Annex | Historical Review

A. Historical Overview

2. Since late 2002, the Director General has reported to the Board of Governors on the Agency’sconcerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. Such concerns coincided with the appearance in open sources of information which indicated that Iran was building a large underground nuclear related facility at Natanz and a heavy water production plant at Arak.1

3. Between 2003 and 2004, the Agency confirmed a number of significant failures on the part of Iranto meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the processing and use of undeclared nuclear material and the failure to declare facilities where the nuclear material had been received, stored and processed.2 Specifically, it was discovered that, as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, Iran had used undeclared nuclear material for testing and experimentation in several uranium conversion, enrichment, fabrication and irradiation activities, including the separation of plutonium, at undeclared locations and facilities.3

4. In October 2003, Iran informed the Director General that it had adopted a policy of full disclosureand had decided to provide the Agency with a full picture of its nuclear activities.4 Following that announcement, Iran granted the Agency access to locations the Agency requested to visit, provided information and clarifications in relation to the origin of imported equipment and components and made individuals available for interviews. It also continued to implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, to which it agreed in February 2003, which provides for the submission of design information on new nuclear facilities as soon as the decision to construct or to authorize construction of such a facility is taken.5 In November 2003, Iran announced its intention to signan Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement (which it did in December 2003 following  Board approval of the text), and that, prior to its entry into force, Iran would act in accordance with the provisions of that Protocol.6

5. Between 2003 and early 2006, Iran submitted inventory change reports, provided design information with respect to facilities where the undeclared activities had taken place and made nuclear material available for Agency verification. Iran also acknowledged that it had utilized entities with links tothe Ministry of Defence in some of its previously undeclared activities.7  Iran acknowledged that it had had contacts with intermediaries of a clandestine nuclear supply network in 1987 and the early 1990s, and that,in 1987, it had received a handwritten one page document offering assistance with the development ofuranium centrifuge enrichment technology, in which reference was also made to a reconversion unit withcasting equipment. 8 Iran further acknowledged that it had received a package of information related to centrifuge enrichment technology that also included a 15 page document (here after referred to as the “uranium metal document”) which Iran said it did not ask for and which describes, inter alia, processes forthe conversion of uranium fluoride compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components.9

6. The Agency continued to seek clarification of issues with respect to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, particularly in light of Iran’s admissions concerning its contacts with the clandestine nuclear supply network, information provided by participants in that network and information which had been provided to the Agency by a Member State. This last information, collectively referred to as the “alleged studies documentation”, which was made known to the Agency in 2005, indicated that Iran had been engaged in activities involving studies on a so-called green salt project, high explosives testing and the re-engineering of a missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a new payload10 All of this information,taken together, gave rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.

7. In August 2007, Iran and the Agency agreed on “Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iranand the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues” (generally referred to as the“work plan”) (INFCIRC/711). By February 2008, the four items identified in the work plan as “pastout standing issues”, and the two items identified as “other outstanding issues”, had been determined by the Agency to be either closed, completed or no longer outstanding11. The remaining issues which needed to be clarified by Iran related to the alleged studies, together with other matters which had arisen in thecourse of resolving the six other issues and which needed to be addressed in connection with the alleged studies, specifically: the circumstances of Iran’s acquisition of the uranium metal document, procurementand research and development (R&D) activities of military related institutes and companies that could benuclear related; and the production of nuclear equipment and components by companies belonging to defence industries.12

8. Between February and May 2008, pursuant to the work plan, the Agency shared with Iran information (including documentation) on the alleged studies, and sought clarifications from Iran.13 In May 2008, Iran submitted to the Agency a 117 page assessment of that information. While Iran confirmed the veracity of some of the information which the Agency had shared with it (such as acknowledgement of names of people, places and organizations), Iran’s assessment was focused on deficiencies in form and format, and dismissed the allegations as having been based on “forged” documents and “fabricated”data.14

9. The Agency continued to receive additional information from Member States and acquired new information as a result of its own efforts. The Agency tried without success to engage Iran in discussions about the information, and finally wrote to Iran in October 2010 to inform it about this additionalinformation.15

10. Between 2007 and 2010, Iran continued to conceal nuclear activities, by not informing the Agencyin a timely manner of the decision to construct or to authorize construction of a new nuclear power plant at Darkhovin16 and a third enrichment facility near Qom (the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant).17,18 The Agency is still awaiting substantive responses from Iran to Agency requests for further information aboutits announcements, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, that it had decided to construct ten additional enrichment facilities (the locations for five of which had already been identified)19 and that it possessed laser enrichment technology.20

11. The Agency has continued to receive, collect and evaluate information relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. As additional information has become available to the Agency,the Agency has been able, not withstanding Iran’s lack of engagement, to refine its analysis of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.21


2 comments on “Annex | Historical Review

  1. […] “High explosives testing and the re-engineering of a missile“ […]

  2. […] Large underground nuclear related facility exposed at Natanz… […]

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