Mark HibbsAmano at CFR on PMD and SLC

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was at the Council on Foreign Relations for an hour of on-the-record discussion yesterday. George Perkovich moderated. Here’s the link.


  • IAEA “will keep asking questions” to Iran about PMD in parallel with ongoing P5+1 diplomacy
  • DPRK developments are “equally worrying” to states in the region–no IAEA verification for three years
  • There is “basic support” for the State-Level Concept for safeguards but member states have questions on “how far we should go” with SLC
  • IAEA Secretariat “is willing to report” to board of governors on SLC
  • “Top of the agenda” for Amano second term are Iran and implementation by all member states of their binding safeguards obligations
  • Investigation showed that hackers stole no safeguards-related information from IAEA servers
  • IAEA will share PMD-related documents and data with Iran after “negotiations” and “when appropriate”
  • IAEA has not identified any masterminds behind PMD-related activities
  • IAEA now knows where on the Parchin site it wants to get access
  • Beyond PMD issue, IAEA wants EIF of AP and compliance with Code 3.1 by Iran


  1. Amin (History)

    Some times I get the feeling that Amano is being two-faced with Iran.

    – IAEA will share PMD-related documents and data with Iran after “negotiations” and “when appropriate”

    .. And “when appropriate”……, Basically real life #trolling

  2. Joe (History)

    “Beyond PMD issue, IAEA wants EIF of AP and compliance with Code 3.1 by Iran”
    One 14 word sentence containing 5 un-expanded acronyms/cryptic references is hard on this old man’s brain :>}
    Please consider expanding the first reference to an acronym in a post to aid the un-immersed in the audience in understanding what you are talking about.

  3. yousaf (History)

    A rich harvest of TLAs here.

    I fail to understand “wants EIF of AP” — it is OK to want this, but there is no obligation to grant this want. I want a lot of things also.

    One gets into vague legal territory when one strays from the real technical mission of the IAEA: nuclear materials accountancy. Vague “worries” and “concerns” are immaterial, especially absent an AP.

    It would also be good if there were firm legal and technical standards for findings of “non-compliance”; and, also, it would be good if there was consistency in how nations were treated once found in non-compliance.

    In any case, for what it’s worth, my advice to IAEA is here:

    • mark (History)


      DG Amano wants an AP in Iran. I want an AP in Iran.

      Don’t you want an AP in Iran?

      Yes or no answer, please.

    • yousaf (History)


      yes, I want an AP in Iran.

      Also in Brazil and Argentina.

      It is OK for you and I to want an AP in Iran as we are not working for a _technical_ agency of the UN.

      It is not OK for the DG of the IAEA to express such a want, since it is essentially a political statement.

      The IAEA should carry out its mission to the best of the ability, given the reality of the agreements signed to by various nations, AP or not. The DG ought not make his/her political “wants” public knowledge.

      The UNSC, being a political — as opposed to technical — body can want an AP in Iran and, indeed, they have “called upon” Iran to consider doing so.

      BTW, It is highly unlikely — even laughable — to think that Iran will ratify the AP given what is going on with assassinations and cyberattacks.


      “The successful implementation of the Additional Protocol requires great cooperation and goodwill between the IAEA and signatory nations, and the protocol is unlikely to be effective when threats of force are on the table. The recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and the apparently ongoing cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities further poison the atmosphere. The possibility that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has been less than apolitical in dealing with Iran is also likely to hurt chances that Iran easily accepts the protocol. Robert Kelley, an ex-IAEA inspector and nuclear engineer, went so far as to characterize parts of Amano’s November 2011 report on Iran as trying to misdirect opinion “towards their desired outcome,” adding, “that is unprofessional.”

      Indeed, since the Additional Protocol would grant the IAEA free rein to carry out inspections in Iran, there may be a legitimate fear among Iranian officials that the IAEA could pass on a list of targets for a future military campaign to the United States or its allies. After all, close cooperation between the IAEA and Western intelligence has existed in the past. “

    • Denis (History)

      I would lean toward Yousaf’s line in this discussion. How is a political precatory like IRI should EIF an AP any more a part of Amano’s portfolio than a political precatory like Israel should EIF NPT, which is likely a precondition for IRI EIF an AP, if you GWIM.

      I think what Amano thinks, says, or subtly threatens is going to have a lot less of an impact now that The Guardian [Dec10] has outed Israel as the “unidentified diplomatic source” for the “evidence” of IRI infractions of NPT, including the puerile bell-shaped nuke-yield graphs, cartoons of explosion chambers, and unsubstantiated babble re HEU. All of the IAEA reports on IRI have been based on this “source” since Amano took over.

      Working in collusion with a non-signatory to NPT to try and punk the world re a signatory’s “violations” of NPT is also not something that would seem to fit in the DG portfolio. Can’t remember ElBaradei or Blix playing such games. It’s embarrassing.

  4. Ataune (History)



    but that even goes in the case of Iran. IRI wants an AP in Iran. They even implemented it for 2 and half years.

    The question is (and that goes for all of us): will an AP in Iran, and all the rest that you have listed in your blog entry, bring back the whole dossier to the IAEA ?

    • mark (History)


      1.) The dossier is at the IAEA. It never left there. Don’t believe it? What do you think Iran is doing when it says it wants a new “work plan?” They aren’t discussing that with the Security Council. They are negotiating this with the IAEA.
      2.) IRI wants an AP? They can bring it into force right now. It won’t of course happen until there is a deal with P5+1. That we can probably agree on.

  5. Ataune (History)


    Since Iran has no diversion, are you saying that whenever AP, code 3.1 and Parchin, or any actual and identified “problems” are resolved, Iran’s dossier in the agency will be back to normal, like say Japan or Brazil ?

    • mark (History)

      Sorry, non sequitur–!

  6. ataune (History)

    I believe is totally related and logical. But it’s up to your readers to judge.

  7. Cyrus (History)

    I want a million dollars and a yatch. But what I want differs from what I have a legal right to have. Same applies to the IAEA. The IAEA’s role in implementing safeguards in Iran is solely limited to verifying declared nuclear material. Period. It has no business making demands on Iran beyond that.

  8. Ahmad (History)

    Alan: The reasons they are not cionnvced is because of unanswered questions about the now unconcealed program that was previously concealed. Exactly WHICH aspects of their program that was previously concealed which are now not concealed does the IAEA have specific questions about? For example, the books have NOT been officially closed on centrifuges or laser enrichment. They WERE closed on laser enrichment, but Ahmadinejad re-opened it as an issue in February. The centrifuge issue has morphed from P2 to IR2/3/4, but it is still basically the same issue, and there are still outstanding questions on it. Exactly what questions? Not general fishing questions, but questions which have any real significance in determining the purpose of the nuclear program. We hear all the time about unanswered questions in some vague generality. The reality from what I have read is that most of these questions pertain to minor technical details of when Iran did this or that. NONE of them appear to be relevant to determining the PURPOSE of the Iran program, which, as ElBaradei repeatedly said when he was in charge, are ultimately unknowable anyway.While these questions may fall under the purview of the SG, if they are merely being used to raise suspicions about the purpose of the Iranian program, they are not relevant to the real issue. I think there is an element of that, but it is not simply that. I think Iran’s pattern of concealing certainly impacts heavily on trust and to that extent the proving a negative problem is genuine, but as I said above there are still questions outstanding pertaining directly to the now unconcealed program. Once again, the phrase pattern of concealment is a spin statement, not a statement of fact. This is precisely why I don’t trust the sort of person who changes a statement of fact into an opinion. It’s not impossible because the questions are answerable. And if the IAEA would stop nitpicking, it’s likely Iran would answer them all. The fact is Iran knows most of these questions are intended to RAISE suspicion, not alleviate them. It’s motivation to cooperate with the IAEA is correspondingly reduced. However, much of what the IAEA has found out about Iran originated from investigations kicked off from third party information. And how much of that has been really significant rather than merely used to raise suspicions? How many of those third party revelations ended up being nothing at all? Several questions, including the Alleged Studies, remained unresolved at the end of the AP period. They were addressed, and some resolved, under the Work Plan in 2007. My understanding is that ElBaradei said at the conclusion of the Work Plan that ALL questions were resolved, and Iran at that time said it expected its file be returned to normal status. You are now claiming that questions that were resolved then were re-opened by SUBSEQUENT behavior on the part of Iran which suggests that the behavior was ongoing earlier. This is still ridiculous. Again, the questions are minor technical issues. WHO CARES whether Iran has a P-2 centrifuge or some other type of processing? Iran has the legal right to do ANY form of uranium processing it wants as long as it’s not enriching to weapons grade. Having the capability to enrich to weapons grade has not to my knowledge ever been established as grounds for violation of a SG. If so, Japan, South Korea and Brazil and probably other countries would all be in violation. So why is the IAEA making a big deal of when and how Iran is developing its enrichment technology? They say it all the time. In one way or another, it appears in nearly every report. No, they don’t. I’ve just looked at the most recent report. There is no accusation of concealment in it, still less a pattern of concealment . What the IAEA claims is that Iran has not responded to IAEA requests which Iran specifically states fall outside their SG. None of the questions mentioned seem to me to be relevant to determining whether Iran’s program is military in nature. They are all technical issues about the design of facilities and the like, with no specific justification as to what relevance these questions have to determining the purpose of the Iranian program. Why? I don’t really know, but strategic ambiguity must be a possibility. What strategic ambiguity ? They don’t have any nuclear weapons, like Israel, to be concealed. They have some facilities and some research programs. Besides which, the US and Israel clearly don’t believe there is any ambiguity in Iran’s behavior. What behaviour? Ahamdinejad saying Iran has a laser enrichment capability when the IAEA had closed the file on it. How is the disclosure of a part of the Iranian program possibly considered a pattern of concealment ? Especially when, since Iran is operating without the AP, Iran believes it is not required to disclose peripheral matters until the time specified in the version of the SG they are operating under. This is not a pattern of concealment this is Iran doing only as much as they are obligated to under their original SG as a result of the threats and abuse Iran has taken from the West, including from a politicized IAEA. Iran pulling out of the AP with the P2 question unresolved, then leaking to the press weeks later that they had a P2 centrifuge under development (then stonewalling the IAEA on it). Again, how is it a pattern of concealment when Iran reveals its programs? You’re suggesting Iran pulled out of the AP so as not to reveal its P-2 centrifuge and then deliberately leaks it a few weeks later? What’s wrong with this picture? Iran revealing the IR2 centrifuge 18 months later, 3 days after the IAEA eventually “closed” the file on the P2. So you admit the file is closed on the P-2. So now naturally Iran is working on a more advanced centrifuge, which it then reveals, so now Iran is again CONCEALING information? What’s wrong with THIS picture? Iran pulling out of the modified 3.1 in order to build Fordow in secret. Which has been covered over and over as being entirely justified. Look, Iran may be justified for doing these things, but the IAEA still has to deal with it. The issue is that because Iran is justified for doing these things, the IAEA needs to stop raising unjustified suspicions in the language of its reports.

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