As Iran claims that it is restarting work on uranium enrichment in response to sweeping sanctions imposed by Donald Trump, it’s worth remembering that we have absolutely no idea where all the enriched uranium supposedly removed from Iran under the 2015 JCPOA agreement actually, you know, ended up. This is the fairly alarming point made by A. Savyon and Yigal Carmon in an analysis for the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
- The original deal with the U.S. and other major powers including Russia and China called for 8.5 tons of enriched uranium to be removed from Iran and sent to its ally Russia.
- Seven months after the agreement, Ambassador Stephen Mull noted that Russia had not decided where to put the uranium.
- In February 2016 Mull told Congress that the U.S. no longer knew the location of the uranium, but that it was somewhere in Russian custody. He also could not specify whether the uranium was physically in Russia, or perhaps aboard a plane, ship, train or otherwise in transit.
- That would appear to be the latest official statement by the U.S. government on the location of the original Iranian enriched uranium stockpile, leaving us to conclude that it is very much “in the wind.”
- Russia also shipped 200 tons of yellowcake, a processed uranium ore, in December 2015.