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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.
New analysis and imagery 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.
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: 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
March 25, 2014: Olli Heinonen on Iran’s implementation of the JPA
March 10, 2014: The Iran Primer - Centrifuges: Key to Final Nuclear Deal
February 21, 2014: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Safeguards Report
ISIS’s analysis of the Iatest IAEA safeguards report on Iran
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.
January 31, 2014: U.S. Busts Iranian Smuggling Scheme Involving a Nuclear-Related Good
The necessary provisions of a comprehensive agreement with Iran.
December 10, 2013: No Significant Changes Visible at Parchin Nuclear Site
November 25, 2013: The Rocky Path to a Long-Term Settlement with Iran
A list of irreducible elements that should be goal achievements of a negotiated interim agreement.
October 24, 2013: Iranian Breakout Estimates - Summary
A summary of the detailed technical study exploring Iranian nuclear breakout of capabilities.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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: 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.”
March 27, 2013: Stopping an Undetectable Iranian Bomb
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 20, 2013: Flawed Bloomberg Article on Iran Nuclear Sanctions
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 18, 2013: Chinese Salesman Arrested in Pressure Transducer Case
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
Significant Changes Made to Parchin High Explosives Test Site, Further Activity Likely
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 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 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 24, 2012: New Phase of Suspect Activity at Parchin Site
Standard Chartered settles for $340 million in the case of its illicit dealings with Iran worth close to $250 billion.
August 2, 2012: Potential Change in Iran’s Nuclear Fatwa?
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 4, 2012: Is Iran Building a Third Enrichment Plant?
Satellite imagery shows what appears to be further cleanup efforts at the Parchin high explosive test site
May 16, 2012: The Telexes: Front Company Kala Naft
May 9, 2012: Opening the Door to a Solution with Iran
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 19, 2012: Media Matters’ Faulty Report on Broadcast Media
A March 2000 satellite image of the Parchin site shows the foundation for the test chamber.
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: PHRC telex appendix
Content of telex exchanges between western companies and Iranian organizations attempting to procure materials for a possible parallel military nuclear program.
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.
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 18, 2011: Iran’s Ridiculous Distraction
A detailed look into the question of Iranian weaponization efforts mentioned by the IAEA safeguards report of November 8, 2011.
November 4, 2011: Iran Nuclear Issue – Considerations for a Negotiated Outcome
October 27, 2011: Debunking Gregory Jones Again
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.
September 22, 2011: Ahmadinejad Reiterates Willingness to Halt 20 Percent Enrichment
September 21, 2011: Natanz Enrichment Site: Boondoggle or Part of an Atomic Bomb Production Complex?
September 14, 2011: Ahmadinejad and Abbasi-Davani at Odds on Enrichment Claims
August 31, 2011: Abbasi-Davani Interview on Iran’s 20 Percent Enrichment
August 24, 2011: Iran Moving Centrifuges to Fordow
July 15, 2011: Iran Reportedly Installing Advanced Centrifuges
June 8, 2011: IAEA Worried about Ongoing Military Nuclear Work in Iran
June 7, 2011: Time for Iran to Come Clean and Cooperate With the IAEA
April 15, 2011: ISIS Resources on the Stuxnet Worm
December 23, 2010: Swiss Judge Recommends Charges against the Tinners
December 21, 2010: The Tinner Case: Time for a Frank, Open Evaluation
September 14, 2010: Amano Censures Iran over Lack of Cooperation with IAEA
July 29, 2010: Pressure Building on Iran (Corrected Version)
June 25, 2010: UAE Cracks Down on Iran’s Illicit Trade
June 23, 2010: Salehi Claims Iran Has 17kg of 19.75% Enriched Uranium
May 19, 2010: UNSC Draft Resolution on Iran
May 17, 2010: A deal for the LEU?
Imagery showing university where scientist worked is across the street from FEDAT.
February 16, 2010: Arrest Made in Germany of Core Iranian Procurement Agent
February 16, 2010: Busting the Members at the Core of Iran’s Smuggling Networks
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 2, 2010: Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community
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 18, 2009: Another resignation in Iran’s nuclear establishment
Further details on the case of Mohsen Vanaki, a trader accused of illicitly procuring materials for Iran’s nuclear program.
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 4, 2009: Further Comments Regarding the BAS Article on Fordow
A review of the technical information provided in a recent BAS article on the Fordow enrichment plant.
November 16, 2009: IAEA Report on Iran: Fordow enrichment plant at “advanced stage of construction;” decline in numP1 centrifuges enriching but P1 centrifuge efficiency increases; discovery of previously unknown stock of heavy water
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
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.
The report looks into the IAEA’s internal process of evaluating information regarding the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
October 1, 2009: Additional information about Qom site
September 27, 2009: New Satellite Imagery of Suspected Gas Centrifuge Site Near Qom, Iran
September 25, 2009: U.S. statements regarding the disclosure of the Qom enrichment plant
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 11, 2009: Iran proposal to EU
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 18, 2009: Is Iran relenting on nuclear talks?
August 17, 2009: Game theory tells us when Iran gets a bomb. Or maybe not….
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 17, 2009: Ali Akbar Salehi named Atomic Energy Agency chief
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.
June 22, 2009: Beware the neocon agenda for Iran
June 3, 2009: Iran is cordially invited to a picnic
May 14, 2009: ISIS Recommends
April 24, 2009: Clinton says Iran has a choice
April 10, 2009: Video Tour of Iran’s Nuclear Sites
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 13, 2009: Reading the Tea Leaves: Obama Administration officials on Iran
February 11, 2009: Is Iran Running Out of Yellowcake?
February 2, 2009: Germany tightens trade restrictions; Can it do more?
January 24, 2009: Has Iran painted itself into a corner?
January 10, 2009: India’s Reliance to halt gasoline exports to Iran
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 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.
October 24, 2008: Shift in McCain Stance on Iran’s Enrichment Program?
September 27, 2008: New UNSC Resolution: Toothless wonder?
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…
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 18, 2008: Why ISIS prefers zero enrichment
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.
February 22, 2008: Presidential Candidates on Iran’s Nuclear Program
November 1, 2007: A Witches Brew? Evaluating Iran’s Uranium-Enrichment Progress November 2007 issue of Arms Control Today
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.
March 15, 2007: Iran’s Centrifuges: How well are they working?
March 27, 2006: ISIS Issue Brief: “The Clock is Ticking, But How Fast?”
January 13, 2006: Satellite Image of the Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Iran
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: The Centrifuge Connection
from the March/April issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.