Thursday’s UN report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its compliance with the interim agreement signed in November with Western powers noted that the Islamic Republic has reduced its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium.
But Israeli government officials said the report actually shows the world that Iran has not made any true concessions on its nuclear program and still has the capacity to quickly break out to a nuclear weapon.
The UN nuclear agency reported that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the interim pact that led to the first round of talks on a permanent accord, which took place this week in Vienna. The talks are set to resume March 17.
Among other findings, the agency noted that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material that can be turned quickly into the fissile core of a nuclear warhead had diminished by nearly 20 percent to 161 kilograms (355 pounds) under the first-step agreement, which took effect last month.
However, the IAEA report showed that the interim agreement did not alter “Iran’s military nuclear program,” and the report “did not address the military components of Iran’s nuclear program,” Israeli government officials said in a statement.
The IAEA “cannot confirm that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only,” and the report shows that “Iran consistently continues to violate UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors decisions” with regards to the program, the officials noted.
In the report, the IAEA commended Iran’s “positive step forward” in granting greater access to nuclear facilities. But alluding to the agency’s attempts to probe suspicions that Tehran worked secretly on nuclear weapons, the IAEA said “much remains to be done to resolve all outstanding issues.”
“The bottom line” is that in return for a “significant easing of sanctions against Iran,” Tehran has not made any “significant concessions” in return, the Israeli officials noted.
Despite last year’s election of Iranian President Rouhani, who is widely seen as more moderate than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic still funds terror activities around the world, provides arms and aid to the Assad regime in Syria, which is “slaughtering innocent people, executes its own innocent citizens and “tramples” human rights, the Israeli officials said.
“Such a state should not have the capability to produce nuclear weapons,” the officials said, and noted that Iran has not agreed to give up its centrifuges and its heavy water reactor, even those those technologies are not necessary for a peaceful nuclear power plant, just for creating the highly-enriched material necessary for a nuclear bomb.
Iran and six world powers on Thursday ended nuclear talks with agreement on a framework for future negotiations but little progress on the main issue of what nuclear concessions Tehran must make in exchange for an end to sanctions stifling its economy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.