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Report Reveals Continued Uranium Enrichment

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Iran has “taken many actions that have compounded suspicions that it has not stopped its uranium laser enrichment activities,” despite claiming in 2003 that it had abandoned this process, according to a new Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) report.

On Wednesday, new Iran sanctions that passed in a 400-20 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives aim to cut Iranian oil sales from 1.25 million barrels per day to 250,000 per day by the end of 2014. The new sanctions also expand the targeting of Iranian human rights violations as well as the country’s automotive and mining industries.

The ISIS report, released Monday, was based on the analysis of satellite imagery. The laser-based enrichment process can generate civilian nuclear fuel as well as bomb material. The actions referred to in the ISIS report include Iran’s “development of advanced lasers suitable for uranium enrichment, its past secret laser enrichment program, the extensive construction at the site of its original undeclared uranium laser enrichment program (Lashkar Ab’ad), and a 2010 high-profile Iranian announcement about having a uranium laser enrichment capability.”

As long as Iran fails to satisfy the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the United Nations nuclear watchdog), the ISIS report recommended additional measures that “increase Iran’s difficulty to pursue laser uranium enrichment programs,” such as bolstered Iran sanctions.

Countries should detect and thwart “any Iranian procurements of laser enrichment related technology, equipment, and materials, including subcomponents of advanced lasers,” the report said.

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