EghtesadOnline: The UN nuclear agency issued a statement on Friday denying a reported leak of state secrets Tehran shared with the agency regarding its nuclear program.
It came in response to Iran's complaint after AP earlier this month published part of a confidential document that it claimed had been submitted by the Islamic Republic to the agency regarding its nuclear program.
According to the AP report, the document outlined Iran's plans to expand its uranium enrichment program after the first 10 years of the July 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.
Tehran was quick to react to the leak by sending a note of protest to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with verifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear accord.
"The IAEA received a letter from Iran this week, which referred to a leaked document and to the possibility of leakage by the agency of parts of Iran's initial declaration of its Additional Protocol," the UN agency's statement said.
"The agency has sent a letter in reply strongly disagreeing with and rejecting any statement implying that the agency has leaked information related to Iran's initial declaration of its Additional Protocol," read the statement, carried by the IAEA website.
AP said it received the document from a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran's nuclear program for more than a decade and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document. It did not identify the diplomats, according to Financial Tribune.
Tehran was given sanctions relief in return for curbs of up to 15 years on its nuclear program when the pact became effective in January.
AP said the document revealed that key restrictions on the program will start to ease years before the 15-year pact expires.
According to the plan outlined in the document, as of January 2027, 11 years after the deal was implemented, Iran will start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.
Among the constraints the Islamic Republic accepted on its nuclear program was to cut the number of installed centrifuges at Fordo and Natanz enrichment sites by two-thirds.
From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran will install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.
Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.
Components other than centrifuge numbers and efficiency include how much enriched uranium Tehran has to work with, and restrictions on its stockpile extend until the end of the deal, limiting its full enrichment program.
Iran has been committed by the nuclear agreement to keep its stockpile of low-enriched uranium below 300 kg.
Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the IAEA complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements.
Under the pact, Tehran agreed to provisionally implement the protocol.
A principal aim is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared nuclear activities of a member state.
Iran has consistently denied its nuclear program may have had military purposes, saying it is for peaceful applications only.