Iran Misled UN on Plutonium Experiments

Iran’s Plutonium Use Dates Back to 2003 (AP)

Iran has acknowledged working with small amounts of plutonium, a possible nuclear arms component, for years longer than it had originally admitted to the U.N. atomic watchdog agency, according to a confidential report made available Wednesday to The Associated Press.

The report, to be delivered as early as Thursday to a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said Tehran received sensitive technology that can be used as part of a weapons program earlier than it originally said it did.

The document said that while Iran had stated its plutonium separation experiments were conducted in 1993 “and that no plutonium had been separated since then,” Iranian officials revealed two months ago that there had been linked experiments in 1995 and 1998.

The report is currently unavailable at the IAEA site. But, if the AP dispatch and other news stories are accurate, the State Department would be vindicated. See this November 2004 statement:

We question whether Iran continues to hide information related to the origins of the UF6 particles found at the Tehran Research Reactor, as the IAEA suggests is plausible. We wonder what conclusions the IAEA draws from the two separate sets of samples it took from the plutonium separation solution associated with Iran’s undeclared plutonium separation experiments. The IAEA still considers it implausible, based on its sampling, that Iran did not conduct plutonium separation experiments after 1993. We wonder what the sampling data reveals regarding whether Iran conducted still-undeclared plutonium separation work after 1993. If Iran is found to have done so, we would consider this to be another serious safeguards failure.

We can’t say that this latest revelation is any surprise.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Science & Technology, United Nations, , ,
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Lurking Observer says:

    Anyone familiar with the North Korean efforts to lie their way past the IAEA, back in 1994, should not be surprised.

    What should be surprising is anyone who thinks that the current anti-proliferation regime is working against states that are determined to develop their own nuclear capabilities.