The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)  is a very odd affair. Parties to it are divided into two distinct categories, those that possessed nuclear weapons prior to 1 January 1967 and those that didn’t, and very different obligations are placed on states in each category.
The former, “nuclear-weapon
state”, parties were permitted to sign the NPT and keep
their nuclear weapons. Five states –
The latter, “non-nuclear-weapon state”, parties are forbidden under Article II of the Treaty to acquire nuclear weapons, and under Article III are obliged to subject their nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection to ensure that nuclear material is not diverted for the production of weapons.
Enrichment an inalienable right?
Article IV(1) of the NPT states:
“Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.”
On the face of it, this Article
gives all “non-nuclear-weapon”
state parties to the Treaty, including
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and South Korea, which like Iran are “non-nuclear-weapon” state parties to the NPT, have uranium enrichment facilities without being accused of breaching the NPT (as have the 5 “nuclear-weapon” state parties to the NPT: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) .
But, as far as I know, neither the
And the same is true of
“The nuclear non-proliferation treaty makes no specific reference to a right to engage in uranium enrichment. Article IV (1) of the treaty provides that states are entitled to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” 
He had the opportunity to confirm
The official US position in 1968
The text of Article IV(1) puts no restriction whatsoever on the technologies that may be employed “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”, so it cannot be inferred from that that uranium enrichment, or any other technology, is excluded.
Furthermore, the official view of the
On 10 July 1968, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director, William Foster, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the NPT. In response to a question regarding the type of nuclear activities prohibited by Article II of the treaty, Foster supplied a statement containing the following:
“It may be
useful to point out, for illustrative purposes, several activities which the
(See US Congress Research Service report Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations , June 2012, page 17)
On the basis of this
The US/EU refusal to acknowledge
In order to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon,
uranium has to be enriched to over 90% U235.
At the moment, enrichment has not gone beyond the 20% figure, which is
required to fuel a research reactor in
If Iran were to proceed to enrich uranium to a level above 20%, that is, towards the 90% level required to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon, this would be immediately apparent to the IAEA.
11 October 2012