Jeffrey LewisGOV/2011/7 & GOV/2011/8

It was a long day — I was giving a talk!  In any event, everyone and their grandmothers have copies of the IAEA Director-General’s Reports on Iran and Syria.

But here they are anyway.


  1. Michael Clauser (History)

    Thanks for coming and talking to the Nuclear Scholars group. I certainly appreciated. And thanks for the tips on blogging.

  2. bradley laing (History)

    In 100 years, do you think that people will look back and say, “it was actually the uncontrollable spread of knowledge, not the attempts of the IAEA, that determined the outcome of events.”

  3. Anon (History)

    The IAEA and the ISIS release on the report make a big deal of this:

    “Iran is developing a nuclear payload for its missile programme. These issues refer to
    activities in Iran dealing with, inter alia:
    o neutron generation and associated diagnostics
    o uranium conversion and metallurgy
    o high explosives manufacturing and testing
    o exploding bridgewire detonator studies, particularly involving applications
    necessitating high simultaneity
    o multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving
    highly instrumented experiments
    o high voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long
    distances and possibly underground
    o missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being
    nuclear in nature.”

    But they do not mention WHEN these activities allegedly took place.

    NEWSFLASH: It was pre-2003, and the 2007 NIE still applies:

    “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” – US National Intelligence Estimate, Dec 2007

    Why does the IAEA have this re-hashed here as if it applies to current Iranian activities?

    This smacks of the pro-US bias that Amano is accused of. (see wikileaks)

    As our DNI has said in the last year: there is no evidence that Iran has a current nuclear weapons program. It did have one in 2003, like Brazil and Argentina did also in the past.

    This litany of issues and questions not only contains nothing new. It is a virtual cut-and-paste from prior IAEA reports going back at least two years. See the IAEA report of May 2008 [.pdf], paragraph 14:

    “In addition to the implementation of Iran’s Additional Protocol, for the Agency to provide assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, Iran needs to, inter alia: resolve questions related to the alleged studies…; provide more information on the circumstances of the acquisition of the uranium metal document…; clarify procurement and R&D activities of military related institutes and companies that could be nuclear related…; and clarify the production of nuclear equipment and components by companies belonging to defense industries.”

    Since commencing work in 2003, however, the IAEA has never expressed a conclusion – including in the current report – that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program. See report GOV/2003-75 [.pdf], paragraph 52 (Nov. 10, 2003): “To date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons program.”

    “We Don’t Have a Smoking Gun; We Have Concerns”

    -IAEA chief Yukiya Amano on the nuclear program in Iran
    Feb 2011

    Google the quote for yourselves.

    The question then becomes: who is spinning the Iran story and why?

    • FSB (History)
    • wfr (History)

      To avoid any “spinning” of what the IAEA says. The FULL citation of the first sentence that you partially cite at the start of your post reads as follows:

      “Iran is not engaging with the Agency in substance on issues concerning the allegation that Iran is developing a nuclear payload for its missile programme. These issues refer to activities in Iran dealing with, inter alia: …”

    • MWG (History)

      Three comments on what the IAEA calls the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program.

      First, the IAEA keeps raising the issue because Iran has not responded to the substance of the IAEA’s questions:

      “Since August 2008, Iran has declined to discuss these outstanding issues with the Agency.”

      “[The IAEA] has on several subsequent occasions requested Iran to provide a substantive response. Iran has not yet done so.”

      Second, it is not clear that these activities ended in 2003:

      “As previously indicated by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities hay have continued beyond 2004.”

      Third, those who argue that the lack of a “smoking gun” link between nuclear material and weaponization somehow exonerates Iran have things backwards. Iran’s safeguards violations are a clear cause for international concern in their own right. The reported indications of weapons-related activities should elevate that concern, as should Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA’s efforts to resolving the questions raised.

  4. rwendland (History)

    I was surprised by the language in footnote 41 which is that the AP “has not been brought into force.” Has it been expressed that way before by the IAEA in recent times?

    The full footnote is:

    “41. Iran’s Additional Protocol was approved by the Board on 21 November 2003 and signed by Iran on 18 December 2003, although it has not been brought into force. Iran provisionally implemented its Additional Protocol between December 2003 and February 2006.”

    It this new language?

    • Anon (History)

      That language was used here also:

      But Iran never ratified the AP.

      It is indicative of the politicization of the IAEA.

      Why not bug Brazil about its AP?

    • wfr (History)

      The text to which this footnote is attached reads:

      “Iran is not implementing its Additional Protocol, contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board
      of Governors and the Security Council.”

      I’m not sure about this, but I don’t recall there being Board resolutions and Security Council resolutions requesting Brazil to implement the Additional Protocol? Maybe this answers the point made by Anon and FSB, who appear to be of one mind (or at least reading from the same script).

    • MWG (History)

      I would be happier if Brazil brought its Additional Protocol into force, but there are two important differences between Brazil and Iran.

      First, Brazil has never been reported to the Board for any safeguards compliance problem, let alone found in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement. Iran was found to have cheated systematically for nearly two decades.

      Second, the UN Security Council Resolution has called on Iran both to bring its Additional Protocol into force and to act in accordance with its provisions.

    • FSB (History)

      “has never been reported to the Board for any safeguards compliance problem,”

      Of course not. It is (currently) a US ally — more or less — so the US has not told Amano to hassle the Brazilians (just yet).

      Once Brazil goes the way of Venezuela (if it does) — then you can be 110% sure that it will be found in non-compliance the next day.

    • Anon (History)

      MWG says above that “Second, the UN Security Council Resolution has called on Iran both to bring its Additional Protocol into force and to act in accordance with its provisions”

      The UNSC has no authority over imposing ad hoc demands in absence of a finding of a “threat to peace”.


      The UNSC is blowing smoke.

    • Mark (History)

      I’m not commenting on the Iran issue at all, but the language “in force” is standard for IAEA referring to the Additional Protocol. The normal progression for implementing an AP is 1) have the draft approved by the Board, 2) sign it, and then 3) bring it into force, through appropriate legal and/or regulatory action.


    • rwendland (History)

      I wasn’t commenting on the correctness of the “not in force” language re the AP, which is of course correct, but that I didn’t recall the DG choosing to use that language in a report to the BoG for several years. Recently the language of choice has been along the lines “Iran must implement the Additional Protocol”. I wondered if there was any significance to using this older language again, or just a bit of a language slip in a footnote.

      Looking thru the DG reports to the BoG the most recent use of “bring into force” type language seems to be GOV/2007/48 (30 August 2007). Since then the typical language has been:

      GOV/2007/58: “urges Iran to implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2008/4: “urge Iran to implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2008/15: “measures of the Additional Protocol are not available”

      GOV/2008/38: “implements the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2008/59: “measures of the Additional Protocol are not available”

      GOV/2009/8: “Iran has not implemented the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2009/35: “it is essential that Iran … implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2009/55: “It is critical for Iran to implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2009/74: “it is essential that Iran … implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2010/10: “outstanding issues … that Iran implement the Additional Protocol”

      GOV/2010/28: “measures of the Additional Protocol are not currently available”

      GOV/2010/46: “Additional Protocol is not being implemented”

    • Anon (History)

      And, anyway, ‘urging’ anything on any country is outside the IAEA’s job description: either Iran has or has not ratified the AP. IAEA would be advised not to get into political questions.

      The IAEA should go ahead and do its job and stop airing its wish-list.

  5. FSB (History)

    and 46:

    While the Agency continues to conduct verification activities under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement,
    Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations, including: implementation of the provisions of its
    Additional Protocol;

    ….uh, they haven’t ratified the AP.

    Are people who write these reports dumb or purposefully misleading?

    Why doesn’t the IAEA go bug Brazil about the AP??

  6. Anon (History)

    Why not impose sanctions on the country that gave Pakistan the bomb?

  7. Nick (History)

    This report is deja vu all over again! Looks like quarterly arguments over 3.1, AP, and “alleged studies.” Stalemate continues unabated, demanding beyond the original SA.

    The big news in my opinion is not IR4 or IR2m cascades. If you had believed IRI’s calims of nascent carbon fiber technology for these new designs, it was natural to have a plan for cascades of IR4 and IR2m. Although, until it is a fully functional system in PFEP, one shouldn’t hold their breath. In particular, if SCADA PLC’s are used as in the older models.

    The refueling of Bushehr on the other hand really stands out. It puts under question whether this NPP can ever generate electrilty. At this time, the odds are with those that doubt Bushehr will even light up a 15 W CFL!