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What is new in the Iran Nuclear Archive?

by David Albright

June 6, 2018

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From oral and written testimony by David Albright before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Committee of Oversight and Government Reform1

The Nuclear Archive seized by Israel in Iran contains much new information not previously available to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or Western governments about Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons under the so-called AMAD project. I have reviewed much of the information gathered by the IAEA about Iran’s past nuclear weapons programs and it is compelling, but this information has many gaps and is unable to allow for conclusions about the current program and its intentions. The archive fills in many of these holes, and overall, according to the Israelis, it presents a relatively complete and alarming picture of Iran’s nuclear weapons efforts, and in far more detailed than previously available.

What was missing from the previously existing information? Based on public information and background briefings by senior Israeli intelligence officials, new information includes:

• the number and kilotons of nuclear weapons sought by Iran,
• the specific amount of highly enriched uranium in nuclear explosive designs,
• blueprints for the production of all the components of nuclear weapons,
• the location of planned nuclear weapons test sites,
• details about a second building at the Parchin site involved in high explosive work related to nuclear weapons in an explosive chamber. This building has not been visited by the IAEA.
• other nuclear weapons related sites and activities,
• much more detail about Iran’s extensive work on uranium metallurgy including ample evidence of Iran having all the equipment for all the work needed in a nuclear weapons uranium metallurgy program. The information also shows that Iran made all the uranium metal weapons components with surrogate materials,
• small-scale uranium processing for a neutron initiator for a nuclear weapon,
• direct evidence that the secret Fordow enrichment site was being built to make weapon-grade uranium,
• image of a device to assemble the central core of a nuclear explosive using a surrogate metal material instead of weapon-grade uranium,
• additional equipment that Iran must potentially declare today under Section T of the Iran nuclear deal,
• information about calculations, and
• simulations captured in videos.

This new information adds most of the missing pieces to the puzzle of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program and raises troubling implications about Iran’s intention to use this archive to build nuclear weapons in the future.


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