Iran to Protest Leak of Confidential Nuclear Document

Iran to Protest Leak of  Confidential Nuclear DocumentIran to Protest Leak of  Confidential Nuclear Document

A nuclear official said Tehran intends to send a note of protest to the UN nuclear agency over the leak of a confidential document it submitted to the agency outlining its plans to expand its uranium enrichment program after the first 10 years of last year's nuclear deal.

The document was obtained and published by AP a week ago.

"The parts published were classified and were supposed to remain so. We believe that the leak originated in the agency," the spokesperson of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told IRNA on Sunday.

AP said it received the document from a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran's nuclear program for more than a decade and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

Both demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to share or discuss the document, which they described as an add-on agreement to the July 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and major powers.

Tehran was given sanctions relief in return for curbs of up to 15 years on its nuclear program when the pact became effective in January.

The confidential document is the only text linked to the deal that has not been made public, although US officials say members of congress who expressed interest were briefed on its substance, AP reported.

It revealed that key restrictions on the program will start to ease years before the 15-year pact expires.

According to the plan outlined in the document, as of January 2027, 11 years after the deal was implemented, Iran will start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.

Among the constraints the Islamic Republic accepted on its nuclear program was to cut the number of installed centrifuges at Fordo and Natanz enrichment sites by two-thirds.

  Sound Plans  

Commenting on the issue on Saturday, the AEOI head criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency for allowing the leakage to happen but played down the negative consequences for the Islamic Republic.

"[They] have broken their promise, but the published document has let the Iranian people know of our sound and appropriate future plans for the development of our nuclear industry," Ali Akbar Salehi added.

From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran will install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.

Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.

Components other than centrifuge numbers and efficiency include how much enriched uranium Tehran has to work with, and restrictions on its stockpile extend until the end of the deal, limiting its full enrichment program.

Iran has been committed by the nuclear agreement to keep its stockpile of low-enriched uranium below 300 kg.

While the document does not say what happens with centrifuge numbers and types past year 13, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told AP that Iran will be free to install any number of advanced centrifuges beyond that point, even though the nuclear deal extends two additional years.

That will give Iran a huge potential boost in enrichment capacity. But it can be put to use only after the deal expires.

During the talks leading to the nuclear deal, western powers had sought to limit Iran's stock of enriched uranium so it would take about one year for Iran to amass enough radioactive material for a nuclear bomb if it decided so.

Iran has consistently denied its nuclear program may have had military purposes, saying it is for peaceful applications only.

  Talks With Russia on Heavy Water

Nuclear constraints on Iran also include selling, diluting or disposing of its heavy water supplies in excess of 130 tons.

Abbas Araqchi, an Iranian nuclear negotiator, said on July 11 that a controversial deal between Iran and the US for the sale of 32 tons of heavy water finally went through. A couple of days later, the US Congress approved a measure that calls for prohibiting the administration of US President Barack Obama from buying more of Iran's heavy water.

Kamalvandi said negotiations are underway with Russians for the sale of 40 tons of heavy water.

"We have not yet agreed on the price and negotiations are continuing," he said.