Jeffrey LewisIAEA & Iran: Meetings, Inspections, Oh My!

IAEA inspectors are back in Iran.

A lot has happened since my last update (Olli, Ali, Oxen-Free: IAEA-Iran Action Plan). Making sense of the press reports is tough, though, without some context.

Here is what I can piece together on the who, what, why, when and how of IAEA visits to Iran..

  • After IAEA DDG Olli Heinonen and an IAEA delegation visited Tehran for meetings with Javad Vai’idi on 12 July, the two teams had a second meeting in Vienna on 24 July. A third meeting is now scheduled for 20 August in Tehran to discuss further details of the “Action Plan.”
  • At the July 24 Heinonen-Vai’idi meeting, Iran agreed to let the inspectors visit the heavy water reactor under construction near Arak. A three person IAEA inspection team was already due in Iran on July 26 to conduct routine inspections of Isfahan and Natanz. That team spent about five hours at Arak reactor on 30 July. They were schedule to remain in Iran until the end of the week.
  • On August 6, an IAEA team will visit Tehran to discuss appropriate monitoring arrangements for Natanz. Let’s hope that the IAEA can get the remote monitoring arrangements that David Albright from ISIS and Andreas Persbo from VERTIC have been publicly advocating.

For background, I would suggest Reuters’ Frederick Dahl, as well as stories in IRNA, Mehr, and Fars. I will post the full text in the comments section.


  1. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    IRNA Story

    Next Round Of Iran-IAEA Talks To Be Held On August 20IRNA (Internet Version-WWW)Tuesday, July 24, 2007 T14:27:22ZJournal Code: 2736 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXTDocument Type: OSC Transcribed TextWord Count: 200

    (Computer selected and disseminated without OSC Editorial intervention)

    Vienna, July 24, IRNAIran-IAEA-TalksIran’s Under-Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Javad Vaeedi said on Tuesday that next round of nuclear talks with IAEA will be held in Tehran on August 20.Vaeedi described his meeting with IAEA officials led by Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen fair and constructive.“We are moving forward to the best situation.”In the meantime, Olli Heinonen said after the meeting that IAEA inspectors would visit Iran’s heavy-water reactor in Arak next week.He added other issues including the origin of Plutonium pollution in some Iran’s equipment were also discussed.The meeting was aimed at concluding a plan to verify Iran’s nuclear program.The two sides are working on a timetable to resolve the outstanding issues about Iranian nuclear program and inspection of Iran’s nuclear sites.The first round of Iran and IAEA talks was held in Tehran on July 12-13.Negotiations between Iranian and IAEA officials began after the last meeting of Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council and IAEA Director General Mohammad Elbaradei.(Description of Source: Tehran IRNA (Internet Version-WWW) in English—official state-run news agency)

  2. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Mehr Story

    Iran: Heavy Water Reactor Set For Second Inspection Next WeekMehr News Agency (Internet Version-WWW)Monday, July 30, 2007 T21:55:30ZJournal Code: 9118 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXTDocument Type: OSC Translated TextWord Count: 393

    The first round of inspections in line with recent agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began with an inspection of the Arak heavy water reactor complex. The second phase of inspections will resume when the Agency’s experts travel to Tehran on 15 Mordad (6 August), an informed source told the Mehr news agency adding: the three-member team of inspectors who inspected the Arak complex will remain in Iran for another week in other to carry out routine inspections at other nuclear sites.

    He said that members of this group are solely inspectors and will not engage in negotiations with Iranian officials.The same source said that a second team will arrive in Tehran next Monday (15 Mordad) within the framework of the new modalities for cooperation, and that team will not be visiting any nuclear installations. This group is travelling to Iran for the sole purpose of engaging in dialogue with officials on the topic of Iran’s nuclear activities.Regarding the third round of talks between IAEA and Iranian officials, scheduled to take place in Tehran on 29 Mordad (20 August), he said they will be at the same level (representation) as the two previous rounds.In recent weeks (21 Tir and 2 Mordad) (12 and 24 July) there have been two rounds of talks in Tehran and in Vienna, headed by IAEA deputy Director General Ollie Heinonen and Javad Va’idi, Iran’s Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).On 1 Tir (22 June), Ali Larijani, secretary general of Iran’s SNSC, and IAEA Director General Muhammad al-Baradi’i met in Vienna and agreed on a two-month plan to resolve outstanding ambiguities between Iran and the Agency. The proposal was put forward by Larijani on Iran’s behalf as a way forward for the Iran nuclear issue and was approved by the parties during a third meeting with Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief and the representative for the 5+1 group. According to this plan, new modalities for the resolution of outstanding ambiguities will be defined during negotiations between Iranian and IAEA officials over the course of the next two months.(Description of Source: Tehran Mehr News Agency (Internet Version-WWW) in Persian—Launched on 22 June 2003, its managing director Parviz Esma’ili stated that the news agency primarily aims at promoting the Islamic culture.)

  3. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Fars Story

    IAEA Inspectors Visit Iran’s Heavy Water ReactorFars News Agency (Internet Version-WWW)Monday, July 30, 2007 T15:38:31ZJournal Code: 9113 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXTDocument Type: OSC Transcribed TextWord Count: 555

    (Computer selected and disseminated without OSC Editorial intervention)

    TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who arrived here on Monday paid a visit to the heavy water reactor under construction in the central city of Arak, an informed source said.The source also told FNA that the three-member team of inspectors would stay in Iran for the next week to pay routine visits to other nuclear centers and facilities, but meantime reminded that during their week-long sojourn in Iran, the UN experts would not inspect Arak research reactor a second time.He also pointed out that the IAEA team is formed of the same experts who carry out routine inspections of different Iranian nuclear sites and facilities, adding that inspectors are not scheduled to attend talks with the officials of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO).The visit to Arak nuclear reactor was arranged as a result of a recent agreement between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog. The two sides have recently shown deep enthusiasm for resolving the remaining issues in relation to Tehran’s nuclear programs and activities and they have so far attended two rounds of talks which both have described as “constructive”.Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said earlier today that the third round of Iran-IAEA talks would be held in Tehran on August 20.The two rounds of talks between Iran and the IAEA followed a groundbreaking agreement gained during an earlier meeting between Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani and IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei in Vienna last month.In the first round of talks Iran’s SNSC Undersecretary Javad Vaeedi and IAEA deputy Director General Ollie Heinonen agreed about the start of visits by UN experts to the heavy water reactor in Arak.They also agreed to finalize the approach and method for the implementation of safeguards in Natanz nuclear enrichment facility by early August.The new round of Iran-IAEA talks aims to specify a proper modality for resolving the remaining issues with regard to Iran’s nuclear programs and clarifying certain points and executive issues in relation to the implementation of safeguards at Natanz facility.In talks with Tehran, the IAEA deputy director general for safeguards, Ollie Heinonen has been accompanied by IAEA director for foreign relations and policy making, IAEA regional director, and IAEA’s legal advisor.Inclusion of technical, legal and political officials in the IAEA delegation reveals that the two sides strive to solve their problems from different aspects.While West has always sought to politicize Iran’s nuclear issue, Tehran insists that questions about its nuclear programs and activities are technical and legal in nature and should, thus, be verified by the IAEA and not by the UN Security Council.(Description of Source: Tehran Fars News Agency (Internet Version-WWW) in English—Privately-owned news agency. It began operating in mid November 2002. Its managing editor is Mehdi Faza’eli, the editor in chief of the Javan daily and a member of the managerial board of the Association of Muslim Journalists. The other members of the board of directors of the news agency, are Alizera Shemirani, of Farda newspaper, Abdollah Moqaddam and Akbar Nabavi of Resalat newspaper, the former director of Farabi Foundation Hasan Eslami-Mehr, and university professor Abolhoseyn Ruholamin.)

  4. hass

    Incidentally, speaking of the Arak reactor, what do you think of Iran’s offer to forego plutonium reprocesing?

    Javad Zarif wrote about this:

    Since August 2004, Iran has made eight far-reaching proposals. What’s more, Iran throughout this period adopted extensive and costly confidence- building measures, including a voluntary suspension of its rightful enrichment activities for two years, to ensure the success of negotiations.

    Over the course of negotiations, Iran volunteered to do the following within a balanced package:

    Present the new atomic agency protocol on intrusive inspections to the Parliament for ratification, and to continue to put it in place pending ratification;

    Permit the continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at conversion and enrichment facilities;

    Introduce legislation to permanently ban the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons;

    Cooperate on export controls to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear material;

    Refrain from reprocessing or producing plutonium;

    Limit the enrichment of nuclear materials so that they are suitable for energy production but not for weaponry;

    Immediately convert all enriched uranium to fuel rods, thereby precluding the possibility of further enrichment;

    Limit the enrichment program to meet the contingency fuel requirements of Iran’s power reactors and future light-water reactors;

    Begin putting in place the least contentious aspects of the enrichment program, like research and development, in order to assure the world of our intentions;

    Accept foreign partners, both public and private, in our uranium enrichment program.

    Iran has recently suggested the establishment of regional consortiums on fuel-cycle development that would be jointly owned and operated by countries possessing the technology and placed under atomic agency safeguards.

    FROM:We in Iran don’t need this quarrel Javad Zarif The New York TimesTHURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2006