Iran: Nuclear Standoff

Is there to be another showdown with a Middle East state over material that might be useful for weapons of mass destruction, or will cooperation prevail?

The World Today Published 1 November 2003 Updated 9 November 2020 4 minute READ

Professor Ali Ansari

Professor of Iranian History and Founding Director, Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews

The discovery earlier this year by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of particles of enriched uranium at a nuclear plant in Natanz, central Iran, created widespread international concern that Iran may be in breach of its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Under enormous pressure to appear efficient in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, the inspectors’ report highlighted a number of inconsistencies in Iran’s account of its nuclear programme. It also drew attention to the reality that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear technology had progressed further than analysts had previously thought.

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