Nuclear-weapons experts who have reviewed the Iranian nuclear archive that Israel recovered from a Tehran warehouse concluded that Iran lied that a uranium mine was under control of its civilian atomic-energy agency, according to a paper published jointly by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Institute for Science and International Security on Wednesday.
It was written by David Albright, a former weapons’ inspector and president of the institute; Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Frank Pabian, a former inspector for the IAEA; and Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the institute. They assert that Iran falsely told the IAEA that its uranium mine at Gchine was under civilian control when it in fact remained under the auspices of its military nuclear-weapons program.
“The site was originally part of the AMAD plan to produce nuclear weapons. It was military-owned and created to produce uranium for Iran’s covert nuclear fuel cycle and five initially planned nuclear weapons,” the paper charged in its conclusion. “Gchine is but another egregious example of Iran’s deceptions to the IAEA and the international community.”
In reviewing the files recovered from Iran’s nuclear archive, the team has previously learned not only that Iran’s nuclear-weapons program had progressed further than previously thought, but that Iran possessed “advanced capabilities” to develop nuclear weapons. What the experts concluded was that “that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb” prior to negotiating the deal that was finalized in 2015.
In a previous paper published by the institute, Albright, Heinonen and Pabian argued that the new information contained in the archive “necessitates calling for more action by the IAEA and the Joint Commission, which administers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”
In an op-ed published in October in The Hill, Josh Block, president and CEO of the Israel Project, noted that the IAEA had failed to follow through on the Israeli revelations and the implications of those failures on the agency’s overall knowledge of Iran’s nuclear-weapons’ work.
“The gaps in the IAEA’s knowledge—of Iran’s past nuclear work, of its military sites, of items mentioned in Section T of the nuclear deal, and of the nuclear sites discovered by Israeli intelligence—raise questions about the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program,” argued Block.
The documents and files that Israel smuggled out of Tehran in January, and which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicized at the end of April, consists of some 100,000 pages and covers Iran’s nuclear-weapons program during the years of 1999 to 2003.