Daily Review: Iran Expands Its Nuclear Capabilities

Daily Review: Iran Expands Its Nuclear Capabilities
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi during a round of talks in Tehran, Iran, March 4, 2023 (AP photo).

The Fordow enrichment plant, Iran’s most heavily protected nuclear facility, is undergoing a major expansion that could triple the site’s production of enriched uranium, allowing Iran to potentially make several bombs’ worth of nuclear fuel every month. Tehran formally notified the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, of the construction. (Washington Post)

Our Take

The past few years have been a period of mixed signals from Iran regarding its nuclear program. After U.S. President Joe Biden took office, Tehran initially seemed open to potentially reviving the so-called Iran nuclear deal, engaging in on-and-off indirect negotiations with Washington to that end. But in 2022, those talks broke down.

Iran’s relationship to the IAEA in recent years has been similarly hot and cold. Tehran took a series of steps to cut off the agency’s access to and visibility into its nuclear program, in violation of its oversight agreements with the agency. But last year it signed a joint statement with the IAEA pledging to recommence inspections and resolve some other issues with the agency. Since then, however, Tehran has dragged its feet on implementing that deal, prompting the IAEA board to censure Iran earlier this month. Iran’s response has been to simultaneously double down on its nuclear defiance and formally disclose that it is doing so.

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