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Assessment of Iran's Nuclear Program


									Assessment of Iran’s Nuclear Program

              Press Event
      Tuesday, September 14, 2004

        Dr. Charles D. Ferguson
     Science and Technology Fellow
             Capsule History
• Iranian nuclear program dates back at least to
  1957 – Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi signed
  a nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S.
  The Shah wanted self-sufficiency 
  complete nuclear fuel cycle
• 1979 Islamic revolution to early 1980s: nuclear
• Mid-1980s to present: revitalized nuclear
  program (e.g., 1985: start of centrifuge program)
          Dual-Use Dilemma
• Two routes to making a nuclear bomb or
  civilian nuclear fuel:
   enriching uranium
   making and separating/reprocessing

• Iran has acquired technology to do both 
  striving for mastery of both front and back
  ends of nuclear fuel cycle
  Latest IAEA Report: Outstanding Issues
Front End of Fuel Cycle:
• Centrifuge Enrichment Program
    P-2 advanced centrifuges: Absence of activity
     between 1995 and 2002?
    Enriched uranium contamination
• Uranium Conversion
    37 tons yellowcake to UF6 this month  potentially
     enough for half dozen crude bombs
• Laser Enrichment

Back End of Fuel Cycle:
• Plutonium Separation Experiments and Heavy Water
  Plant and Reactor
  Latest IAEA Report: Outstanding Issues
   Nuclear weapon initiator or nuclear battery power
   Lab experiments between 1989 and 1993
   Other research?
   Site in Tehran where there was alleged nuclear
   Razed to the ground after November 2003
   “possibility of a concealment effort by Iran”
   Environmental samples and documents being
    analyzed by IAEA
How Soon Before Iran Can Make a Nuclear Bomb?
• July 29, 2004 EU-Iran meeting:
   Could produce enough weapons-grade HEU
    within one year of decision to do so
   Could make nuclear device within 3 years

• CIA Past Estimates:
   1992: Bomb by 2000
   1995: Bomb by 1998-2000
   2000: Bomb cannot be ruled out
   Feb. 2004: DCI Tenet, “significant challenge for
    intelligence to confidently assess whether that
    red line had been crossed”

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