Feb. 26, 2019
- Iran’s “nuclear archive” seized by Israel last year is extremely rich in new information about Iran’s substantial, rapidly advancing nuclear weapons effort in the early 2000s. Iran aimed to develop and manufacture five 10-kiloton nuclear weapons and build a missile suitable to deliver them. The archive documentation supports that rather than ending the program in 2003, Iran reoriented it to a more disguised nuclear weapons program.
- The new information provides a more complete picture of successor activities which were intended to allow Iran to continue to pursue key nuclear weapons-related work that had no plausible civilian justification in a more covert, dispersed manner. The information in the archive suggests that the nuclear weapons program never ended – and it could be continuing today.
- The archive materials suggest that Iran can produce deliverable nuclear weapons more quickly than earlier assessed. It supports replacing the nuclear deal with a more comprehensive, long-lasting approach aimed at blocking Iran’s latent pathway to nuclear weapons.
- The archive information is in a form that is actionable in terms of: better carrying out of inspections of Iran’s nuclear activities; challenging Iran’s prior incomplete and duplicitous statements about its nuclear weapons programs; more adequately understanding the threat Iran’s nuclear programs pose today and in the future; and better designing policies to address this issue.
- It is difficult to see how storing and curating an extensive nuclear weapons archive focused on developing and building missile-deliverable nuclear weapons is consistent with Iran’s pledge under the JCPOA that under no circumstances will it ever seek nuclear weapons.