Iran’s nuclear program suffering new setbacks, diplomats and experts say
Iran’s nuclear program, which stumbled badly after a reported cyber attack last year, appears beset by poorly performing equipment, shortages of parts and other woes as global sanctions exert a mounting toll, Western diplomats and nuclear experts say.
The new setbacks are surfacing at a time when Iran faces growing international pressure, including allegations that Iranian officials backed a clumsy attempt to kill a Saudi diplomat in Washington. Analysts say Iran has become increasingly frustrated and erratic as political change sweeps the region and its nuclear program struggles.
Although Iran continues to stockpile enriched uranium in defiance of U.N. resolutions, two new reports portray the country’s nuclear program as riddled with problems as scientists struggle to keep older equipment working.
At Iran’s largest nuclear complex, near the city of Natanz, fast-spinning machines called centrifuges churn out enriched uranium. But its output is steadily declining as the equipment ages and breaks down, according to an analysis of data collected by U.N. nuclear officials….