations to consider their options, several steps must be taken now to prevent proliferation from occurring in the region. 

September 23, 2008: Analysis; September IAEA Report

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released on September 15, 2008 its latest report on the implementation of NPT safeguards in Iran and the status of Iran’s compliance with Security Council Resolutions 1737, 1747 and 1803. The report, which shows Iran’s continued non-compliance with these resolutions, includes two important findings…

August 7, 2008: Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Centrifuge Program? Probably Not

This report examines what is known about when and where Iran produces centrifuges and related components and concludes that attempts to target the program militarily are unlikely to succeed and would actually be counterproductive.

June 17, 2008: Dueling Offers

May 26, 2008: IAEA Report Analysis: Centrifuge Operations Improving but Cooperation on Weaponization still lacking

This analysis of the May IAEA report notes Iran’s continued progress in installing and operating centrifuges at Natanz, in particular its increase in UF6 feed rates over previous reporting periods.

April 29, 2008: Presidential Candidates on Iran’s Nuclear Program - April Update

This is a compilation of the candidates’ statements to major media on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

April 29, 2008: The Candidates’ Positions - Iran and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

This document contains the candidates’ direct responses to questions from ISIS regarding Iran and its nuclear fuel cycle.

April 11, 2008: Briefing notes from February 2008 IAEA meeting regarding Iran’s nuclear program

These are unofficial notes from a meeting at IAEA headquarters with representatives from UN missions at which senior IAEA officials briefed diplomats on a range of information regarding Iran’s alleged weaponization work.

November 1, 2007: A Witches Brew? Evaluating Iran’s Uranium-Enrichment Progress
November 2007 issue of Arms Control Today

July 9, 2007: New Tunnel Construction at Mountain Adjacent to the Natanz Enrichment Complex

Commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe taken on June 11, 2007 indicates that Iran is building a tunnel facility inside a mountain about two kilometers south of the Natanz uranium enrichment complex. The construction activity is taking place in the closest mountainous area to the Natanz site, strongly suggesting that the site is affiliated with Natanz.

February 17, 2005: Countdown to Showdown
appearing in the November/December 2004 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

June 17, 2004: Furor over Fuel

appearing in the May/June 2003 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

June 17, 2004: Iran, Player or Rogue?

appearing in the September/October 2003 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

June 17, 2004: The Centrifuge Connection

from the March/April issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.