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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 86, Autumn 2007

In the News

Iran masters Uranium Enrichment as US Intelligence Report Says Nuclear Weapons Programme Halted in 2003

Just as Disarmament Diplomacy was about to go to press, the United States published the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear intentions and capabilities, which revised the threat assessment given in 2005. As discussed in the editorial on page 2, the NIE stated that though Iran had been pursuing a nuclear programme up to 2003, "Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons programme suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005". This is good news, but needs to be judged alongside Iran's recent diplomatic chess with the IAEA. Compiled by Henrietta Wilson, the news feature below includes excerpts from the NIE and the latest report on Iran by the IAEA's Director General Dr Mohamed ElBaradei to the Board of Governors (November 15), and a snapshot of developments over the Summer, from May 13 to June 23, including media coverage of the G8 and EU approaches on Iran.

Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities

Excerpts from the National Intelligence Estimate, US National Intelligence Council, Washington D.C. 3 December 2007.

This National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assesses the status of Iran's nuclear program, and the program's outlook over the next 10 years. This time frame is more appropriate for estimating capabilities than intentions and foreign reactions, which are more difficult to estimate over a decade. In presenting the Intelligence Community's assessment of Iranian nuclear intentions and capabilities, the NIE thoroughly reviews all available information on these questions, examines the range of reasonable scenarios consistent with this information, and describes the key factors we judge would drive or impede nuclear progress in Iran. This NIE is an extensive reexamination of the issues in the May 2005 assessment. This Estimate focuses on the following key questions:

Key Judgments

A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program [For the purposes of this Estimate, by "nuclear weapons program" we mean Iran's nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.]; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran's announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work.

B. We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad-or will acquire in the future-a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material

for a weapon. Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously-which we judge with high confidence it has not yet done.

C. We assess centrifuge enrichment is how Iran probably could first produce enough fissile material for a weapon, if it decides to do so. Iran resumed its declared centrifuge enrichment activities in January 2006, despite the continued halt in the nuclear weapons program. Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz, but we judge with moderate confidence it still faces significant technical problems operating them.

D. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example, Iran's civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications-some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.

E. We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.

F. We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities-rather than its declared nuclear sites-for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon. A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007.

G. We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.

H. We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf.

Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors GOV/2007/58, 15 November 2007

Item 3(c) of the revised provisional agenda (GOV/2007/60/Rev.1)

1. On 30 August 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/2007/48 and Corr.1). This report covers the relevant developments since that date.

A. Implementation of the Work Plan on Outstanding Issues

2. On 21 August 2007, the Secretariat and Iran reached understandings on a work plan for resolving outstanding safeguards implementation issues (GOV/2007/48). Since the previous report, the following progress has been made in the implementation of the work plan.

A.1. P-1 and P-2 Centrifuges

3. The chronology of activities since the previous report is as follows:

A.1.1. Acquisition of Fuel Cycle Facilities and Technology 1972-1995

4. According to Iran, in its early years, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) concluded a number of contracts with entities from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America to enable it to acquire nuclear power and a wide range of related nuclear fuel cycle services, but after the 1979 revolution, these contracts with a total value of around $10 billion were not fulfilled. Iran noted that one of the contracts, signed in 1976, was for the development of a pilot plant for laser enrichment.1 Senior Iranian officials said that, in the mid-1980s, Iran started working with many countries to revitalize its nuclear programme to meet the State's growing energy needs. Taking advantage of investments already made, Iran said it focused its efforts initially on the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, working with entities from, inter alia, Argentina, France, Germany and Spain, but without success. At that time, Iran also initiated efforts to acquire research reactors from Argentina, China, India and the former Soviet Union, but also without success.

5. Parallel to the activities related to nuclear power plants, Iran started to build supporting infrastructure by establishing nuclear technology centres in Esfahan and Karaj. However, apart from uranium conversion technology acquired from an entity in China, Iran was not able to acquire other nuclear fuel cycle facilities or technology from abroad. As a result, according to Iran, a decision was made in the mid-1980s to acquire uranium enrichment technology on the black market.

6. To assess the detailed information provided by Iran, the Agency held discussions with senior current and former Iranian officials. The Agency also examined supporting documentation, including Iranian legislation, contracts with foreign companies, agreements with other States and nuclear site surveys.

7. Bearing in mind the long history and complexity of the programme and the dual nature of enrichment technology, the Agency is not in a position, based on the information currently available to it, to draw conclusions about the original underlying nature of parts of the programme. Further light may be shed on this question when other aspects of the work plan have been addressed and when the Agency has been able to verify the completeness of Iran's declarations.

A.1.2. Acquisition of P-1 Centrifuge Technology

The 1987 Offer

8. As previously reported to the Board (GOV/2005/67, paras 14-15), the Agency was shown by Iran in January 2005 a copy of a hand-written one-page document reflecting an offer for certain components and equipment said to have been made to Iran in 1987 by a foreign intermediary. Iran stated in 2005 that this was the only remaining documentary evidence relevant to the scope and content of the 1987 offer. On 9 October 2007, the Agency was provided with a copy of the document. Certain aspects of the document indicate that it dates from 1987. However, the originator of the document has still not been identified.

9. On 5 November 2007, Iran provided the Agency with an updated chronology of meetings between Iran and the supply network covering the period 1986 to 1987. Iran maintains that only some components of two disassembled centrifuges, plus supporting drawings and specifications, were delivered in 1987 by the network. Iran reiterated that it did not acquire uranium casting and reconversion technology or equipment from the network, nor did it ask for the 15-page document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal, and its casting into hemispheres (GOV/2005/87, para. 6). These points are addressed in A.3 below.

10. According to Iran, the decision to acquire centrifuge technology was taken by the President of the AEOI and endorsed by the Prime Minister of Iran. In response to its enquiries about possible additional documentation relevant to the 1987 offer, the Agency was provided on 8 November 2007 with a copy of a confidential communication from the President of the AEOI to the Prime Minister, dated 28 February 1987, which also carried the Prime Minister's endorsement, dated 5 March 1987. In his communication, the AEOI President indicated that the activities "should be treated fully confidentially." In response to the Agency's enquiry as to whether there was any military involvement in the programme, Iran has stated that no institution other than the AEOI was involved in the decisionmaking process or in the implementation of the centrifuge enrichment programme.

11. Based on interviews with available Iranian officials and members of the supply network, limited documentation provided by Iran and procurement information collected through the Agency's independent investigations, the Agency has concluded that Iran's statements are consistent with other information available to the Agency concerning Iran's acquisition of declared P-1 centrifuge enrichment technology in 1987.

Early Research and Development

12. Iran has stated that, during the first phase of P-1 research and development (R&D) in 1987-1993, it devoted only limited financial and human resources (three researchers) to the project. According to Iran, emphasis was put on understanding the behaviour of centrifuges and their assembly and on domestic production of components. Iran has also stated that during this period, the R&D work was conducted only by the AEOI, without the support of universities or the Physics Research Centre (PHRC). According to Iran, no contacts were made during this period with the supply network to seek support in solving technical problems which Iran had encountered.

13. Iran's statements about this phase of R&D are not inconsistent with the Agency's findings, which are based on interviews with available Iranian officials and members of the supply network, supporting documentation provided by Iran and procurement information collected during the Agency's investigations. However, the role of the technical university at which uranium particle contamination was found still needs to be examined (see A.2 below).

The 1993 Offer and Subsequent R&D

14. As previously reported to the Board (GOV/2006/15, para. 15), statements made by Iran and key members of the supply network about the events leading up to the mid-1990s offer have been at variance with each other. Over the course of meetings held in October 2007, Iran provided the Agency with an updated chronology of events from 1993 to 1999 which clarified certain details concerning meetings, participants and deliveries of P-1 centrifuge equipment by the network during this period.

15. Iran stated again that in 1993 the supply network, on its own initiative, had approached an Iranian company with an offer to sell enrichment technology. This offer was brought to the attention of the Head of Iran's Budget and Planning Organization, who was also a member of the country's Atomic Energy Council. The offer was then further pursued by the AEOI (GOV/2005/67, para. 16).

16. The Agency has so far not been able to confirm Iran's statement that the supply network initiated the 1993 offer. Information provided by Iran on the deliveries and technical meetings after 1993 is consistent with that given to the Agency in interviews with some of the network members. Based on interviews with Libyan officials and supply network members and information from other sources, the Agency has concluded that most of the items related to the 1993 offer had originally been ordered by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya but were in fact delivered to Iran in the period 1994-1996.

17. Iran stated that, during the period 1993 to 1999, it was still experiencing difficulty in producing components for P-1 centrifuges and manufacturing reliable P-1 centrifuges. It said that only limited human resources were devoted to the project until 1997 and that, around 1998, additional theoretical and experimental studies were initiated at the Amir Khabir University. Its statements in this regard are supported by the technical questions raised by AEOI staff with the network and procurement information available to the Agency.

18. Iran stated that it successfully tested P-1 centrifuges at the end of the 1990s and that a decision was made to go ahead with larger-scale R&D and eventually with an enrichment plant. To that end, Iran stated that it considered locations at Hashtgerd Karaj, Natanz and Esfahan before deciding to build the enrichment plant at Natanz. During this period, procurement activities were intensified and vacuum equipment, as well as special raw materials such as maraging steel and high strength aluminium, were acquired from abroad. Iran has provided names, locations and activities of the workshops involved in the domestic production of centrifuge components, most of which are owned by military industrial organizations (GOV/2004/11, para. 37). Information provided by Iran on the timing of these purchases and the quantities involved is consistent with the Agency's findings.

A.1.3. Acquisition of P-2 Centrifuge Technology

19. Iran has stated that, in order to compensate it for the poor quality of the P-1 centrifuge components provided by the supply network, the network provided Iran at a meeting in Dubai in 1996 with a full set of general P-2 centrifuge drawings. This statement was confirmed to the Agency in interviews with key members of the network.

20. Iran has reiterated that, although the drawings were acquired in 1996, no work on P-2 centrifuges was begun until 2002. According to the former and current senior management of the AEOI, Iran did not yet have the technical and scientific capabilities to master centrifuge manufacturing during this period. The Agency does not have credible procurement related information pointing to the actual acquisition by Iran of P-2 centrifuges or components during this period (an earlier indication which appeared to support this (GOV/2006/15, para. 18) could not be substantiated).

21. In 2002, the AEOI concluded a contract with a private company to manufacture a modified P-2 centrifuge (GOV/2004/11, para. 45). On 5 November 2007, the Agency received a copy of the contract, the content of which is consistent with earlier interviews with the company owner, who was not available for interview on this occasion. The contract was terminated in March 2003, but the company owner has stated that he continued to work "on his own initiative" until June 2003.

22. The owner of the company stated in earlier interviews that he was able to obtain all raw materials and minor items, with the exception of bearings, oils and magnets, from domestic sources, which is consistent with the procurement information currently available to the Agency. The owner stated that he acquired 150 magnets with P-2 specifications and attempted to buy tens of thousands more, but these orders were cancelled by the suppliers. The AEOI stated that, after termination of his contract with the AEOI, the company owner sought to secure the supply of additional magnets for the AEOI but that his attempts to do so failed, which is consistent with the information available to the Agency through its investigations. Iran acknowledged that composite rotors for P-2 centrifuges had been manufactured in a workshop situated on a Defence Industries Organisation (DIO) site (GOV/2004/34, para. 22).

23. Based on visits made by Agency inspectors to the P-2 workshop in 2004, examination of the company owner's contract, progress reports and logbooks, and information available on procurement enquiries, the Agency has concluded that Iran's statements on the content of the declared P-2 R&D activities are consistent with the Agency's findings. Environmental samples taken at declared R&D locations and from equipment did not indicate that nuclear material was used in these experiments.

A.2. Source of Contamination

24. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided Iran with questions in writing in connection with the source of uranium particle contamination at the technical university and requested access to relevant documentation and to individuals, as well as to relevant equipment and locations for sampletaking. The questions were, inter alia, about the origin of the uranium particle contamination of equipment (GOV/2006/53, para. 24), the nature of the equipment, the envisioned use of the equipment and the names and roles of individuals and entities involved (including PHRC). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

A.3. Uranium Metal Document

25. On 8 November 2007, the Agency received a copy of the 15-page document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal and casting it into hemispheres. Iran has reiterated that this document was received along with the P-1 centrifuge documentation in 1987. The Agency has shared this document with Pakistan, the purported country of origin, and is seeking more information. Iran stated that the reconversion unit with casting equipment mentioned in the one-page 1987 offer was not pursued with the supply network. Apart from the conversion experiments of UF4 to uranium metal at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre (GOV/2004/60 Annex, para. 2), the Agency has seen no indication of any UF6 reconversion and casting activity in Iran. It should be noted, however, that a small UF6 to uranium metal conversion line in the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) was declared by Iran in the design information questionnaire for the UCF (GOV/2003/75, Annex 1, para. 3). This line has not been built, as verified by the Agency's inspectors.

A.4. Polonium-210

26. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided questions in writing to Iran concerning Iran's activities involving polonium and requested access to relevant documentation, individuals and equipment. The questions were, inter alia, about the scope and objectives of the polonium-210 studies (GOV/2004/11, para. 28), whether any bismuth acquisitions from abroad had been made or attempted and whether any related theoretical or R&D studies had been carried out in Iran. In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

A.5. Gchine Mine

27. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided questions in writing to Iran concerning the Gchine Mine and requested access to relevant documentation, individuals and equipment. The questions were, inter alia, about the ownership of the mining area and mill, why activities took place at this location when suitable infrastructure was available elsewhere and why AEOI activities at the mine ceased around 1993 (GOV/2005/67, para. 26). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

A.6. Alleged Studies

28. The Agency has urged Iran to address at an early date the alleged studies concerning the conversion of uranium dioxide into UF4 (the green salt project), high explosive testing and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle (GOV/2006/15, paras 38-39). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should address this topic in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the Agency is working on arrangements for sharing with Iran documents provided by third parties related to the alleged studies.

A.7. Facility Attachment for the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant

29. On 17 and 18 September 2007, an Agency technical team discussed with the Iranian authorities details of a draft Facility Attachment for the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz. Further discussions from 20 to 24 September led to the entry into force of the Facility Attachment on 30 September 2007.

B. Current Enrichment Related Activities

30. On 3 November 2007, the Agency verified that Iran had finished installing eighteen 164-machine cascades at FEP and that UF6 had been fed into all 18 cascades. There has been no installation of centrifuges or centrifuge pipework outside the original 18-cascade area. Work to install feed and withdrawal infrastructure and auxiliary systems is continuing.

31. Since February 2007, Iran has fed approximately 1240 kg of UF6 into the cascades at FEP. The feed rate has remained below the expected quantity for a facility of this design. While Iran has stated that it has reached enrichment levels up to 4.8% U-235 at FEP, the highest U-235 enrichment measured so far from the environmental samples taken by the Agency from cascade components and related equipment is 4.0%. Detailed nuclear material accountancy will be carried out during the annual physical inventory taking which is scheduled from 16 to 19 December 2007. Since March 2007, a total of seven unannounced inspections have been carried out at FEP.

32. Since August 2007, Iran has continued to test single centrifuge machines, the 10- and 20-machine cascades and one 164-machine cascade at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). Between 23 July and 22 October 2007, Iran fed 5 kg of UF6 into the single machines; no nuclear material was fed into the cascades. From 15 to 18 September 2007, the Agency performed a physical inventory verification at PFEP. Although some of the sample results are not yet available, the Agency's provisional evaluation tends to confirm the physical inventory as declared by Iran.

33. There have been several press reports about statements by high level Iranian officials concerning R&D and testing of P-2 centrifuges by Iran (GOV/2006/27, para. 14). In a communication to the Agency received on 8 November 2007, Iran wrote: "Iran voluntarily has informed the IAEA on the status of mechanical test (without UF6 feeding) of new generation of centrifuge design." In the communication, Iran added that it "agreed that exchanging of the new centrifuge generation information" would be discussed with the Agency in December 2007.

C. Reprocessing Activities

34. 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.

D. Heavy Water Reactor Related Projects

35. On 11 November 2007, the Agency conducted design information verification at the IR-40 and noted that construction of the facility was proceeding. Satellite imagery appears to indicate that the Heavy Water Production Plant is operating. The Agency must rely on satellite imagery of this plant as it does not have routine access to it while the Additional Protocol remains unimplemented.

E. Other Implementation Issues

E.1. Uranium Conversion

36. During the current conversion campaign at UCF, which began on 31 March 2007, approximately 78 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6 had been produced as of 5 November 2007. This brings the total amount of UF6 produced at UCF since March 2004 to approximately 266 tonnes, all of which remains under Agency containment and surveillance.

E.2. Design Information

37. 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),2 but there has been no progress on this issue.

E.3. Other Matters

38. The Agency has made arrangements to verify and seal the fresh fuel foreseen for the Bushehr nuclear power plant on 26 November 2007, before shipment of the fuel from the Russian Federation to Iran.

F. Summary

39. The Agency has been able 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 concluded a Facility Attachment for FEP. However, it should be noted that, since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing, pursuant to the Additional Protocol and as a transparency measure. As a result, the Agency's knowledge about Iran's current nuclear programme is diminishing.

40. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP and FEP. Iran has also continued the construction of the IR-40 and operation of the Heavy Water Production Plant.

41. There are two remaining major issues relevant to the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear programme: Iran's past and current centrifuge enrichment programme and the alleged studies. The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided on the declared past P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programmes are consistent with its findings. The Agency will, however, continue to seek corroboration and is continuing to verify the completeness of Iran's declarations. The Agency intends in the next few weeks to focus on the contamination issue as well as the alleged studies and other activities that could have military applications.

42. Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised in the context of the work plan. However, its cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive. As previously stated, Iran's active cooperation and full transparency are indispensable for full and prompt implementation of the work plan.

43. In addition, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about the scope and nature of its present programme. 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. Although the Agency has no concrete information, other than that addressed through the work plan, about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran without full implementation of the Additional Protocol. This is especially important in the light of Iran's undeclared activities for almost two decades and the need to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Therefore, the Director General again urges Iran to implement the Additional Protocol at the earliest possible date. The Director General also urges Iran to implement all the confidence building measures required by the Security Council, including the suspension of all enrichment related activities.

44. The Director General will continue to report as appropriate.


1. In addition to the 1976 contract for the laser enrichment pilot plant, concluded with a US company, Iran has reported the conclusion of the following contracts related to laser enrichment (GOV/2004/60, Annex, para. 30):

2. Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part as agreed to in 1976 provides for the submission of design information for newfacilities "normally not later than 180 days before the facility is scheduled to receive nuclear material for the first time", in contrast to the modified text agreed to in 2003, which provides for the submission of such information as soon as the decision to construct, or to authorize construction, of such a facility has been taken, whichever is earlier.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea.org.

Finger pointing and sabre rattling

The two-month snapshot below gives a glimpse of the chaotic political games played among Iran, the United States, the European Union and the IAEA. Drawn from press reports, it also includes extracts from G8 and EU documents.

13 May 2007 A surprise IAEA inspection is held at Iran's main nuclear facility at Natanz. The US State Department reported that the IAEA "discovered that engineers had perfected the technically complex task of running 1,300 centrifuges to convert uranium hexafluoride into nuclear fuel suitable for use in nuclear reactors. The inspection came in advance of a soon-to-be-released IAEA report that is expected to criticize Iran for its continued refusal to put to rest international concerns that it is pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program." The report went on, "White House spokesman Tony Snow says the international community remains united in its commitment to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear program and resume negotiations", and further, "State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Iran's continued defiance 'is only proof to us that we need to continue to move forward with our policy, that we need to continue to apply pressure and in fact increase pressure with an additional Security Council resolution.'"[1]

20 May 2007 At the end of the World Economic Forum, Iran urges Arab countries to support its nuclear programme. It is reported that former deputy foreign minister and brother of Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Mohammed J.A. Larijani, said "Arab countries should value Iran's nuclear development because it could help them address their own energy needs". On AP Television News he emphasized that "Iran will be a partner, a brotherly partner, and will share its capabilities with the people of the region". However, the report also said that he "[r]eceived a cool reception at the World Economic Forum, particularly from U.S. allies worried about Iran's growing regional influence."[2]

23 May 2007 The IAEA submit their new report on Iran to the Security Council. In anticipation of this, US officials had suggested that continued Iranian defiance would lead to strengthened sanctions.[3] According to the Associated Press (AP), IAEA's restricted report "expressed the agency's concern about its 'deteriorating' understanding of unexplored aspects of Iran's nuclear program. That finding reflected frustration with the results of a four-year IAEA investigation opened after revelations that Iran for nearly two decades had been clandestinely developing enrichment and other nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons. A senior U.N. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly comment on the report, suggested the shrinking hole left for inspections by Iran's rollback of previous monitoring agreements was potentially as worrying as its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment." AP described how the "brevity of the four-page report indirectly reflected the lack of progress agency inspectors had made in clearing up unresolved issues, some of them stretching back for years. Among them were: Iran's possession of diagrams showing how to form uranium into warhead form; unexplained uranium contamination at a research facility linked to the military; information on high explosives experiments that could be used in a nuclear program, and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle... [It] also noted Iran's refusal to allow inspectors to visit a heavy water reactor under construction, or related facilities, since unilaterally revising an agreement with IAEA earlier this year. Once completed, sometime in the next decade, that complex will produce plutonium, which, like enriched uranium, can be used to make nuclear weapons."[4]

24 May 2007 It is reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "ruled out even a brief halt in Iran's nuclear program, saying ... it would hand a victory to the country's enemies and undercut the Islamic state's goal of becoming a world power. 'The enemy wants Iran to surrender so it won't have any say in the world', Ahmadinejad told a gathering of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. 'If we stop for a while, they (Iran's enemies) will achieve their goals.'"[5] Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia, which has close economic and political ties with Tehran, urged Iran to take 'a constructive approach' to the nuclear dispute and called on other nations to 'step up diplomatic efforts with the aim of producing a balanced approach.'

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, "defended Iran's imposing limits on IAEA inspections. He said Iran had entered 'voluntarily' into the agreement allowing the inspections at Arak, and so 'it has right to revise that decision' to bar the inspections.'"

24 May 2007 IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei says that Iran can only be kept away from nuclear arms "through a comprehensive dialogue ... One way to do that, rather than to continue the rhetoric, is to ... sit down together".[6]

27 May 2007 The Washington Post quotes an interview with Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns. "We have engineered a series of financial sanctions by private banks and investment houses and made Iran into an international pariah."[7] Reuters reports officials and analysts saying that "The United States is piling pressure on European banks and energy firms to avoid doing business with Iran, sending a blunt message that reputations are at stake if they do so."[8]

28 May 2007 Iranian and US officials have the first formal bilateral meeting in more than 25 years to talk about the situation in Iraq. (The US broke off formal relations after Iran's 1979 Revolution). The talks are high level and viewed as part of a wider process of trying to engage regional players and develop a regional approach to help the US resolve its security difficulties in Iraq.[9]

28 May 2007 Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, is reported as saying "Iran can help its Gulf neighbours develop peaceful nuclear energy". The Reuters piece notes that Mottaki was "speaking a week after Gulf Arab states meeting in Riyadh began working on a feasibility study for a civilian nuclear program", and notes that his comments "might irritate major powers fearing Tehran's own atomic work is aimed at building bombs".[10]

31 May 2007 European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana meets Iranian national security adviser Ali Larijani in Madrid. This is one of a series of meetings aimed at examining options for resuming negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme.[11] It was afterwards described as having "produced no breakthrough on the core enrichment dispute."[12]

6-8 June 2007 The Summit of the Group of Eight (G-8) major industrialised nations (Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) discusses Iran's nuclear programme, and concludes in its final statement: "We are committed to resolving regional proliferation challenges by diplomatic means. We remain united in our commitment to resolve the proliferation concerns posed by Iran's nuclear programme. We deplore the fact that Iran has so far failed to meet its obligations under UNSC Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747 and will support adopting further measures, should Iran refuse to comply with its obligations. We again urge Iran to take the steps required by the international community, and made mandatory by these resolutions, to suspend all its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and allow negotiations to begin. International confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme would permit a completely new chapter to be opened in our relations with Iran not only in the nuclear but also more broadly in the political, economic and technological fields. In this regard, we support the action of the IAEA and call on Iran to fully cooperate with the Agency."[13]

5 June 2007 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly says that "it is 'too late' to stop Iran's nuclear programme and warned the United States and its allies not to push for new United Nations sanctions, comparing his country to a lion sitting quietly in a corner."[14]

18 June 2007 The Council of the European Union's General Affairs and External Relations Council issues the following: "The Council deplores the fact that Iran has still not complied with its international obligations as reiterated in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1747. Iran has instead continued to drive forward its nuclear programme as well as further restricting its cooperation with the IAEA, thus creating further doubts as to the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme. Whilst reaffirming its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution that addresses the international community's concerns, the Council also reasserts its full support for the UNSC and its resolve, as expressed in Resolution 1747, to adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter should Iran continue not to comply with its international obligations. The Council again urges Iran to respond positively to the proposals put forward by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union, in their Statement of 24 March 2007. The Council also reaffirms its support for the exploratory efforts of the High Representative of the EU, Javier Solana with Dr. Ali Larijani and strongly urges Iran to engage constructively in these consultations and to create the necessary conditions for negotiations to resume."[15]

19 June 2007 Reuters reports that "The United States said ... it and five other world powers -- Britain, Russia, France, Germany and China -- had begun discussing a third round of penalties against Iran over concerns that it was secretly trying to build atomic bombs."[16]

21 June 2007 A report is released on how UN sanctions against Iran are being implemented globally. "Less than 40 percent of U.N. member states have filed required reports on how they are complying with sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the chairman of a monitoring committee said. Verbeke said the March 24 resolution required all 192 U.N. members to report within 60 days on steps taken to implement the measures. As of Thursday, the committee had received reports from 50 nations and the European Union -- only 15 of them by the May 23 deadline, he said. Of the 50 responses, he said, 38 countries reported they had legislation in place to implement the sanctions and 12 states reported on steps they had taken or would be taking. Seven countries submitted combined reports covering both resolutions, bringing the total number of reports received on implementation of the Dec. 23 resolution to 73, Verbeke said."[17]

22 June 2007 The Iranian interior minister is quoted as saying Iran has 100 kg of enriched uranium material in storage. "But a senior Iranian nuclear official cast doubt on the information. 'The figures are not correct,' the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. The ISNA news agency quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi as saying in a speech in south-western Iran late on Thursday: 'More than 100 kg of enriched uranium materials have been delivered to storages.' He also said 'more than 150 tons of initial materials of uranium gas is ready and has been stored.' Uranium gas is fed into centrifuges to make enriched uranium."[18]

23 June 2007 Another meeting is held between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and EU foreign policy chief (see also 31 May 2007). Solana is quoted by Reuters, "It has been a constructive meeting ... I have to tell you that probably in three weeks we will try to see if we can meet again". Larijani is also reported as finding the meeting positive. Reuters also notes that "Increasing the pressure on Tehran, a British draft of a new U.N. sanctions resolution proposed that Iran's airlines and ships could be denied landing and transit rights and two or more of its banks could have their assets frozen."[19]


[1] David McKeeby and David Shelby, 'U.S. Committed to Resolving Iran Nuclear Dispute: International Community United after U.N. Revelations, Bush spokesman says from US State Dept', May 15, 2007, taken from http://usinfo.state.gov/is.

[2] Jamal Halaby, 'Iran: Arabs Should Back Nuclear Program', Associated Press, May 21, 2007.

[3] McKeeby and Shelby, op. cit.

[4] AP Online via COMTEX, 'Nuclear Agency: Iran Still Defying U.N.', Vienna, Austria, May 23, 2007.

[5] Nasser Karimi, 'Iran: no halt to nuclear program', Associated Press, May 24, 2007.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Robin Wright, 'U.S. to Tell Iran How It Could Help Steady Iraq; Analysts Say Washington Will Have Little Pull in Talks', Washington Post, May 27, 2007, p A20.

[8] Peg Mackey and Simon Webb, 'U.S. pressures energy firms, banks away from Iran', Reuters, May 28, 2007.

[9] Kirk Semple, 'In Rare Talks, U.S. and Iran Discuss Iraq', New York Times, May 28, 2007.

[10] 'Iran offers to help Gulf states with atom technology', Reuters, May 28, 2007.

[11] Robin Wright, op. cit.

[12] 'IAEA And Iran Agree to Draw Up Action Plan', Reuters, June 22, 2007.

[13] Paragraph 14 of the Heiligendamm Statement on Non-Proliferation, taken from From G8 Summit. http://www.g-.de/Webs/G8/EN/G8Summit/SummitDocuments/summit-documents.html

[14] 'Iran Warns Against Added Nuclear Sanctions', Assocciated Press, June 6, 2007.

[15] 10942/07 JJ/tm ANNEX DG E V EN

[16] 'IAEA And Iran Agree to Draw Up Action Plan', Reuters, June 22, 2007.

[17] 'U.N. States Lag on Iran Sanction Reports', Associated Press, June 21, 2007.

[18] 'Iran says has no preconditions for U.S. talks', Reuters, June 22, 2007.

[19] Parisa Hafezi and Henrique Almeida, 'Solana says atom talks with Iran envoy constructive', June 24, 2007.

Henrietta Wilson

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© 2007 The Acronym Institute.