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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.
November 14, 2013: ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report
ISIS’s analysis of the November 14, 2013 IAEA Iran safeguards report
US sting operation leads to arrest of an Iranian agent attempting to procure anti-aircraft missile systems.
October 24, 2013: Iranian Breakout Estimates, Updated September 2013
Detailed technical analysis of time frames and possible methods of Iranian nuclear breakout scenarios.
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: 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.
A technical analysis of Iranian centrifuge cascaded organization and output capabilities and limitations.
The report takes a closer look at potential Iranian laser enrichment capabilities and facilities.
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.
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.
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.
Addressing misconceived criticisms regarding Iranian procurements of goods related to its nuclear program.
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.
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.
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 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 26, 2012: United States Prosecutes U.S.-Based Smuggler Working for Iran
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.
A detailed look into how and where Danilenko could have contributed to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons efforts.
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.
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.
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.
Iran’s growing stock of 19.75 percent enriched uranium is an increasing source of unease as it further reduces breakout timeframes.
June 4, 2012: Déjà vu at Fordow? What are Iran’s enrichment plans?
May 16, 2012: Telexes: Amir Kabir University and Dr. Shahmoradi
Satellite imagery shows activity at the building identified by the IAEA as a potential military nuclear site.
Internal IAEA information casts doubt on the Iranian Supreme Leader’s claims regarding the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
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 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.
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.
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 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?
January 20, 2012: No Obama Letter to Iran?
Satellite imagery analysis of the Esfahan nuclear site in Iran following reports of an explosion in the area that might have affected the complex.
Satellite imagery of the blast at the Iranian military base.
November 14, 2011: David Albright on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour
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 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 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.
September 2, 2011: ISIS Analysis of the IAEA Iran Safeguards Report from September 2, 2011
August 29, 2011: Two Recent Media Reports to Note on Iran’s Nuclear Program
July 19, 2011: Iran Confirms Installation of Advanced Centrifuges
July 13, 2011: Iran to IAEA: Drop Nuclear Weaponization Investigation
April 26, 2011: European Court of Human Rights Rejects Tinners’ Appeal
April 14, 2011: Yadegari Appeal Denied by Canadian Court
February 15, 2011: Stuxnet Malware and Natanz: Update of ISIS December 22, 2010 Report
January 20, 2011: Iran’s Nuclear Setbacks: A key for U.S. diplomacy
December 22, 2010: Did Stuxnet Take Out 1,000 Centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant
October 21, 2010: Probable Steady Production Rate of 20 Percent Enriched Uranium in Iran
October 19, 2010: Chinese Firms Continue to Evade Iran Sanctions
September 22, 2010: P5+1 Seeks Renewed Negotiations, Fuel Swap Talks under its Auspices
September 15, 2010: Iran’s Government Split over Impact of Sanctions
September 9, 2010: ISIS Analysis of New Covert Uranium Enrichment Plant Construction Claims
July 26, 2010: What is Iran’s competence in operating centrifuges?
An update and supplemental documents on the case of Canadian-Iranian Mahmoud Yadegari convicted of violating several export control laws.
June 21, 2010: New Der Spiegel Article on Iran’s Nuclear Program
A look at the LEU swap deal proposed by Iran, Brazil and Turkey.
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 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 16, 2010: France, Russia and United States write to Amano on Iran
February 11, 2010: Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Taking Stock
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.
ISIS takes a detailed look at the Iranian neutron initiator documents first revealed by the Times in December 2009
December 30, 2009: Iran seeking Uranium Ore from Kazakhstan
December 15, 2009: New evidence of Iranian weaponization studies
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: 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.
December 1, 2009: IAEA Board of Governors Resolution on Iran
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.
Satellite imagery analysis suggests that the Qom uranium enrichment facility construction begun sometime after January 2006.
October 23, 2009: Reports and News on Iranian Illicit Procurement Efforts
A timeline of the Argentinian supply of LEU for the Tehran Research Reactor between 1967-1993.
October 1, 2009: Official State Department Statement on the October 1 Talks
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 25, 2009: NYT reports clandestine facility near Qom
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 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 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 17, 2009: August 2009 CRS report on Iran’s nuclear program
August 12, 2009: INR’s Flawed Assumptions?
August 4, 2009: NYT gets inside U.S. Iran policy
July 21, 2009: The Indian double standard?
July 16, 2009: Iran Atomic Energy Agency Chief resigns
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 6, 2009: Misunderstood Biden?
June 10, 2009: Mousavi’s connection to the Khan network
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.
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 6, 2009: U.S. calls for universal adherence to NPT
April 20, 2009: How illicit nuclear trade happens
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 3, 2009: How enriching uranium is like making apple cider
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.
February 5, 2009: No progress on diplomatic next steps
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 19, 2008: What do Juicy Couture and Iran’s nuclear program have in common?
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.
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.
October 5, 2008: U.S. Interests Section scuttled, for now
September 23, 2008: Ahmadinejad addresses UN General Assembly
August 26, 2008: U.S. farmers to the rescue of nuclear diplomacy?
June 28, 2008: Mother Jones on whether U.S. and/or Israel will attack Iran
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.
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.
February 22, 2008: IAEA Report Analysis: A Balanced Safeguards Report
November 15, 2007: November IAEA Report: Centrifuge File Not Closed; Natanz Enrichment Expands
October 17, 2007: Iran’s Nuclear Program: What the 2008 Presidential Candidates are Saying
August 28, 2007: A Flawed IAEA-Iran Agreement on Resolving Outstanding Issues
September 29, 2006: ISIS Issue Analysis: Iran’s NPT Violations: Numerous and Possibly On-Going?
August 31, 2006: ISIS Issue Brief: Iran’s Centrifuge Program: Defiant but Delayed
January 13, 2006: New satellite image of the Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Iran.
May 30, 2005: : ISIS Imagery Brief: Kalaye Electric
September 13, 2004: ISIS Issue Brief: Parchin: Possible Nuclear Weapons-Related Site in Iran
June 17, 2004: Iran, Player or Rogue?
appearing in the September/October 2003 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
NEW: Image from May 10, 2004
February 20, 2003: ISIS Issue Brief: Iran at a Nuclear Crossroads