Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
In 2002, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began investigating allegations that
Iran had conducted clandestine nuclear activities; the agency ultimately reported that some of
these activities had violated Tehran’s IAEA safeguards agreement. The agency has not stated
definitively that Iran has pursued nuclear weapons, but has also not yet been able to conclude that
the country’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. The IAEA Board of
Governors referred the matter to the U.N. Security Council in February 2006. Since then, the
council has adopted five resolutions, the most recent of which (Resolution 1835) was adopted in
The Security Council has required Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA’s investigation of its
nuclear activities, suspend its uranium enrichment program, suspend its construction of a heavy-
water reactor and related projects, and ratify the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards
agreement. However, a September 2008 report from IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei
to the agency’s Board of Governors indicated that Tehran has continued to defy the council’s
demands by continuing work on its uranium enrichment program and heavy-water reactor
program. Iran has signed, but not ratified, its Additional Protocol.
Iran and the IAEA agreed in August 2007 on a work plan to clarify the outstanding questions
regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. Most of these questions have essentially been resolved, but
ElBaradei told the agency’s board in June 2008 that the agency still has questions regarding
“possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” A September 2008 report from
ElBaradei stated that the IAEA “has not been able to make progress” on these matters.
This report provides a brief overview of Iran’s nuclear program and describes the legal basis for
the actions taken by the IAEA board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events
Introduc tion ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Backgr ound ............................................................................................................................... 1
Iran and the IAEA.....................................................................................................................2
Iran and the U.N. Security Council...........................................................................................5
Authority for IAEA and U.N. Security Council Actions.................................................................5
U.N. Charter and the Security Council.....................................................................................6
Has Iran Violated the NPT?.............................................................................................................7
Appendix A. Iranian Noncompliance with Its IAEA Safeguards Agreement................................10
Appendix B. Extended Remarks by William Foster Regarding Possible NPT Article II
Vi ol ations ................................................................................................................................... 12
Author Contact Information..........................................................................................................13
Iran ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. Article III of the treaty requires 1
non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to accept comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) safeguards; Tehran concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA in 2
1974. In 2002, the agency began investigating allegations that Iran had conducted clandestine
nuclear activities; the IAEA ultimately reported that some of these activities had violated Tehran’s
safeguards agreement. The agency has not stated definitively that Iran has pursued nuclear
weapons, but has also not yet been able to conclude that the country’s nuclear program is
exclusively for peaceful purposes. The IAEA continues to investigate the program.
Following more than three years of investigation, the IAEA Board of Governors referred the
matter to the U.N. Security Council in February 2006. Since then, the council has adopted five
resolutions requiring Iran to take steps to alleviate international concerns about its nuclear
program. This report provides a brief overview of Iran’s nuclear program and describes the legal
basis for the actions taken by the IAEA board and the Security Council.
For more detailed information about Iran’s nuclear program, see CRS Report RL34544, Iran’s
Nuclear Program: Status, by Paul K. Kerr. For more information about the state of international
diplomacy with Iran, see CRS Report RL32048, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, by
Iran’s construction of a gas centrifuge-based uranium enrichment facility is currently the main
source of proliferation concern. Gas centrifuges enrich uranium by spinning uranium hexafluoride
gas at high speeds to increase the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope. Such centrifuges can
produce both low-enriched uranium (LEU), which can be used in nuclear power reactors, and
highly enriched uranium (HEU), which is one of the two types of fissile material used in nuclear
weapons. HEU can also be used as fuel in certain types of nuclear reactors. Iran also has a
uranium-conversion facility, which converts uranium oxide into several compounds, including
uranium hexafluoride. Tehran claims that it wants to produce LEU for its current and future
Iran’s construction of a reactor moderated by heavy water has also been a source of concern.
Although Tehran says that the reactor is intended for the production of medical isotopes, it is a
proliferation concern because the reactor’s spent fuel will contain plutonium well-suited for use
in nuclear weapons. In order to be used in nuclear weapons, however, plutonium must be
separated from the spent fuel—a procedure called “reprocessing.” Iran has said that it will not
engage in reprocessing.
1 Under the NPT, the five nuclear-weapon states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
All other parties are non-nuclear-weapon states.
2 INFCIRC/214, available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc214.pdf. Non-nuclear-
weapons states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are obligated to conclude comprehensive safeguards
agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran and the IAEA agreed in August 2007 on a work plan to clarify the outstanding questions 3
regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. Most of these questions, which had created suspicions that
Iran had been pursuing a nuclear weapons program, have essentially been resolved. IAEA
Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, however, told the IAEA board June 2, 2008, that there is
“one remaining major [unresolved] issue,” which concerns questions regarding “possible military 4
dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” A September15 report from ElBaradei to the Security
Council and the IAEA board states that the agency “has not been able to make progress” on these
matters. Tehran has questioned the authenticity of some of the evidence underlying the agency’s
concerns and maintains that it has not done any work on nuclear weapons.
The government has also expressed concern to the IAEA that resolving some of these issues
would require agency inspectors to have “access to sensitive information related to its
conventional military and missile related activities.” The IAEA, according to ElBaradei’s report,
has stated its willingness to discuss with Iran
modalities that could enable Iran to demonstrate credibly that the activities referred to in the
documentation are not nuclear related, as Iran asserts, while protecting sensitive information
related to its conventional military activities.
Indeed, the agency says that it has made several specific proposals, but Tehran has not yet
provided the requested information.
The most recent Security Council resolution (1835), adopted September 27, 2008, requires Iran to
cooperate fully with the IAEA’s investigation of its nuclear activities, suspend its uranium
enrichment program, suspend its construction of a heavy-water reactor and related projects, and 5
ratify the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement. However, ElBaradei’s
September report indicated that Tehran has continued to defy the council’s demands by
continuing work on its uranium enrichment program and heavy-water reactor program. Iranian
officials have repeatedly stated that Iran will not suspend its enrichment program. Tehran has
signed, but not ratified, its Additional Protocol.
As noted above, Iran is a party to the NPT and has concluded a comprehensive safeguards
agreement. According to the IAEA, safeguards pursuant to such agreements
are applied to verify a State’s compliance with its undertaking to accept safeguards on all
nuclear material in all its peaceful nuclear activities and to verify that such material is not 6
diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Comprehensive safeguards are designed to enable the IAEA to detect the diversion of nuclear
material from peaceful purposes to nuclear weapons uses, as well as to detect undeclared nuclear
3 The text is available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/2007/infcirc711.pdf.
4 GO/2008/38, available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2007/gov2007-58.pdf.
5 Iran is also reported to be constructing a plant for the production of heavy water.
6 IAEA Safeguards Glossary, op cit. Comprehensive safeguards agreements are based on a model described in
INFCIRC 153, available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc153.pdf.
activities and material.7 Safeguards include agency inspections and monitoring of declared
The agency’s inspections and monitoring authority in a particular country are limited to facilities
that have been declared by the government. Additional Protocols to IAEA comprehensive
safeguards agreements increase the agency’s ability to investigate clandestine nuclear facilities
and activities by increasing the IAEA’s authority to inspect certain nuclear-related facilities and 8
demand information from member-states. Iran signed such a protocol in December 2003 and
agreed to implement the agreement pending ratification. Tehran stopped adhering to its Additional
Protocol in 2006.
The IAEA’s authority to investigate nuclear-weapons-related activity is limited. ElBaradei
explained in a 2005 interview that “… we don’t have an all-encompassing mandate to look for
every computer study on weaponization. Our mandate is to make sure that all nuclear materials in 9
a country are declared to us.” Similarly, a February 2006 report from ElBaradei to the IAEA
board stated that “absent some nexus to nuclear material the Agency’s legal authority to pursue 10
the verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited.”
The current public controversy over Iran’s nuclear program began in August 2002, when the
National Council of Resistance on Iran (NCRI), an Iranian exile group, revealed information
during a press conference (some of which later proved to be accurate) that Tehran had built
nuclear-related facilities that it had not revealed to the IAEA. The United States had been aware 11
of at least some of these activities, according to knowledgeable former officials. Prior to the
NCRI’s revelations, the IAEA had expressed concerns that Iran had not been providing the
agency with all relevant information about its nuclear programs, but had never found the country
in violation of its safeguards agreement.
In fall 2002, the IAEA began to investigate Iran’s nuclear activities at the sites named by the
NCRI; inspectors visited the sites the following February. Adopting its first resolution 12
(GOV/2003/69) on the matter in September 2003, the IAEA board called on Tehran to increase
its cooperation with the agency’s investigation, suspend its uranium enrichment activities, and
“unconditionally sign, ratify and fully implement” an Additional Protocol.
In October 2003, Iran concluded a voluntary agreement with France, Germany, and the United
Kingdom, collectively known as the “E3,” to suspend its enrichment activities, sign and
implement an Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement, and comply fully with the 13
IAEA’s investigation. As a result, the agency’s board decided to refrain from referring the matter
8 Additional Protocols for an individual IAEA member-state are based on the agency’s Model Additional Protocol
(INFCIRC/540), available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/1997/infcirc540c.pdf.
9 “Tackling the Nuclear Dilemma: An Interview with IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei,” February 4, 2005,
available at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_03/ElBaradei.
10 GOV/2006/15, available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-15.pdf.
11 Gary Samore, Former Senior Director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls on the National Security Council,
personal communication June 5, 2008; Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet, “DCI Remarks on Iraq’s
WMD Programs,” February 5, 2004, available at https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/2004/
12 Available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2003/gov2003-69.pdf.
13 The text of the agreement is available at http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/
to the U.N. Security Council. As noted above, Tehran signed this Additional Protocol in
December 2003, but has never ratified it.
Ultimately, the IAEA’s investigation, as well as information Iran provided after the October 2003
agreement, revealed that Iran had engaged in a variety of clandestine nuclear-related activities,
some of which violated the country’s safeguards agreement (see Appendix A). After October
November 2004 to a more detailed suspension agreement. However, Iran resumed uranium
conversion in August 2005 under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had
been elected two months earlier.
On September 24, 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution (GOV/2005/77)15
that, for the first time, found Iran to be in noncompliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement.
The board, however, did not refer Iran to the Security Council, choosing instead to give Tehran
additional time to comply with the board’s demands. The resolution urged Iran:
• To implement transparency measures… [including] access to individuals,
documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military
owned workshops and research and development locations;
• To re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related activity;
• To reconsider the construction of [the] research reactor moderated by heavy
• To ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
• [T]o continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol.
No international legal obligations required Tehran to take these steps. But ElBaradei’s September
2008 report asserted that, without Iranian implementation of such “transparency measures,” the
IAEA “will not be in a position to progress in its verification of the absence of undeclared nuclear
material and activities in Iran.”
Iran announced in January 2006 that it would resume research and development on its centrifuges 16
at Natanz. In response, the IAEA board adopted a resolution (GOV/2006/14) February 4, 2006,
referring the matter to the Security Council and reiterating its call for Iran to take the measures
specified in the September resolution. Two days later, Tehran announced that it would stop
implementing its Additional Protocol.
Iran further scaled back its cooperation with the IAEA in March 2007, when the government
decided to stop complying with a portion of the subsidiary arrangements for its IAEA safeguards 17
agreement. That provision, to which Iran agreed in 2003, requires Tehran to provide design
14 The text of the agreement is available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/2004/infcirc637.pdf.
15 Available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2005/gov2005-77.pdf.
16 Available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-14.pdf.
17 According to the 2001 IAEA Safeguards Glossary, subsidiary arrangements describe the “technical and
administrative procedures for specifying how the provisions laid down in a safeguards agreement are to be applied.”
information for new nuclear facilities “as soon as the decision to construct, or to authorize
construction, of such a facility has been taken, whichever is earlier.” Previously, Iran was required
to provide design information for a new facility only 180 days before introducing nuclear material
into it. The IAEA has asked Iran to “reconsider” this decision.
On March 29, 2006, the U.N. Security Council President issued a statement that called on Iran to
“take the steps required” by the February IAEA board resolution. Such statements are, however,
not legally binding. The council subsequently adopted five resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear
program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), and
1835 (September 2008). The second, third, and fourth resolutions imposed a variety of
restrictions on Iran.
Resolution 1696 was the first to place legally binding Security Council requirements on Iran with
respect to its nuclear program. That resolution made mandatory the IAEA—demanded suspension
and called on Tehran to implement the transparency measures called for by the IAEA board’s
February 2006 resolution. Resolution 1737 reiterated these requirements but expanded the
suspension’s scope to include “work on all heavy water-related projects.”
It is worth noting that the Security Council has acknowledged (in Resolution 1803, for example)
Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which states that parties to the treaty have “the
inalienable right ... to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful 18
The legal authority for the actions taken by the IAEA Board of Governors and the U.N. Security
Council is found in both the IAEA Statute and the U.N. Charter. The following sections discuss
the relevant portions of those documents.
Two sections of the IAEA Statute explain what the agency should do if an IAEA member-state is 19
found to be in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement. Article III B. 4. of the statute states
that the IAEA is to submit annual reports to the U.N. General Assembly and, “when appropriate,”
to the U.N. Security Council. If “there should arise questions that are within the competence of
the Security Council,” the article adds, the IAEA “shall notify the Security Council, as the organ
bearing the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
18 The treaty text is available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc140.pdf.
19 The text of the IAEA Statute is available at http://www.iaea.org/About/statute_text.html.
Additionally, Article XII C. states that IAEA inspectors are to report non-compliance issues to the
agency’s Director-General, who is to report the matter to the IAEA Board of Governors. The
board is then to “call upon the recipient State or States to remedy forthwith any non-compliance
which it finds to have occurred,”as well as “report the non-compliance to all members and to the
Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations.”
In the case of Iran, the September 24, 2005 IAEA board resolution (GOV/2005/77) stated that the
found that Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT
Safeguards Agreement, as detailed in GOV/2003/75 [a November 2003 report from
ElBaradei], constitute non compliance in the context of Article XII.C of the Agency’s
According to the resolution, the board also found
that the history of concealment of Iran’s nuclear activities referred to in the Director
General’s report [GOV/2003/75], the nature of these activities, issues brought to light in the
course of the Agency’s verification of declarations made by Iran since September 2002 and
the resulting absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful
purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council,
as the organ bearing the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and
ElBaradei issued the report cited by the resolution, GOV/2003/75, in November 2003.20 It
described a variety of Iranian nuclear activities, which are detailed in Appendix A, that violated
Tehran’s safeguards agreement. ElBaradei has since reported that Iran has taken corrective
measures to address these safeguards breaches. As noted above, the 2005 resolution called on Iran
to take a variety of actions that Tehran was not legally required to implement.
Several articles of the U.N. Charter, which is a treaty, describe the Security Council’s authority to 21
impose requirements and sanctions on Iran. Article 24 confers on the council “primary
responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” The article also states that
the “specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid
down” in several chapters of the charter, including Chapter VII, which describes the actions that
the council may take in response to “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of
Chapter VII of the charter contains three articles relevant to the Iran case. Security Council
resolutions that made mandatory the IAEA’s demands concerning Iran’s nuclear program invoked
Chapter VII. Article 39 of that chapter states that the council
shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of
aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in
accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
20 Available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2003/gov2003-75.pdf.
21 The text of the charter is available at http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/.
Resolution 1696 invoked Article 40 of Chapter VII “in order to make mandatory the suspension
required by the IAEA.” As noted earlier, that resolution did not impose any sanctions on Iran.
Article 40 states that
the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the
measures provided for in Article 39 [of Chapter VII], call upon the parties concerned to
comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable.
Resolutions 1737, 1747, and 1803, which did impose sanctions, invoked Article 41 of Chapter
VII. According to Article 41, the Security Council
may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give
effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such
measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of
rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance
of diplomatic relations.
As noted above, Security Council resolution 1835 did not impose new sanctions, but reaffirmed
the previous resolutions and called on Iran to comply with them. The sanctions imposed by those
resolutions remain in place. The five permanent members of the council, along with Germany, are
continuing to discuss the matter.
It is worth noting that Article 25 of the U.N. Charter obligates U.N. members “to accept and carry
out the decisions of the Security Council.”
Whether Iran has violated the NPT is unclear. The treaty does not contain a mechanism for
determining that a state-party has violated its obligations. Moreover, there does not appear to be a
formal procedure for determining such violations. An NPT Review Conference would, however,
be one venue for NPT states-parties to make such a determination.
The U.N. Security Council has never declared Iran to be in violation of the NPT; neither the
council nor the U.N. General Assembly has a responsibility to adjudicate treaty violations.
However, the lack of a ruling by the council on Iran’s compliance with the NPT has apparently
had little practical effect because, as noted above, the council has taken action in response to the
IAEA Board of Governors’ determination that Iran has violated its safeguards agreement.
Iran’s violations of its safeguards agreement appear to constitute violations of Article III, which
requires NPT non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to adhere to their safeguards agreements. Tehran
may also have violated provisions of Article II which state that non-nuclear-weapon states-parties
shall not “manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”
or “seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear
As previously noted, the IAEA is continuing to investigate evidence of what ElBaradei described
in June 2008 as “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” Such activities may
22 Portions of this section are based on interviews with U.N. and State Department officials.
indicate that Tehran has violated both Article II provisions described above, but the IAEA has
never reported that Iran has attempted to develop nuclear weapons.
Despite the lack of such an IAEA conclusion, a 2005 State Department report argued that the
country had violated Article II of the NPT:
The breadth of Iran’s nuclear development efforts, the secrecy and deceptions with which
they have been conducted for nearly 20 years, its redundant and surreptitious procurement
channels, Iran’s persistent failure to comply with its obligations to report to the IAEA and to
apply safeguards to such activities, and the lack of a reasonable economic justification for
this program leads us to conclude that Iran is pursuing an effort to manufacture nuclear
weapons, and has sought and received assistance in this effort in violation of Article II of the 23
The report also stated that Iran’s “weapons program combines elements” of Tehran’s declared
nuclear activities, as well as suspected “undeclared fuel cycle and other activities that may exist,
including those that may be run solely be the military.”
The State Department’s reasoning appears to be based on an interpretation of the NPT which
holds that a wide scope of nuclear activities could constitute violations of Article II. The 2005
report states that assessments regarding Article II compliance “must look at the totality of the
facts, including judgments as to” a state-party’s “purpose in undertaking the nuclear activities in
question.” The report also includes a list of activities which could constitute such non-24
The 2005 State Department report cites testimony from then-Arms Control and Disarmament 25
Agency Director William Foster during a 1968 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Foster stated that “facts indicating that the purpose of a particular activity was the acquisition of a
nuclear explosive device would tend to show non-compliance” with Article II. He gave two
examples: “the construction of an experimental or prototype nuclear explosive device” and “the
production of components which could only have relevance” to such a device. However, Foster
also noted that a variety of other activities could also violate Article II, adding that the United
States believed it impossible “to formulate a comprehensive definition or interpretation.”
A November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stated that “until fall 2003, Iranian military 26
entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.” This past
program could be a violation of Article II, although the estimate does not provide any detail about
23 Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and
Commitments, Department of State, August 2005, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/52113.pdf.
24 According to the report, such activities can include (1) the presence of undeclared nuclear facilities; (2) procurement
patterns inconsistent with a civil nuclear program (e.g., clandestine procurement networks, possibly including the use
of front companies, false end-use information, and fraudulent documentation); (3) security measures beyond what
would be appropriate for peaceful, civil nuclear installations; (4) a pattern of Article III safeguards violations
suggestive not of mere mistake or incompetence, but of willful violation and/or systematic deception and denial efforts
aimed at concealing nuclear activities from the IAEA; and (5) a nuclear program with little (or no) coherence for
peaceful purposes, but great coherence for weapons purposes.
25 Nonproliferation Treaty, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy [Part 1] July
10-12, 17, 1968; Session 90-2 (1968). The complete statement regarding Article II violations is in Appendix B.
26 Available at http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf.
It is worth noting that the State Department’s arguments appear to rely heavily on the notion that
a state’s apparent intentions underlying certain nuclear-related activities can be used to determine 27
violations to Article II. This interpretation is not shared by all experts.
27 Personal communication with Andreas Persbo, Senior Researcher, the Verification Research, Training and
The November 2003 report (GOV/2003/75) from IAEA Director-General ElBaradei to the
agency’s Board of Governors details what the September 2005 board resolution described as
“Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its safeguards agreement.”
The report stated that
Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its
obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material
and its processing and use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such material has
been processed and stored.
The report detailed some of these failures and referenced other failures described in two earlier 28
reports (GOV/2003/40 and GOV/2003/63) from ElBaradei to the IAEA board.
According to GOV/2003/40, Iran failed to declare the following activities to the agency:
• The importation of natural uranium, and its subsequent transfer for further
• The processing and use of the imported natural uranium, including the production
and loss of nuclear material, and the production and transfer of resulting waste.
Additionally, Iran failed to
• declare the facilities where nuclear material (including the waste) was received,
stored and processed,
• provide in a timely manner updated design information for a research reactor
located in Tehran, as well as
• provide in a timely manner information on two waste storage sites.
GOV/2003/63 stated that Iran failed to report uranium conversion experiments to the IAEA.
According to GOV/2003/75, Iran failed to report the following activities to the IAEA:
• The use of imported natural uranium hexafluoride for the testing of centrifuges,
as well as the subsequent production of enriched and depleted uranium.
• The importation of natural uranium metal and its subsequent transfer for use in
laser enrichment experiments, including the production of enriched uranium, the
loss of nuclear material during these operations, and the production and transfer
of resulting waste.
• The production of a variety of nuclear compounds from several different
imported nuclear materials, and the production and transfer of resulting wastes.
28 Those reports are available at http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2003/gov2003-40.pdf and
• The production of uranium targets and their irradiation in the Tehran Research
Reactor, the subsequent processing of those targets (including the separation of
plutonium), the production and transfer of resulting waste, and the storage of
unprocessed irradiated targets.
Iran also failed to provide the agency with design information for a variety of nuclear-related
facilities, according to the report. These included the following:
• A centrifuge testing facility.
• Two laser laboratories and locations where resulting wastes were processed.
• Facilities involved in the production of a variety of nuclear compounds.
• The Tehran Research Reactor (with respect to the irradiation of uranium targets),
the hot cell facility where the plutonium separation took place, as well as the
relevant waste handling facility.
Additionally, the report cited Iran’s “failure on many occasions to co-operate to facilitate the
implementation of safeguards, through concealment” of its nuclear activities.
On July 10, 1968, then-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 the
Extension of Remarks by Mr. Foster in Response to Question Regarding Nuclear Explosive
The treaty articles in question are Article II, in which non-nuclear-weapon parties undertake “not
to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,” and
Article IV, which provides that nothing in the Treaty is to be interpreted as affecting the right of
all Parties to the Treaty “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes…in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.” In the course of the negotiation of
the Treaty, United States representatives were asked their views on what would constitute the
“manufacture” of a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device under Article II of the draft
treaty. Our reply was as follows:
“While the general intent of this provision seems clear, and its application to cases such as those
discussed below should present little difficulty, the United States believe [sic] it is not possible at
this time to formulate a comprehensive definition or interpretation. There are many hypothetical
situations which might be imagined and it is doubtful that any general definition or interpretation,
unrelated to specific fact situations could satisfactorily deal with all such situations.”
“Some general observations can be made with respect to the question of whether or not a specific
activity constitutes prohibited manufacture under the proposed treaty. For example, facts
indicating that the purpose of a particular activity was the acquisition of a nuclear explosive
device would tend to show non-compliance. (Thus, the construction of an experimental or
prototype nuclear explosive device would be covered by the term ‘manufacture’ as would be the
production of components which could only have relevance to a nuclear explosive device.) Again,
while the placing of a particular activity under safeguards would not, in and of itself, settle the
question of whether that activity was in compliance with the treaty, it would of course be helpful
in allaying any suspicion of non-compliance.”
“It may be useful to point out, for illustrative purposes, several activities which the United States
would not consider per se to be violations of the prohibitions in Article II. Neither uranium
enrichment nor the stockpiling of fissionable material in connection with a peaceful program
would violate Article II so long as these activities were safeguarded under Article III. Also clearly
permitted would be the development, under safeguards, of plutonium fueled power reactors,
including research on the properties of metallic plutonium, nor would Article II interfere with the
development or use of fast breeder reactors under safeguards.”
Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation