In January, Secretary Clinton told an audience in the United Arab Emirates that Iran’s nuclear program has experienced “technological problems that have made [Iran] slow down its timetables.” Iranian officials acknowledged last year that a software program disrupted the operation of a limited number of centrifuge machines at the Natanz enrichment facility. Yesterday’s Washington Post interview with the head of the UN’s atomic energy watchdog, however, warrants a second-look:
Q: How badly was Iran’s centrifuge program affected by the [Stuxnet cyber] worm from 2009?
A: Iran is somehow producing uranium enriched to 3.5 percent and 20 percent. They are producing it steadily, constantly.
Q: The amount of enriched uranium has not been affected?
A: The production is very steady.
Yukiya Amano’s comments are a sober reminder that tactical successes in disrupting Iran’s nuclear progress remain fleeting, and that such efforts cannot substitute for a strategy to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. See AEI’s IranTracker for more on Iran, and keep an eye out for a forthcoming AEI report on the challenges of containing a nuclear Iran.