On 12 February, I wrote a detailed and neutral analysis of Iran’s nuclear programme and its potential capacity to produce weapons. The article was in anticipation of the report by IAEA on Iran sent to its board today, that was intended to wrap up the IAEA’s investigation of Iran’s past and present nuclear activities. The report is classified until 3 March, but has been leaked, and I append a full copy below fyi — as with WHO, other intergovernmental, and government, reports you need to understand diplomatic speak fluently to understand the nuances.
Today’s report by the IAEA reveals a disappointing lack of progress, far short of the agency’s expectations. But there is nonetheless reason to believe that reason may yet prevail in this charged dossier, where excessive belligerence on all sides has stalled an acceptable resolution.
I’ve appended below some excerpts from my earlier articles, which may help interpret the new IAEA report. For more detailed analyses of the technical issues in the Iran case, I’d recommend the site of the Institute for Science and International Security, and a January article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist by Richard Garwin, a former nuclear weapons designer who is now a major force for disarmament. Another good source of information is the Nuclear Threat Initiative. The IAEA page on Iran is here.
Abridged excerpts from my earlier articles, and the full text of the new IAEA report appended below:
In 2003, Iranian opposition groups identified the physics research centre at Lavizan-Shian in northeastern Tehran as a clandestine nuclear facility. But by the time inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) got to the site in June 2004, Iran had bulldozed the facility to the ground, meticulously cleaned the site and removed all the topsoil.
The IAEA has unravelled a long list of Iran’s flagrant violations of IAEA nuclear-safeguard obligations. Iran failed to declare imports of 1,800 kilograms of uranium products from China in 1991. It neglected to tell the IAEA about uranium-enrichment activities using both gas-centrifuge and laser-enrichment techniques. And it failed to report research such as separating plutonium from irradiated uranium dioxide (UO2).
From 1985 until 2002, Iran ran a covert nuclear programme based mainly on enrichment technologies it obtained from the black-market weapons network operated by notorious Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Getting a clearer picture of what went on in the programme will help to clarify the nation’s current nuclear motives, although the safeguard violations alone throw serious doubts on the alleged peaceful intentions of its nuclear efforts.
Last December, the US intelligence agencies issued a consensus estimate on Iran that concluded that Iran had stopped its weapons programme in late 2003. The estimate has been widely interpreted as a U-turn by the United States, but a key point in the text went almost unnoticed — that Iran had a weapons programme at all. Moreover, the estimate defined the “nuclear-weapons programme” as meaning covert nuclear enrichment, or efforts to build a nuclear warhead.
It did not cover Iran’s supposedly civilian fuel-cycle facilities. Iran has ignored demands from the United Nations Security Council that it suspend enrichment and has relentlessly expanded its capacity at a plant in Natanz.
Using just the existing centrifuges operating at levels stated by Iran, Garwin calculates that if the plant switched them to HEU and fed them with the LEU now being legally produced, it would be possible to make enough material for 61.6 kilograms of HEU a year — the equivalent of three bombs. The concern is that once Iran reaches these levels it might ‘break out’ and go for the bomb (see ‘Break-out scenarios’). .
If Iran were to break out, when would it happen? December’s US intelligence estimate stated “moderate confidence” that the earliest possible date would be late 2009, but that this was “very unlikely” and it was more likely to be between 2010 and 2015. It could even be later than that because of technical problems such as impurities in the uranium feed and difficulties in operating banks of centrifuges. Nature has seen preliminary results from the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s Theoretical Centrifuge and Cascade Simulator, a sophisticated model of the output of the current Natanz 3,000 centrifuge cascade under various configurations. One of the scenarios generated posits that if the cascade operated at full capacity, Iran could break out as early as July this year, with enough HEU for a bomb by the end of the year. Operating at only one-quarter of capacity, it would reach that point by 2010.
Box: A mine of activity
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already uncovered violations by Iran of the IAEA’s safeguards obligations and is due to report by the end of the month on unresolved issues, including:
The Gchine mine Iran hid the Gchine uranium mine from the IAEA until 2004, and the IAEA wants an explanation of suspected military involvement in its running. Iran says that domestic uranium is key to achieving nuclear independence, but its annual output of 71 tonnes of natural uranium from both its declared mines falls far short of the amount needed to fuel a nuclear power plant. It is, however, more than adequate for a weapons programme. Iran also has a reliable supply of nuclear fuel from Russia.
The ‘Green Salt’ project Information obtained by the US Central Intelligence Agency from a laptop computer in Iran discussed a ‘Green Salt’ project, named after the common name of uranium tetrafluoride (UF4), a key intermediary in the production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for enrichment. The documents described a possible clandestine processing plant and military connections, including tests related to nuclear weapons and missiles.
Polonium-210 The IAEA has detected undeclared work in Iran on polonium-210, an element with few applications other than as a trigger for nuclear weapons. Iran says that the polonium was being used for research on satellite batteries.
Uranium warhead hemispheres IAEA inspectors found a 15-page document in Iran detailing how to reduce UF6 to uranium metal, and to cast it into the hemispheres used in nuclear warheads. Iran has told the agency that it received the document by accident among documentation on enrichment centrifuges it received from the Khan black-market network in 1987. The IAEA is seeking clarifications from Pakistan. The agency has no evidence that Iran has produced hemispheres, but notes that it has declared “a small UF6 to uranium metal conversion line in the Uranium Conversion Facility”.
Given the scale of Khan’s ‘nuclear Wal-Mart’, and the volume of material and documents it has supplied Iran with, it is possible that the document was like “one of those plastic submarines you get in a packet of cereal”, says a source close to the IAEA inquiry.
Box: Break-out scenarios
Experts have come up with several scenarios under which Iran might develop a nuclear bomb. In one scenario, Iran continues to produce only low-enriched uranium, thereby meeting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, until it has sufficient stock to produce enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for at least one bomb. It then withdraws from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), expels IAEA inspectors and switches its enrichment capacity over to produce HEU — an operation that would take just weeks and would generate enough HEU for a bomb in 3–6 months.
Iran admitted last week that it has been testing a more advanced design of centrifuge, the IR-2, that will allow it to enrich uranium 2.5 times faster than it can with its existing P-1 centrifuge.
But given the threat of military strikes on Natanz, Iran would probably use the centrifuge expertise it has acquired to build a secret enrichment plant. For the past two years, the nation has denied the IAEA permission to inspect facilities other than its declared nuclear sites. In its last report on Iran in November 2007, the IAEA concluded that it was “not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”. That is because Iran is one of almost half of NPT member states that have not ratified extra powers given to the agency in 1997, such as short-notice inspections of any site it wants. Iran had been voluntarily allowing such broader access since May 2004 but stopped doing so in January 2006. The big question is whether the new report expected from the IAEA will reveal any substantive change here.
The full text of today’s classified report by the IAEA
Board of Governors
Date: 22 February 2008
For official use only
Item 5(c) of the provisional agenda
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Report by the Director General
1. On 15 November 2007, the Director General reported to the Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) (GOV/2007/58). This report covers the relevant developments since that date.
2. On 11 and 12 January 2008, the Director General met in Tehran with
H.E. Ayatollah A. Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran; H.E. Mr. M. Ahmadinejad, President of Iran; H.E. Mr. G. Aghazadeh, Vice President of Iran and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI); H.E. Mr. M. Mottaki, Foreign Minister; and H.E. Mr. S. Jalili, Secretary, Supreme National Security Council of Iran. The purpose of the visit was to discuss ways and means of implementing all relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council as well as accelerating implementation of the work plan agreed between Iran and the Secretariat on 21 August 2007 aimed at the clarification of outstanding safeguards implementation issues (GOV/2007/48, Attachment).
3. During the discussions, the Iranian leadership stated that the country’s nuclear programme had always been exclusively for peaceful purposes and that there had never been a nuclear weapons development programme. The Iranian authorities agreed to accelerate implementation of the work plan.
A. Implementation of the Work Plan on Outstanding Issues
A.1. Source of Contamination
4. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided Iran with questions relating to the source of the uranium particle contamination found on some equipment at a technical university, the nature of the equipment, the envisioned use of the equipment and the names and roles of individuals and entities involved, including the Physics Research Centre (PHRC) (GOV/2007/58, para. 24). This equipment was procured by the former head of PHRC, who had also been a professor at the university. He had also procured, or attempted to procure, other equipment, such as balancing machines, mass spectrometers, magnets and fluorine handling equipment, which could be useful in uranium enrichment activities (GOV/2006/27, para. 25).
5. On 10-12 December 2007 and on 15-16 December 2007, meetings took place in Tehran between the Agency and Iranian officials during which Iran provided answers to the questions and the Agency requested additional clarifications regarding the intended purpose of the equipment, the persons and entities who had requested the items, the recipients, and the use and locations, both past and present, of the equipment. In a follow-up letter dated 18 December 2007, the Agency provided Iran with further details regarding the equipment.
6. In a letter dated 3 January 2008, the Agency reminded Iran that Iran needed to provide additional clarifications to allow a full assessment of the issue of the source of contamination and procurement efforts.
7. In a letter dated 8 January 2008, Iran provided answers to the questions raised by the Agency in its letter of 3 January 2008.
A.1.1. Use of Equipment and Source of Contamination
8. According to Iran, vacuum equipment was procured in 1990 on behalf of the technical university by the former Head of PHRC because of his expertise in procurement and PHRC’s business connections. The equipment was intended to be used at the Physics Department of the technical university for the coating of items such as optical mirrors, optical lasers, laser mirrors, resistive layers
for solar cells and mirrors for use in medical operating theatres.
9. Iran stated that, upon receipt of the equipment in 1991, it was noticed that the delivery was incomplete and that some incorrect parts had been supplied. The equipment was therefore put into storage at the university. Iran further stated that a number of letters of complaint were written to the supplier company at intervals until 1994, but to no avail.
10. According to Iran, some individual pieces of equipment were used both inside and outside the university during the period 1994-2003 in research, operation and maintenance activities involving vacuum conditions, but other parts of the consignment were never used. As its explanation of how the contamination had come about, Iran said that, in 1998, an individual who was testing used centrifuge components from Pakistan at the laboratory at Vanak Square for the AEOI (GOV/2004/34, para. 31) had asked the vacuum service of the university to come and repair a pump. Iran stated that some items of the vacuum equipment mentioned above were used for this repair activity and that, when these items were eventually brought back to the university, they spread uranium particle contamination.
11. To assess the information provided by Iran, the Agency spoke with the individual from the Vanak Square laboratory and the vacuum technician from the university who had carried out the repairs. The Agency was also shown the pump that had been repaired using the equipment concerned.
The Agency made a detailed analysis of the signatures of the contamination of the equipment and compared them with those of the swipe samples taken from the centrifuge components in Iran which had originated in Pakistan. The Agency concluded that the explanation and supporting documentation provided by Iran regarding the possible source of contamination by uranium particles at the university were not inconsistent with the data currently available to the Agency. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage. However, the Agency continues, in accordance with its procedures and practices, to seek corroboration of its findings and to verify this issue as part of its verification of the completeness of Iran’s declarations.
A.1.2. Procurement activities by the former Head of PHRC
12. According to Iran, none of the equipment purchased or enquired about by the former Head of PHRC (see para. 4 above) was intended for use in uranium enrichment or conversion related activities, whether for research and development (R&D) or for educational activities in these fields. Procurements and procurement attempts by the former Head of PHRC were said by Iran to have also been made on behalf of other entities of Iran, as described below.
13. Iran stated that the vacuum equipment purchased by the Head of PHRC had been intended for educational purposes in the Vacuum Technique Laboratory of the university, specifically for use in experiments by students on thin layer production using evaporation and vacuum techniques, coating using vacuum systems and leak detection in vacuum systems. To support its statements, Iran presented instruction manuals related to the various experiments, internal communications on the procurement of the equipment and shipping documents. Agency inspectors visited the Vacuum Technique Laboratory and confirmed the presence of the equipment there.
14. Iran stated that some magnets had also been purchased by the Head of the PHRC on behalf of the Physics Department of the university for educational purposes in “Lenz-Faraday experiments”. To support this statement, Iran presented a number of documents: instruction manuals related to the experiments; requests for funding which indicated that a decision had been made to approach the Head of PHRC to order and purchase the parts; and an invoice for cash sales from the supplier. Iran stated that the magnets were discarded after being used.
15. According to Iran, the Head of PHRC attempted twice – once successfully – to buy a balancing machine for the Mechanical Engineering Department of the university for educational purposes, such as in the measurement of vibrations and forces in rotating components due to unbalancing. To support Iran’s statement, the Agency was shown laboratory experiment procedures, requests about procurement and a letter confirming the completion of the purchase. Agency inspectors visited the Mechanical Engineering Department and confirmed the presence of the balancing machine there.
16. According to Iran, the Head of PHRC also attempted to purchase 45 gas cylinders, each containing 2.2 kg of fluorine, on behalf of the Office of Industrial Interrelations of the university. Iran stated that the intended purpose of the fluorine had been to enhance the chemical stability of polymeric vessels. To support its statements, Iran presented a request to buy fluorine and a communication between the Head of PHRC and the President of the university about the proposed supplier’s refusal to deliver the goods.
17. Iran stated that the AEOI had encountered difficulties with procurement because of international sanctions imposed on the country, and that that was why the AEOI had requested the Dean of the university to assist in the procurement of a UF6 mass spectrometer. According to Iran, in 1988, the
Dean of the university approached the Head of the Mechanics Workshop of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which belonged to the Ministry of Sepah, and asked him to handle the procurement. According to Iran, the mass spectrometer was never delivered. The Head of the Mechanics Workshop, who was later appointed Head of PHRC when it was established in 1989, is the same person involved in the other procurement attempts mentioned above.
18. The Agency took note of the information and supporting documents provided by Iran as well as the statements made by the former Head of PHRC to the Agency and concluded that the replies were not inconsistent with the stated use of the equipment. The role and activities of PHRC will be further addressed in connection with the alleged studies as discussed below.
A.2. Uranium Metal Document
19. On 8 November 2007, the Agency received a copy from Iran of the 15-page document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal and the machining of enriched uranium metal into hemispheres, which are components of nuclear weapons. Iran reiterated that this document had been received along with the P-1 centrifuge documentation in 1987 and that it had not
been requested by Iran. The Agency is still waiting for a response from Pakistan on the circumstances of the delivery of this document in order to understand the full scope and content of the offer made by the network in 1987 (GOV/2006/15, paras 20-22).
20. Polonium-210 is of interest to the Agency because it can be used not only for civilian applications (such as radioisotope batteries), but also – in conjunction with beryllium – for military purposes, such as neutron initiators in some designs of nuclear weapons. On 20-21 January 2008, a meeting took place in Tehran between the Agency and Iranian officials during which Iran provided
answers to the questions raised by the Agency in its letter dated 15 September 2007 regarding polonium-210 research (GOV/2007/58, para. 26). The Agency’s questions included a request to see the original project documentation.
21. According to Iran, in the 1980s, scientists from the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre (TNRC) were asked to propose new research activities. A project called “Production of 210Po by the irradiation of 209Bi in the TNRC reactor” was proposed and eventually approved by the Scientific Advisory Committee of TNRC in 1988. The project consisted of fundamental research aimed at
enhancing knowledge about this process. According to Iran, it was not aimed at a specific immediate application. However, a potential use in radioisotope batteries, if the chemical extraction of polonium- 210 proved successful, was mentioned in the initial proposal.
22. Iran reiterated that the project was not part of any larger R&D project, but had been a personal initiative of the project leader. According to Iran, the chemist working on the project left the country before full chemical processing had been performed, the project was aborted and the decayed samples were discarded as waste (GOV/2004/11, para. 30).
23. To support its statements, Iran presented additional copies of papers and literature searches that had formed the basis for the request for approval of the project. Iran also provided copies of the project proposal, the meeting minutes and the approval document from the Scientific Advisory Committee of TNRC, as well as a complete copy of the reactor logbook for the entire period that the
samples were present in the reactor.
24. Based on an examination of all information provided by Iran, the Agency concluded that the explanations concerning the content and magnitude of the polonium-210 experiments were consistent with the Agency’s findings and with other information available to it. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage. However, the Agency continues, in accordance with its
procedures and practices, to seek corroboration of its findings and to verify this issue as part of its verification of the completeness of Iran’s declarations.
A.4. Gchine Mine
25. On 22 and 23 January 2008, a meeting took place in Tehran between the Agency and Iranian officials during which Iran provided answers to the questions raised by the Agency in its letter dated 15 September 2007 (GOV/2007/58, para. 27) with a view to achieving a better understanding of the
complex arrangements governing the past and current administration of the Gchine uranium mine and mill (GOV/2005/67, paras 26-31).
26. According to Iran, the exploitation of uranium at the Gchine mine, as well as the ore processing activities at the Gchine uranium ore concentration (UOC) plant, have always been and remain the responsibility of the AEOI.
27. Iran stated that, by 1989, the extent of uranium reserves at Saghand in central Iran had been established in cooperation with Chinese experts. Considering the promising output of this region, a contract for equipping the Saghand mine and designing a uranium ore processing plant was concluded
with Russian companies in 1995. Insufficient funding was allocated in the Government’s 1994-1998 five-year plan for the AEOI to pursue activities at both Gchine and Saghand. Since there was more uranium (estimated 1000 tonnes) at Saghand than at Gchine (estimated 40 tonnes), it was decided to spend the available funds on Saghand.
28. According to Iran, in the period 1993-1998, tasks such as the preparation of technical reports and studies, and some chemical testing of ores, were performed at the AEOI Ore Processing Center (OPC) at TNRC. The focus of some of the documentation work had been to justify funding of Gchine in the 1999-2003 five-year plan. These efforts were successful and funding for further exploration and
exploitation at Gchine was approved in the plan. A decision to construct a UOC plant at Gchine, known as “Project 5/15”, was made on 25 August 1999.
29. During the 22-23 January 2008 meetings, Iran also provided the Agency with supporting documentation regarding the budget, the five-year plans, contracts with foreign entities and the preparation of studies and reports. The Agency concluded that the documentation was sufficient to confirm the AEOI’s continuing interest in and activity at Gchine in the 1993-1999 period.
30. Regarding the origin and role of the Kimia Maadan (KM) Company, Iran stated that the OPC, in addition to its own staff, had hired consultants and experts for various projects, including for work relating to Gchine. When budget approval was given in 1999 for exploration and exploitation at Gchine, some experts and consultants had formed a company (KM) to take on a contract from the AEOI for the Gchine plant. Supporting documentation was provided to the Agency showing that KM was registered as a company on 4 May 2000. Iran stated that KM’s core staff of about half a dozen people consisted of experts who had previously worked for the OPC. At the peak of activity, the company employed over 100 people. In addition to its own staff, KM made use of experts from universities and subcontractors to work on the project.
31. According to Iran, KM was given conceptual design information by the AEOI consisting of drawings and technical reports. KM’s task was to do the detailed design, to procure and install equipment and to put the Gchine UOC plant into operation. The contract imposed time constraints and the time pressure led to some mistakes being made. After the detailed design was completed, changes had to be made which led to financial problems for KM.
32. Iran stated that KM had had only one project – the one with the AEOI for construction of the Gchine UOC plant on a turnkey basis. However, the company had also helped with procurement for the AEOI because of the AEOI’s procurement constraints due to sanctions (GOV/2006/15, para. 39). A document listing items procured for the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) was provided by Iran. According to Iran, because of KM’s financial problems, the company ceased work on the Gchine project in June 2003, when the three-year contract with the AEOI came to an end. Iran stated that KM was officially deregistered on 8 June 2003 and provided a document supporting this statement. After KM stopped work, the OPC again took over work on the Gchine UOC plant.
33. Iran stated that KM had been able to progress quickly from its creation in May 2000 and to install foundations for the UOC plant by late December 2000 because the conceptual design for the plant had been done by the OPC. This conceptual design and other “know-how” had been supplied to KM, which used the information for the detailed design of processing equipment. KM was therefore quickly able to prepare drawings and issue purchase orders. Documents supporting the conceptual work done by the AEOI were presented to the Agency by Iran.
34. Much of the supporting information provided by Iran had not been presented to the Agency during past discussions about Gchine. The Agency concluded that the information and explanations provided by Iran were supported by the documentation, the content of which is consistent with the information already available to the Agency. The Agency considers this question no longer outstanding at this stage. However, the Agency continues, in accordance with its procedures and practices, to seek corroboration of its findings and continues to verify this issue as part of verification of the completeness of Iran’s declarations.
A.5. Alleged Studies
35. The Agency has continued to urge Iran, as demanded by the Security Council, to address the alleged studies concerning the conversion of uranium dioxide (UO2) into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) (the green salt project), high explosives testing and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle, which could have a military nuclear dimension and which appear to have administrative interconnections, and in view of their possible link to nuclear material (GOV/2007/58, para. 28). As part of the work plan, Iran agreed to address these alleged studies.
36. On 27 and 28 January 2008 and from 3 to 5 February 2008, the Agency and Iran discussed the alleged studies at meetings in Tehran. During these discussions, the Agency provided detailed information about the allegations and asked for clarification concerning other issues that had arisen during the implementation of the work plan, including the roles of PHRC, KM, the Education Research Institute (ERI) and the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) (GOV/2004/83, paras 100-101).
37. The Agency showed Iran certain documentation which the Agency had been given by other Member States, purportedly originating from Iran, including a flow sheet of bench scale conversion of UO2 to UF4. The documents show a capacity of the process of about 1 tonne per year of UF4. The flow sheet has KM markings on it and refers to “Project 5/13.” The documentation includes communications between the project staff and another private company on the acquisition of process instrumentation. These communications also make reference to the leadership of the project concerning the missile re-entry vehicle. The Agency also presented a sketch of a process to produce 50 tonnes of UF4 per year.
38. Iran stated that the allegations were baseless and that the information which the Agency had shown to Iran was fabricated. However, Iran agreed to clarify its statement in detail. On 8 February and 12 February 2008, the Agency reiterated in writing its request for additional clarifications. On 14 February 2008, Iran responded, reiterating its earlier statements and declaring that this was its final
assessment on this point. Iran stated that the only organization that had been, and was, involved in fuel cycle activities was the AEOI and that the AEOI had had a contract with KM to develop a UOC plant in Gchine, which was the only project in which KM was ever involved. In Iran’s view, the flow sheet was a fabrication and the accusation baseless.
39. During the meetings on 3-5 February 2008, the Agency made available documents for examination by Iran and provided additional technical information related to: the testing of high voltage detonator firing equipment; the development of an exploding bridgewire detonator (EBW); the simultaneous firing of multiple EBW detonators; and the identification of an explosive testing
arrangement that involved the use of a 400 m shaft and a firing capability remote from the shaft by a distance of 10 km, all of which the Agency believes would be relevant to nuclear weapon R&D. Iran stated that the documents were fabricated and that the information contained in those documents could
easily be found in open sources. During the meetings mentioned above, the Agency also described parameters and development work related to the Shahab 3 missile, in particular technical aspects of a re-entry vehicle, and made available to Iran for examination a computer image provided by other Member States showing a schematic layout of the contents of the inner cone of a re-entry vehicle. This layout has been assessed by the Agency as quite likely to be able to accommodate a nuclear device. Iran stated that its missile programme involved the use of conventional warheads only and was also part of the country’s space programme, and that the schematic layout shown by the Agency was baseless and fabricated.
40. During the meetings of 27-28 January and 3-5 February 2008, the Agency asked Iran to clarify a number of procurement actions by the ERI, PHRC and IAP which could relate to the abovementioned alleged studies. These included training courses on neutron calculations, the effect of shock waves on metal, enrichment/isotope separation and ballistic missiles. Efforts to procure spark gaps, shock wave software, neutron sources, special steel parts (GOV/2006/15, para. 37) and radiation measurement equipment, including borehole gamma spectrometers, were also made. In its written response on 5 February 2008, Iran stated that ‘PAM shock’ software was enquired about “in order to study aircraft, collision of cars, airbags and for the design of safety belts.” Iran also stated that the radiation monitors it had enquired about were meant to be used for radiation protection purposes. Iran’s response regarding the efforts to procure training courses on neutron calculations, and enrichment/isotope separation, spark gaps, shock wave software, neutron sources and radiation
measurement equipment for borehole gamma spectrometers is still awaited.
41. During the same meetings, the Agency requested clarification of the roles of certain officials and institutes and their relation to nuclear activities. Iran was also asked to clarify projects such as the so-called “Project 4” (possibly uranium enrichment) and laser related R&D activities. Iran denied the existence of some of the organizations and project offices referred to in the documentation and denied that other organizations named were involved in nuclear related activities. Iran also denied the existence of some of the people named in the documentation and said allegations about the roles of other people named were baseless. Iran’s response to the Agency’s request regarding “Project 4” and
laser related R&D activities is still awaited 42. On 15 February 2008, the Agency proposed a further meeting to show additional documentation on the alleged studies to Iran, after being authorized to do so by the countries which had provided it. Iran has not yet responded to the Agency’s proposal.
B. Current Enrichment Related Activities
43. On 12 December 2007, the first physical inventory taking was carried out at the Fuel
Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz and verified by the Agency. Since the beginning of operations in February 2007, a total of 1670 kg of UF6 had been fed into the cascades. The operator presented, inter alia, about 75 kg of UF6 as the product, with a stated enrichment of 3.8% U-235. The throughput of the facility has been well below its declared design capacity. There has been no installation of centrifuges outside the original 18-cascade area. Installation work, including equipment and sub-header pipes, is continuing for other cascade areas. Since March 2007, a total of nine unannounced inspections have been carried out at FEP. All nuclear material at FEP remains under Agency containment and
44. On 8 November 2007, Iran stated that it “agreed that exchanging of the new centrifuge generation information” would be discussed with the Agency in December 2007 (GOV/2007/58, para. 33). On 13 January 2008, the Director General and Deputy Director General for Safeguards visited an AEOI R&D laboratory at Kalaye Electric, where they were given information on R&D
activities being carried out there. These included work on four different centrifuge designs: two subcritical rotor designs, a rotor with bellows and a more advanced centrifuge. Iran informed the Agency that the R&D laboratory was developing centrifuge components, measuring equipment and vacuum pumps with the aim of having entirely indigenous production capabilities in Iran.
45. On 15 January 2008, Iran informed the Agency about the planned installation of the first new generation subcritical centrifuge (IR-2) at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) and provided relevant design information. On 29 January 2008, the Agency confirmed that a single IR-2 test machine and a 10-machine IR-2 test cascade had been installed at PFEP. Iran reported that about
0.8 kg of UF6 had been fed to the single machine between 22 and 27 January 2008. Iran has continued to test P-1 centrifuges in one single machine, one 10-, one 20- and one 164-machine cascade at PFEP. Between 23 October 2007 and 21 January 2008, Iran fed a total of about 8 kg of UF6 into the single P-1 and the 10-machine P-1 cascade; no nuclear material was fed into the 20- and 164-machine cascades. At the end of January 2008, the single P-1 machine and the 10- and 20-machine P-1 cascades were dismantled and the space was used for the new IR-2 machines. All activities took place under Agency containment and surveillance.
46. On 5 February 2008, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards and the Director of Safeguards Operations B visited laboratories at Lashkar Abad, where laser enrichment activities had taken place in 2003 and earlier. The laboratories are now run by a private company, which is producing and developing laser equipment for industrial purposes. All the former laser equipment has been dismantled and some of it is stored at the site. The management of the company provided detailed information on current and planned activities, including plans for extensive new construction work, and stated that they are not carrying out, and are not planning, any uranium enrichment activities.
C. Reprocessing Activities
47. The Agency has continued monitoring the use and construction of hot cells at the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility (the MIX Facility) and the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40) through inspections and design information verification. There have been no indications of ongoing reprocessing related activities at those facilities. In addition, Iran has stated that there have been no reprocessing related R&D activities in Iran, which the Agency can confirm only with respect to these facilities.
D. Heavy Water Reactor Related Projects
48. On 5 February 2008, the Agency carried out design information verification at the IR-40 and noted that construction of the facility was ongoing. The Agency has continued to monitor the construction of the Heavy Water Production Plant using satellite imagery. The imagery appears to indicate that the plant is operating. E. Other Implementation Issues
E.1. Uranium Conversion
49. During the current conversion campaign at UCF, which began on 31 March 2007, approximately 120 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6 had been produced as of 2 February 2008. This brings the total amount of UF6 produced at UCF since March 2004 to 309 tonnes, all of which remains under Agency containment and surveillance. Iran has stated that it is carrying out no uranium
conversion related R&D activities other than those at Esfahan.
E.2. Design Information
50. On 30 March 2007, the Agency requested Iran to reconsider its decision to suspend the implementation of the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1. (GOV/2007/22, paras 12-14), but there has been no progress on this issue. However, Iran has provided updated design information for PFEP.
E.3. Other Matters
51. On 26 November 2007, the Agency verified and sealed in the Russian Federation the fresh fuel foreseen for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), before its shipment to Iran. As of February 2008, all fuel assemblies had been received, verified and re-sealed at BNPP.
52. The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. Iran has also responded to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on the issues raised in the context of the work plan, with the exception of the alleged studies. Iran has provided access to individuals in response to the Agency’s requests. Although direct access has not been provided to individuals said to be associated with the alleged studies, responses have been provided in writing to some of the Agency’s questions.
53. The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran, in accordance with the work plan, are consistent with its findings – in the case of the polonium-210 experiments and the Gchine mine – or are not inconsistent with its findings – in the case of the contamination at the technical university and the procurement activities of the former Head of PHRC. Therefore, the
Agency considers those questions no longer outstanding at this stage. However, the Agency continues, in accordance with its procedures and practices, to seek corroboration of its findings and to verify these issues as part of its verification of the completeness of Iran’s declarations.
54. The one major remaining issue relevant to the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme is the alleged studies on the green salt project, high explosives testing and the missile re-entry vehicle. This is a matter of serious concern and critical to an assessment of a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear programme. The Agency was able to show some relevant documentation to Iran on 3-5
February 2008 and is still examining the allegations made and the statements provided by Iran in response. Iran has maintained that these allegations are baseless and that the data have been fabricated. The Agency’s overall assessment requires, inter alia, an understanding of the role of the uranium metal document, and clarifications concerning the procurement activities of some military related institutions still not provided by Iran. The Agency only received authorization to show some further material to Iran on 15 February 2008. Iran has not yet responded to the Agency’s request of that same date for Iran to view this additional documentation on the alleged studies. In light of the above, the Agency is not yet in a position to determine the full nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. However, it should be noted that the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard. The Director General has urged Iran to
engage actively with the Agency in a more detailed examination of the documents available about the alleged studies which the Agency has been authorized to show to Iran.
55. The Agency has recently received from Iran additional information similar to that which Iran had previously provided pursuant to the Additional Protocol, as well as updated design information. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s current declared nuclear programme has become clearer. However, this information has been provided on an ad hoc basis and not in a consistent and
complete manner. The Director General has continued to urge Iran to implement the Additional Protocol at the earliest possible date and as an important confidence building measure requested by the Board of Governors and affirmed by the Security Council. The Director General has also urged Iran to implement the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1 on the early provision of design information. Iran has expressed its readiness to implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol and the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1, “if the nuclear file is returned from the Security Council to the IAEA”.
56. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP and FEP. In addition, Iran started the development of new generation centrifuges. Iran has also continued construction of the IR-40 reactor and operation of the Heavy Water Production Plant.
57. With regard to its current programme, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about its scope and nature. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally importantly, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. With the exception of the issue of the alleged studies, which remains outstanding, the Agency has no concrete information about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Although Iran has provided some additional detailed information about its current activities on an ad hoc basis, the Agency will not be in a position to make progress towards providing credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran before reaching some clarity about the nature of the alleged studies, and without implementation of the Additional Protocol. This is especially important in the light of the many years of undeclared activities in Iran and the confidence deficit created as a result. The Director General therefore urges Iran to implement all necessary measures called for by the Board of Governors and the Security Council to build confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
58. The Director General will continue to report as appropriate.