This month’s newsletter features an update to a table of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including the addition of several undeclared sites where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered uranium particles. The newsletter also features an updated report tracking Iran’s advanced centrifuges, which reflects Iran’s recent deployment of several cascades of IR-6 centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow uranium enrichment plants.
Iran operates dozens of nuclear facilities that it has declared to the IAEA and that have been the subject of some form of inspection. In recent years, however, the Agency has begun investigations into undeclared sites where past nuclear activities might have occurred. The updated table includes these sites as well as many others.
Iran has developed and deployed advanced centrifuge models that can enrich greater amounts of uranium using fewer machines relative to its original IR-1 design. Since June 2022, Iran brought online five cascades of IR-6 centrifuges totaling more than 1,000 machines and began operating a cascade of previously installed IR-4 centrifuges. Iran’s increasing mastery of centrifuge design and operation raises the risk of a "breakout" toward the development of a nuclear weapon and reflects an acquisition of knowledge that cannot be reversed.
ENTITIES OF CONCERN
Ostensibly charitable foundations in Iran, called bonyads, control large portions of the country’s economy and indirectly support its weapon programs, such as by financing industrial projects and employing nuclear scientists.
A foundation controlled by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; financed a project by Sharif University of Technology to develop Iran's first production line for aluminum powder, a substance controlled under the Missile Technology Control Regime for its potential use in ballistic missile propellant.
An Iranian technological university engaged in military and ballistic missile-related projects for the Iranian government; cooperates with the Ministry of Defense and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); reportedly facilitated procurement for Iran's centrifuge program.
An Iranian physicist who served as a project supervisor in Iran’s pre-2004 effort to develop nuclear weapons; formerly served as science deputy at Astan Quds Razavi and scientific advisor to the Expediency Discernment Council.
IN THE NEWS
September 25, 2022: A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia had launched 10 Iranian-manufactured Shahid-136 "kamikaze" drones around Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on September 24 and that Ukrainian forces had shot down eight of them. The spokesman also said that Ukraine's military had shot down an Iranian-made Mohajer-6 strike-and-reconnaissance drone operated by Russia in Ukraine's south. Ukraine also claimed to have downed four of Russia's Shahed-136 drones in Mykolaiv Oblast on September 22 and another six Iranian-manufactured kamikaze drones on September 23.
September 28: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on September 28 that it had launched ballistic missiles and drones against Iranian Kurdish militants based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. According to Iraqi state media, the strikes landed near Erbil and Sulaimaniya, killing 13 and wounding 58, including civilians. Iran had earlier accused the militants of supporting protests across Iran. Iraq criticized the Iranian operation as a breach of its sovereignty. The same day, U.S. forces reported downing an Iranian drone heading toward Erbil.
September 26, 2022: The Houthis held a military parade in Sanaa, Yemen on September 21 showcasing new weapon systems, including missiles apparently from Iran. These included "Falaq" ballistic missiles, which resembled the Iranian Qiam liquid-fueled ballistic missile; a "Karar" missile which was consistent with Iran's Fateh-110 solid-fueled ballistic missile; and a "Hatim" missile which resembled the Iranian Kheibar Shekan, a longer-range variant of the Fateh-110.
Germany's Scholz Sees No Imminent Nuclear Deal with Iran | Associated Press
September 12, 2022: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that a nuclear agreement with Iran "certainly won't happen soon." Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who met with Scholz in Berlin, urged Western leaders to "move past" the negotiations. Scholz said that European countries "remain patient" but that "Iran must be prevented from being able to deploy nuclear weapons."
FROM THE LIBRARY
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest reports on Iran’s nuclear program.
- One report noted that three months had elapsed since Iran curbed the IAEA’s ability to monitor Iranian nuclear sites, with the Agency observing that “considerable challenges would remain” even if Iran restored access – September 7
- Another report detailed Iran’s ongoing refusal to answer questions about the presence of uranium particles at three undeclared nuclear sites – September 7
- France, Germany, and the United Kingdom released a joint statement demanding that Iran fully cooperate with the IAEA – September 10
- Director General Rafael Grossi remarked at a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors that, due to Iranian obstruction, the Agency “is not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful” – September 12
Iran took multiple aggressive actions against the United States and its allies.
- Iranian naval vessels seized U.S. Navy seaborne drones in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, then released them upon being approached by U.S. warships – August 30 and September 2
- Albania cut diplomatic ties with Iran after determining that Tehran sponsored a cyberattack on Albanian government systems in July – September 7
- Ukraine revoked the accreditation of Iran’s ambassador in Kyiv in response to Russia’s use of Iranian-supplied drones on Ukrainian territory – September 23
- The United States and Iraq condemned Iranian ballistic missile and drone attacks on the territory of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region – September 28
The U.S. Commerce, Justice, and Treasury Departments took several actions in response to Iranian cyberattacks, sanctions evasion, and human rights abuses.
- The Treasury sanctioned Iranian companies involved in the production of drones as well as a firm assisting with the shipment of Iranian drones to Russia – September 8
- The Treasury sanctioned the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence in response to Iranian cyberattacks launched against Albania – September 9
- The Justice Department revealed an indictment against three Iranians accused of using ransomware against U.S. targets while the Treasury imposed further sanctions – September 14
- The Commerce Department identified four Iranian aircraft suspected of violating U.S. export controls on Russia – September 19 and 26
- The Treasury sanctioned Iran’s religious police in response to the death in custody of Mahsa Amini and the violent suppression of protests – September 22