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Memorandum from Elahe Mohtasham[1]

Senior Research Associate at the Foreign Policy Centre in London

Submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament

Inquiry into 'Iran's Nuclear Programme'

11 June 2007

 

 

Executive Summary:

 

1. Much of the debate about the 'Iranian nuclear threat' is driven not so much by any hard evidence about a weapon driven programme but by fear that Iran's mastery of civilian technology would provide the means to rapidly develop a weapons capability should she wish to do so in future.

2. Unpalatable as some of Iran's policies and actions may be, it is far from an imminent threat to its nuclear and non-nuclear neighbours, or powers outside the Middle East region. Therefore, any attempt at 'pre-emptive' military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities is unlikely to be viewed sympathetically both within and outside Iran. Any military attack will galvanise the Iranian population and strengthen the hands of those religious hard-line fundamentalists who have argued against the benefits of joining international nuclear non-proliferation treaties and conventions. Short of a whole scale invasion and occupation of Iran, which will have catastrophic consequences, any aerial bombardment is unlikely to eliminate Iran's nuclear infrastructure and know-how but is likely to make it withdraw from the NPT and freely develop a weapons programme.

3. With most experts believing Iran to be between two to ten years away from becoming a nuclear weapon-capable state, there is still time to persuade Iran that benefits of remaining a non-nuclear state far outweigh any perceived security advantages that the possession of a handful of nuclear weapons may provide. The existing pre-conditions (mainly the suspension of all uranium enrichment related activities, including research and development by Iran) to the start of the negotiations between the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1) should be removed to allow the diplomatic negotiations with Iran to begin as soon as possible.

4. Iran should be offered non-discriminatory access to nuclear materials and technology to pursue its legitimate civilian nuclear projects in return for enhanced confidence building and verification measures to ensure its activities remain confined to peaceful purposes.

5. Regional initiatives such as nuclear-free zones and multi-national ownership and control of nuclear fuel production facilities should be encouraged and supported to eliminate grounds for a regional arms race, and to discourage regional states to engage in a 'race' to acquire nuclear fuel cycle technology.

6. There is an urgent need for negotiations to find a formula to offer positive and negative security assurances to Iran.

7. Iran's legitimate security interests should be recognised by outside powers, and practical steps taken to allay its fears in return for Iran's cooperation in resolving some of the pressing issues confronting western countries.

8. Iran's integration back into the international economic and political system is the best guarantee of democracy within the country. Economic, cultural, and scientific ties may be linked to Iran's behaviour in both domestic and international arenas.


Introduction:

 

9. There are a number of key contextual variables, ranging from technological aspects of Iran's nuclear programme to less tangible issues related to Iran's intentions to acquire nuclear technology or the nature of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflict that would be crucial factors in any discussions about Iran's nuclear programme. Iran's human rights records as well as the military, economic and political threats, sanctions and pressures put on Iran through resolutions passed by the Security Council of the United Nations are factors, which also would have significant bearings in any discussions, analyses and list of recommendations put forward regarding Iran's nuclear programme and the UK's foreign policy towards Iran.

10. In this paper a series of questions have been identified to guide thinking about the United Kingdom's foreign policy towards Iran, especially in relation to Iran's nuclear programme. These questions are highlighted in the following paragraphs.

11. The factual information and analyses from which the Foreign Affairs Select Committee may draw conclusions is outlined in the main body of this paper, which is divided into three sections. The first section deals with a number of questions related to Iran's nuclear intentions and Iran's obligations under the NPT and the related safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The five questions addressed in this section are as follow.

i. What criteria could be used to determine whether Iran has the intention to acquire nuclear weapons?

ii. What have been the main areas of Iran's non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards?

iii. What have been the main remaining outstanding questions by the IAEA regarding Iran's nuclear programme by May 2007?

iv. What are the main components of the decision-making process in Iran regarding the nuclear programme?

v. What are the differences between the Security Council Resolution 687 adopted against Iraq in 1991 and the Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747 adopted against Iran in 2006 and 2007?

 

12. The second part of this paper deals with the main technological developments in Iran's nuclear programme. There are three inter-related questions addressed in this section.

i. How far is Iran from the capability to construct a simple atomic device and to deploy an operational nuclear weapon?

ii. What is the relationship between civil and military aspects of Iran's nuclear programme?

iii. Could Iran's uranium enrichment programme be used only for producing fuel in civil nuclear reactors?

 

13. The third part of this paper provides an overview of Iran's nuclear programme within the global context of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The five main questions addressed in this section are as follow.

i. In which manner have the expectations put on the role and objective of the NPT and IAEA Safeguards evolved historically, and what impact have those changes had on the current dispute over Iran's nuclear programme?

ii. In what circumstances would Iran more likely to withdraw from the NPT?

iii. What has been the role of Iran in the NPT related export control measures, agreements and proposals between 1970 and 2007?

iv. Why have the United Kingdom and the United States been reluctant to provide a legally binding and unconditional security assurances to Iran and other non-nuclear weapon states?

v. What are the key obstacles as well as common interests in the diplomatic negotiations to reach an agreement between Iran and the P5+1?

 

14. The last section of this paper provides two appendices. Appendix I provides a chronology of the main events in the procurement of Iran's centrifuge and uranium enrichment technology between 1985-2007, and Appendix II provides a chronology of the main events in the negotiations between Iran and the three European Countries, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (E3) including the high representative of the European Union (EU) between October 2003 and May 2006, and between Iran and the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) between 6 June 2006 and 31 May 2007.

 

Iran's Nuclear Intentions and Obligations under the NPT and IAEA Safeguards:

 

15. What criteria could be used to determine whether Iran has the intention to acquire nuclear weapons?

16. A state's potential motivations or incentives to acquire nuclear weapons and its behaviour have been the two central criteria that have long been used by analysts to determine the extent to which a country may wish to acquire nuclear weapons capability. In relation to Iran, the list of potential motivations could include the existence of nuclear weapons in the neighbouring countries of Iran (in Pakistan and Russia) and in the wider Middle East and South Asia (in Israel and India). The military presence of the two other nuclear weapon states (the UK and the US) in the Persian Gulf area could also provide added potential incentives for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons of its own. The possible use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons by Iran for defence or deterrence purposes, in case of a full-scale invasion of Iran, could be considered as a potential motivation for Iran to develop a simple design, emergency type, atomic device. Moreover, Iran's experience during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), a war which Iran believes started by Saddam Hossein with full knowledge, encouragement and support of the United States and the western European countries, and during which the ill-prepared Iranian troops were attacked by the Iraqi chemical weapons, and the Iranian civilians were bombarded with the Iraqi missiles, could be seen as a strong potential incentive for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons of its own. Other potential motives may also include the prestige factor which equates possession of nuclear weapons as being synonymous with having 'great power' status which appeals to both Iranian nationalists and islamists.

17. In the list of behaviours, Iran's failure to report to the IAEA in a timely manner its enrichment, processing and reprocessing activities using nuclear material, in the 1980s and 1990s, and the way Iran has acquired centrifuge technology through non-state procurement networks for almost twenty years, has added to the suspicions and provided circumstantial evidence to those states who have been accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons. The technological options that would be available to Iran to use the civilian nuclear capability for use in a military programme are as follow. First, Iran could master the enrichment and other related nuclear technologies for the current overt civilian enrichment programme and build a parallel covert programme to enrich uranium for military use. Second, Iran would have the right under Article X.1of the NPT to withdraw from the treaty after providing three months notice for such a withdrawal, and then to convert its civilian enrichment facilities, which has been legitimately developed under Article IV of the NPT, to a military one. Arguably, such an option is currently available to a number of other non-nuclear weapon states such as Brazil, Germany, Japan and Netherlands.

18. However, the above suspicions and circumstantial evidence of the type argued by some states against Iran, do not fall under the international legal obligations that Iran has signed in the 1970 and 1974 in respects of the NPT and its associated IAEA safeguards measures. Under the terms of the NPT, like the other non-nuclear weapon states, Iran has to fulfil two fundamental obligations. The first obligation relates to Article II of the NPT, which requires from the non-nuclear weapon states not to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons. The second obligation relates to Article III of the NPT, which requires from the non-nuclear weapon states to accept safeguards, implemented by the IAEA, to prevent the diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to weapons.

19. There has never been a specific enforcement mechanism in relation to implementation of Article II of the NPT obligations. Therefore, for example, if Iran were to decide to develop undeclared centrifuge nuclear facilities for the enrichment of uranium for military purposes, the IAEA would not have any type of monitoring system to detect such clandestine production of enriched uranium. In fact, such a wide area monitoring system would be considered as being unreasonably expensive by the IAEA and has never been before deployed anywhere else in the world. At the present time, only the centrifuges using UF6 as feed material based at Natanz are under the IAEA safeguards system. The construction of other centrifuges at other workshops in Iran not using any nuclear material would not fall under the standard IAEA safeguards measures, which Iran signed in 1974.

20. The enforcement of Article III of the NPT obligations is carried out through the IAEA's monitoring and verification that is designed to ensure that declared nuclear facilities are operated according to safeguard agreement with Iran, which Iran signed with the IAEA in 1974. In the past four years that Iran's nuclear programme has been under close investigation by the IAEA, the Director General of the IAEA, as early as November 2003 reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities ... were related to a nuclear weapons programme."[2] The same conclusion was confirmed by the IAEA Director General, in February 2006, which stated, "As indicated to the Board in November 2004, and again in September 2005, all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for."[3] In his latest report on Iran, the IAEA Director General confirmed again on 23 May 2007, that there has been "no-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran", and that Iran "has been providing the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities."[4]

21. Through several resolutions passed between 2003 and 2006, the IAEA Board of Governors made a ruling that Iran has failed, over a period of almost twenty years, to comply with some of its required reporting obligations. However, the IAEA has also emphasised that it "has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devises."[5] Therefore, although Iran has been found in non-compliance with some aspects of its IAEA safeguards obligations, Iran has not been in breach of its obligations under the terms of the NPT.

22. Although the IAEA has stated that it is not yet in a position "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear or activities in Iran", the Director General of the IAEA has acknowledged that "the process of drawing such a conclusion ...is a time consuming process,"[6] and that "the process of drawing such a conclusion, under normal circumstances, is a time consuming process even with an Additional Protocol in force."[7] It is important to note that there is an Addendum to the 2005 IAEA Safeguards Implementation Report, published in June 2006, which states that 45 other countries are in the same category as Iran, including 14 Europeans and several members of the Security Council.[8]

23. In terms of both potential motivations and actual behaviour, the Iranian officials have been adamant that it would not be in Iran's interest to acquire nuclear weapons on both ideological as well as on strategic grounds. Apparently, a Fatwa (religious decree) issued by Ayatollah Khamenei as the leader of the Islamic political system, prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. [9] The discussion of any possible costs and benefits of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is also prohibited in official governmental institutions, even at the highest level of decision-making involving the Supreme National Security Council, at least since the issue of the religious decree in November 2004. President Ahmadinejad also rejected the utility of nuclear weapons in his statement before the General Assembly of the United Nations on 17 September 2005. The Iranian diplomats and officials maintain that as long as the Iranian political system remains Islamic, it is highly unlikely that the current religious decree could be changed.

24. In relation to Iran's military doctrine, the Iranian officials would also argue that Iran with its current state of technological development could not reasonably rely on nuclear deterrence against its adversaries. They would acknowledge that nuclear weapons would increase Iran's global vulnerabilities without providing Iran any credible nuclear deterrence.[10] Iran also argues that its acceptance of over 2000 inspector-days IAEA inspections in the past three years, the signing of the Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003 and its implementation until 5 February 2006, the submission of more than 1000 pages declarations under the Additional Protocol, allowing over 53 instances of complementary access to different nuclear sites across the country, and providing repeated access to military sites which would amount to the most robust inspections, were clear indications of Iran's firm commitment to its obligations under the NPT and broader international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Iran has announced that it would be prepared to resolve any further outstanding issues with the IAEA, only if the nuclear dossier is removed from the Security Council and returned back for further investigation to the IAEA.[11]

25. There are different legal interpretations as to whether the mere delay in reporting of nuclear activities by Iran could have constituted a non-compliance legal case with Iran's IAEA's safeguards agreement. Iranian officials and diplomats would agree that they had conducted a number of nuclear activities that they probably should have reported to the IAEA at the time when those activities took place. However, they would argue that given Iran voluntarily disclosed substantial material related to its past nuclear activities, as a corrective measure, in October 2003 and throughout 2004, there should not have been a ruling of non-compliance by the IAEA over Iran's past nuclear activities. Under the IAEA's Statutes (Article XII:c) if states found in breach of their IAEA's safeguards agreements, they will be provided with an opportunity to return back to compliance within a reasonable time, before any punitive action taken against them or before their cases are referred to the United Nations Security Council. Section 19 of the IAEA's safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/153), which deals with measures in relation to verification of non-diversion and any possible non-compliance makes it clear that the IAEA's Board of Governors "shall take account of the degree of assurance provided by the safeguards measures" and "shall afford the State every reasonable opportunity to furnish the Board with any necessary reassurance."

26. In addition, Iran maintains that given that there has never been any evidence of conversion of nuclear material to weapon use, Iran has been in full compliance with its NPT obligations. Moreover, Iran maintains that other non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT, such as Egypt and South Korea, had also found by the IAEA in 2004 and 2005 to have delayed in reporting some of their nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities. However, both Egyptian and South Korean files were closed by the IAEA Board of Governors without any punitive action against these two countries. Iran believes that there is a case of discrimination against Iran and that the IAEA Board of Governors made a ruling of non-compliance against Iran based on political pressures imposed by the United States and the European countries. Iran believes that further politicisation of the IAEA and the Security Council of the United Nations, which has imposed political and economic sanctions against Iran, following two resolutions (1737 and 1747) on 23 December 2006 and 24 March 2007 respectively, would have severe adverse effects on the credibility of these two important international institutions responsible for maintaining international peace and security.

 

27. What have been the main areas of Iran's non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards?

28. The IAEA's Board of Governors has found Iran to have been in a state of non-compliance with its safeguards obligations, which Iran had signed with the IAEA in 1974, in basically two areas. First, Iran had delayed in reporting the testing of a number of centrifuges with nuclear material for enriching uranium between 1991 and 2002 at the undeclared Kalaye Electric Company facility using undeclared nuclear material, which had been imported in 1991. Second, Iran had delayed in reporting of the undeclared import of natural uranium metal in 1994, and its subsequent transfer for use in laser enrichment experiment, including the production of enriched uranium.

 

29. What have been the main remaining outstanding questions by the IAEA regarding Iran's nuclear programme by May 2007?

30. All the main remaining issues that the IAEA wishes to clarify in relation to Iran's nuclear programme have been related to the possibility of the existence of a weaponised nuclear programme in Iran.

i. The IAEA would still need to clarify with Iran the sources of low and highly enriched uranium found at locations when Iran manufactured, used and stored P-1 type centrifuges. The IAEA has argued that it would need to have a better understanding of the history of Iran's centrifuge programme and to construct a full chronology of Iran's centrifuge enrichment programme in order to be able to verify the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations and its peaceful nature.

ii. There are also a number of points related to Iran's past reprocessing experiments;

iii. Iran's experimental work on polonium;

iv. Further clarification of why there had been contamination at the Physics Research Centre;

v. Iran should provide the IAEA access to documentation concerning uranium metal and its casting into hemispheres;

vi. Iran should provide clarification about Iran's alleged studies related to the conversion of uranium dioxide into UF4,

vii. to high explosives testing,

viii. or the design of a missile re-entry vehicle,

 

31. Iran has declared its readiness to "negotiate on the modality for the resolution of the outstanding issues with the IAEA, subject to the assurances for dealing with the issues in the framework of the Agency, without the interference of the United Nations Security Council" [12]

 

32. What are the main components of the decision-making process in Iran regarding the nuclear programme?

33. The Iranian Constitution that developed following the 1979 Revolution, and the different kinds of interpretations that have been put on the Articles of the Constitution by various Iranian presidents and governments in the last 28 years have had significant bearings on Iran's foreign policy decision-making process. Many aspects of Iran's constitution and political system are modelled on western democratic institutions. Principle 57 of the constitution separates legislature, executive and judiciary from each other and states that these are independent powers (although in the case of Iran they operate under the supervision of the Vali-Faqih, the Leader). Principles of 6, 9, 56, 58, 59, 62 and 84 embody the principle of freedom, and emphasises the necessity of elections for the offices of the Presidency, the Majles (Parliament) and the Councils through a direct and secret ballot by the public. The 1979 Constitution was based on the Iranian Constitution of 1906, which had established a constitutional monarchy in Iran, together with the constitution of the Fifth Republic in France, with a strong Presidency. At the same time, there are a number of religious and almost mystical connotations in Iran's Islamic system of government. According to Principle 5 of the constitution, the state is to be led by an "honest, virtuous, well-informed, courageous, efficient administrator and religious jurist according to Principle 107" of the Constitution. However, the contradiction between the political role of the leader which according to Principle 107 is "equal with others before the law", with his religious role as the Vali-Faqih, with seemingly unlimited powers is evident in the same principle of the constitution. Principle 107 states that the leader assures "all the powers of the Velayate-Amr [a figure ruling by divine sanctions] and all the responsibilities arising thereof." Principle110 provides the leader with the most extensive duties and powers which include command of all the armed forces, declaring war and peace, and ordering mobilisation of forces, appointing, dismissing or accepting the resignation of the Chief of the General Staff, the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Commander-in-Chief of the armed and security forces, and resolving those problems confronting the system that cannot be solved by ordinary processes, through the Council for Determination of Exigencies. In relation to Iran's armed forces, the prominence of the Islamic ideology is underlined in the preamble to the constitution which states that "the Islamic Republican Army and the IRGC will be responsible not only for defending the borders, but also for the mission stated in the Book [Quran], of holy war in the way of God and fighting to expand the rule of God's law in the world." Principle 4 of the Constitution also stresses the importance of the Islamic rules and standards by stating that all military laws as well as civil, penal, financial, economic, administrative, cultural, political, etc., should be based on Islamic criteria. It further emphasises, "this principle will absolutely or in general be dominant over all of the principles of the Constitution... and any determination in this connection will be made by the religious jurists of the Council of Guardians. However, it is important to note that despite the revolutionary tone of some aspects of Iran's constitution, Iran's foreign policy has remained pragmatic and remarkably non-ideological between 1980 and 2007. It appears that Islamic ideology as a normative set of beliefs has been present in Iran's domestic legal system. However, other non-religious identities, which are features of all societies, have also been influencing Iran's domestic and foreign policy behaviour. Familiar concepts such as realism and national interest based on a general cost and benefit analyses continue to play a significant role in the behaviour of Iran, particularly, in relation to its nuclear programme.

34. At a more practical level, foreign policy decisions involving national security, defence and nuclear issues are assigned to the Supreme National Security Council, which according to Article 176 of the Constitution operates within the framework of the general policies specified by the supreme leader. Although the head of the Supreme National Security Council is the Leader, the President of the country occupies a prominent role as the Chair of the council. Other members of the council are the speaker of the parliament, head of the judiciary, head of the armed forces' Supreme Command Council, the officer in charge of planning and budget, two representatives of the supreme leader, the heads of the Foreign Ministry, Intelligence and Security Ministry, and Interior Ministry, and the top officers from the regular armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In relation to Iran's nuclear programme, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council has come to play a leading role since October 2003 when Iran's nuclear programme became a controversial issue at international level. At the time of Presidency of Mohammad Khatami, Dr. Hassan Rohani was appointed between 2003 and 2005 to act as the Secretary of this council. Following the election of President Ahmadinejad, Dr. Ali Larijani who used to be the Leader's Representative at the Council has been appointed to act as the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

35. As far as the decision-making process regarding Iran's nuclear programme is concerned, there are two main committees operating within the Supreme National Security Council, which deal with the nuclear issues depending on the level and importance of the subject. The most important and high-ranking committee consists of the President, Foreign Minister, and two representatives of the Leader. All important decisions are presented by this Committee to the Leader (currently Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i) in order to obtain his approval for the implementation of a particular policy. The second committee encompasses a wider group of people who are mainly from the Foreign Ministry dealing with detailed legal, technical and scientific issues and responding to questions asked by the IAEA.

36. Although there is no evidence of any formal decision taken to build nuclear weapons nor there exists any known official time-table for developing nuclear arsenals, the option of acquiring nuclear weapons capability or at least establishing a basic technological infrastructure and know-how to obtain such a capability in the face of an uncertain regional and international political situation, has been a hotly contested issue debated in the press, academic and non-governmental bodies at least since 1998 when India and Pakistan embarked on testing several nuclear devices to develop nuclear weapons. In my visits to Iran and private discussions with the Iranian officials, I have been struck by the degree of uneasiness and threat some felt towards the possibility of the Sunni supporters of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan, who regard Iranian Shi'as as heretics, to gain control of nuclear weapons in that country or to develop nuclear weapons of their own. It has been my impression that Iran is probably more concerned with the prospect of a Taleban or al-Qaeda type nuclear state than with the existence of nuclear weapons in the state of Israel.

37. Although Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, (the Leader of the Islamic regime), as well as Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (the head of the Expediency Council) have expressed their firm support for Iran's civil nuclear programme at critical times and important occasions, these two important figures have tried to remain neutral and relatively quiet in almost daily contested debates between the hard-line religious fundamentalists and reformists over Iran's nuclear programme and the country's various commitments under the international treaties not to acquire nuclear weapons.

38. In a meeting held in the presidential office in September 2006, situated in the crowded district of Tehran, Davood Ahmadinejad, the elder brother of President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, tried to reassure me that neither the President nor his close associates are in favour of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Davood Ahmadinejad who occupies one of the large adjacent white buildings next to the presidential palace, runs a separate inspection organisation called 'Special Inspectorate' [Bazresiye Vijeh]. He is believed to act as a close aid to his younger brother. In the course of discussing the nuclear issues with me, he emphasised that the President does not have the control of Iran's nuclear programme and any decision taken by the President on this issue would be a shared decision taken jointly with the other members of the Supreme National Security Council. Nevertheless, there is a general consensus amongst all the Iranian officials and key decision-makers that Iran should retain its rights under Article X.1 of the NPT and withdraw from its international obligations if extraordinary events jeopardize the interests of the country.

39. A month after the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696 adopted on 31 July 2006, and a couple of days following the publication of the IAEA Director General's report on Iran of 31 August 2006, I had a meeting with Dr. Hassan Rohani, who is currently Ayatollah Khamene'i's representative at the Supreme National Security Council. As the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council between 2003 and 2005, he was the head of the negotiating team dealing with Iran and the E3/EU nuclear discussions as well as responding to the IAEA's technical and legal questions. Our meeting took place at the Centre for Strategic Research attached to the Expediency Council, which is headed by the former President Rafsanjani. The Expediency Council acts as a mediator in disputes between the parliament (Majles) and the Council of Guardians. Since October 2006, Rafsanjani was given additional powers by the Leader, Ayatollah Khamene'i, to use the Expediency Council to oversee and possibly curb some of what it seemed as excessive policies of the newly elected President Ahmadinejad and his government. Hassan Rohani is currently the head of the Centre for Strategic Research, which provides advice to the Expediency Council on nuclear, defence and security issues. The centre also benefits from the membership of distinguished personalities, such as the former President Khatami and other moderates specialised in military and strategic studies.

40. I was welcomed warmly by Rouhani at his office at the top floor of the 9 storey modern glass-built building on the foot-hills of the majestic Alborz mountain in Niavaran situated in the affluent district north of Tehran. Rohani was very courteous and kindly offered me the top seat in the room and asked his assistant to bring us tea and sweets. Despite being a religious figure, wearing the traditional garb of the Iranian clergy, in nearly two hours meeting that I had with him, I found him as being friendly, liberal minded and at ease to talk to me privately. He came across as being confident, precise in his thought and choice of words, and it was clear that he had detailed knowledge of both technical and legal aspects of Iran's nuclear programme. It was easy to see why despite his initial reluctance to accept the post, the former President Khatami and Ayatollah Khamene'i had insisted that he should represent Iran on nuclear issues at international level in October 2003. I thanked Dr. Rohani for the opportunity to question him on sensitive and controversial issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme. More than any other politician in Iran, Dr. Rohani has made public and disclosed detailed information regarding the decision-making process in Iran's nuclear programme and the circumstances under which Iran and E3/EU negotiations had taken place. Therefore, I asked him the main reason for such transparency and openness. I suggested whether he felt that he was forced to disclose the information in order to defend his policies in the face of criticisms by some hard line factions in Iran. He said, "the analysts outside the country tend to exaggerate the factional differences inside Iran". He said "the main reason for the disclosure was that he felt obliged and accountable to the Iranian public and that although some analysts from outside would be reluctant to acknowledge, it is part of the normal process of the Islamic government in Iran that the officers in charge of the governmental affairs are constantly being questioned and the individuals in office are obliged to provide answers".

41. I asked Rouhani why Iran was against the installation of remote monitoring systems as part of the IAEA safeguards measures at the over-ground Pilot Enrichment Plant and underground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz. The IAEA argues that the remote transmission of encrypted safeguards data to the Agency Headquarters in Vienna from Natanz would be necessary to compensate for the fact that measures normally used for verification at operational enrichment facilities, such as limited frequency unannounced access, are not feasible at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant. Hassan Rouhani's reply was that the installation of such devices would have been justifiable only under the IAEA's enhanced safeguards measures called 'the Additional Protocol' which Iran had been voluntarily adhering to between 10 November 2003 and 5 February 2006. However, following the IAEA's Board of Governors' decision to refer Iran's case to the Security Council of the United Nations on 4 February 2006, Iran withdrew from its voluntary adherence to the Additional Protocol. As a result, Iran could only agree to the traditional, standard and less intrusive safeguards that Iran had agreed with the IAEA in May 1974. In these circumstances, Rohani maintained that any additional requests from the IAEA would be viewed by Iran as discriminatory with no technical or legally justifiable basis.

42. Although Iran installed a number of new cameras at Natanz on 2 February 2007,[13] in a meeting that I had with senior legal advisors of Iran's Foreign Ministry in Vienna on 2 May 2007, I was told that Iran would be very reluctant to agree with the installation of any remote monitoring cameras due to the security defects of such remote technologies, which are based on the use of the internet. Iran believes that such remote transmissions could provide unauthorised third parties with confidential information about Iran's nuclear programme. However, in a meeting that I had in Vienna, on 9 May 2007 with Ambassador Soltanieh, Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA, he told me that as a confidence building measure, Iran had agreed to unannounced inspections of the Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz. The latest IAEA report on Iran published on 23 May 2007 confirmed Ambassador Soltanieh's remarks to me. The IAEA report stated, "on 22 March 2007, Iran agreed to a modified safeguards approach for that facility which includes, in addition to a monthly interim inspection and design information verification visit, a combination of, inter alia, unannounced inspections and containment and surveillance measures (GOV/INF/2007/10)."[14] The first of such unannounced inspections took place on 13 May 2007.

43. In view of concerns surrounding the possibility of Iran developing a clandestine nuclear programme, I asked Dr. Rohani, in my meeting of September 2006, the question of whether and to what extent he would personally be confident that he and the Supreme National Security Council would have full knowledge of all the existing nuclear facilities, number of all the centrifuges available in Iran or the amount of nuclear material currently in existence within the country. He said that he was confident that no clandestine nuclear weapon programme could exist in Iran without his knowledge or that of the Supreme National Security Council. I asked Dr. Rohani about the number of centrifuges in Iran at that time. He did not provide me with any specific figures but he said that the IAEA had been informed of the number of centrifuges in Iran. This question was important because if Iran were to decide to develop undeclared centrifuge nuclear facilities for the enrichment of uranium for military purposes, the IAEA would not have any type of monitoring system to detect such clandestine production of enriched uranium. In fact, such a wide area monitoring system would be considered as being unreasonably expensive by the IAEA and has never been before deployed anywhere else in the world. Since 5 February 2006, when Iran withdrew from the Additional Protocol, only the centrifuges using UF6 as feed material based at Natanz have been under the IAEA safeguards system. The construction of other centrifuges at other workshops in Iran not using any nuclear material would not fall under the standard IAEA safeguards measures, which Iran signed with the Agency in 1974. It was quite significant that in his last report, as the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, submitted to the former President Khatami on 31 July 2005, Dr. Rohani specifically mentioned, "if Iran's nuclear facilities are military attacked, we would still be able to continue our uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel process making without any threat of damage to them."[15]

44. Following the imposition of sanctions on Iran by the Security Council resolution 1737 on 23 December 2006, I had a meeting in January 2007 with the Vice-President of the Centre for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, Hossein Mousavian. He was the head of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Supreme National Security Council between 2003 and 2005 and one of the key players in the E3/EU negotiations with Iran over the nuclear issue during the presidency of Khatami. I asked Mousavian what measures Iran would be taking to reduce the current mounting tension over Iran's nuclear programme and the possibility of military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities as well as civilian centres. Hossein Mousavian, including a number of other military analysts that I met at the Centre for Strategic Research were quite sceptical of any military action against Iran. Although Hossein Mousavian admitted that Iran was aware of the possibility of military attack on some of the specific nuclear facilities, he was quite dismissive of the possibility of military attack on civilians by Israel or the United States. He believed that any attack on the civilians would only have the opposite effect of rallying the people around the Islamic regime than weakening the regime or making it vulnerable to outside pressures. Hossain Mousavian suggested, "the only way out of the current crisis would be the adoption of a realist, flexible and face-saving approach by both side of the dispute. He said that whilst the Security Council of the United Nations should recognise the legitimate rights of Iran under the NPT to have access to nuclear fuel cycle technologies, Iran should also show flexibility and agree with a time-frame for implementation of confidence building measures."

45. There was also a general consensus amongst all the officials that I met at various centres of decision-making as well as at the Iranian Foreign Ministry that Iran's confidence building measures, transparency and openness that was becoming a characteristic of President Khatami's government has been replaced by feelings of tension and a general negative change in the political atmosphere following the presidency of Ahamadinejad, and especially due to the referral of Iran's nuclear file from the IAEA to the Security Council of the United Nations. However, in a number of meetings that I had with the people advising President Ahmadinejad's office, I found those individuals friendly and eager to engage in research, dialogue and academic work with research institutes in the western European countries and the United States. It has been my impression that the new generation of the people who have come to office following President Ahmadinejad's election, are eager to be acknowledged and respected by the recognised western academic and research institutes. They told me that the hard divisions usually made between the hard-line fundamentalists associated with President Ahmadinejad and the reformists associated with the followers of former President Rafsanjani or Khatami are misguided and probably the creation of the outsiders.

 

46. What are the differences between the Security Council Resolution 687 adopted against Iraq in 1991 and the Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747 adopted against Iran in 2006 and 2007?

47. There is a generally held misconception that the Security Council Resolutions, (1696, 1737 and 1747 adopted on 31 July 2006, 23 December 2006 and 24 March 2007 respectively) asking Iran primarily to suspend its uranium enrichment programme were similar to the Security Council Resolution 687 adopted on 3 April 1991 which prohibited Iraq from retaining, acquiring or developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long-range missiles. Such attempts to draw parallels between the Iraqi and the Iranian situations could cloud the issues, raise wrong expectations and lead to adoption of misguided policies. The differences between these resolutions were as follow. First, the Security Council Resolution 687 adopted on 3 April 1991 against Iraq was a disarmament resolution aimed at a country, which had invaded another one and was defeated in a war involving allied forces from countries around the world. Therefore, there was a genuine consensus around the world that Iraq's invasion of another country for territorial gain was wrong and had to be confronted and reversed back using military force under Chapter Seven of the United Nation's Charter.

48. Second, the main aim of the Security Council Resolution 687 against Iraq was to establish a formal ceasefire following the previous Resolution 686 of 2 March 1991 that had ended the war and had asked Iraq to cease hostilities and to rescind immediately its actions purporting to annex Kuwait. Therefore, unlike the 2006 and 2007 Resolutions adopted in the case of Iran (which were over the interpretations of nature of the IAEA safeguards' rules and obligations), the Security Council Resolution 687 was the product of a war and the military defeat of Iraq in a conflict involving armed forces of the international community.

49. Third, it was only after the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 687 on 3 April 1991 that the IAEA, as one of the two organisations (along with the UN Special Commission - UNSCOM) was entrusted with implementing the United Nations' disarmament goals, which began to monitor, verify and destroy Iraq's nuclear facilities. Unlike the case of Iran between 2003 and 2006, the IAEA found substantial documents and evidence of the existence of Iraq's nuclear weapon programme between 1991 and 1998 (especially after August 1995 when Lt. Genearl Hussein Kamal, who was responsible for Iraq's weapon programme defected to Jordan and revealed additional information and released additional documents as evidence of Iraq's nuclear weapon programme prior to 1991). Therefore, in contrast to Iraq's situation in 1991, at the time of the adoption of Resolutions against Iran in 2006 and 2007, there was no consensus or an overwhelming agreement amongst the international community that Iran posed an eminent threat to its neighbours or to international security, or that Iran's nuclear programme should be confronted with military force. It was significant that in contrast to the Security Council Resolution 687 against Iraq, which was adopted under the general Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter in 1991, the Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747 against Iran were adopted specifically under Articles 40 (in the case of Resolution 1696) and 41 (in the case of Resolutions 1737 and 1747) of Chapter Seven of the United Nations, which refer to political and economic sanctions and rule out the use of military force.

 

The Main Technological Developments in Iran's Nuclear Programme:

 

50. How far is Iran from the capability to construct a simple atomic device and to deploy an operational nuclear weapon?

51. To have fissile material production facility, such as the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz in Iran or a reactor to produce plutonium, and the knowledge of a weapon design, such as an implosion type atomic bomb, are only two of the necessary parts to enable a state to acquire nuclear weapons capability. There are other nuclear and non-nuclear parts that would need to be procured and assembled together. To put it in a comparative perspective, the first British atomic, implosion design, gravity bomb, called the Blue Danube (in use between 1953-1964) consisted of seven parts. These were the imploder system, plutonium core, initiator, casing of the explosive assembly, detonator firing mechanism, proximity fuse device and ballistic outer casing. The first atomic devices exploded by the former Soviet Union (1949), France (1960) and China (1964) were also based on the similar implosion design except that the Chinese used highly enriched uranium instead of plutonium in the core of the device. The United States tested its first implosion, plutonium based device at Trinity in July 1945 and used the same design to drop the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. In all these cases, the production of the fissile material (i.e. plutonium or highly enriched uranium) and making of the initiator were the most difficult parts of procuring and assembling a nuclear device. The role of the initiator was to release sufficient neutrons to initiate fission by a mixture of beryllium and polonium (polonium-210 (Po-210) being an intensely radioactive alpha emitting radioisotope that has a half-life of 138 days). However, the short life of the initiator (which was estimated to be about six months) provided additional problems of replacement of this material on a continuous basis. Although Iran has done some experimental work on polonium,[16] it would probably not be able to make this material in a reactor for military purposes as long as the current IAEA safeguards are in place.

52. However, for a viable nuclear weapon to be used militarily, it would be vital that it should have the reliability and capability of being stored safely for years without the threat of being misused or stolen by elements outside the control of the state. In addition, a successful nuclear device would need to be fitted on a delivery system, such as an aircraft or a missile. Therefore, to have a nuclear device dose not mean having the capability to employ a deliverable nuclear weapon. A comparative study of the history of nuclear weapons development in the existing nuclear weapon states would indicate that it would take at least two to five years between the capability to develop a nuclear device and the ability to transfer that capability into an operational nuclear weapon, fully integrated into the military structure. In the case of the United Kingdom, for example, although the test of the first atomic device (Hurricane) took place on 3 October 1952, it was not until five years later in late 1957 and early 1958 that the United Kingdom attained a fully operational nuclear capability with Valiant B.1 bomber built to accommodate the Blue Danube atomic implosion gravity bombs. However, the tests on the ballistics, bomb casing, detonators, fusing systems and other related safety mechanisms on the Blue Danube continued until 1964. Similarly, in the case of France, whilst the testing of a series of atomic devices took place between 1960 and 1963, the full development and production of the first French atomic weapon called the W1-11 became possible only in 1963. However, it was not until 1964 that the first series of atomic weapons were delivered to the French Air Force for operational purposes.[17]

53. If Iran has any intentions to obtain nuclear weapons, Iran's gas centrifuge uranium enrichment programme would provide the most technologically advanced route that Iran could employ to obtain the essential fissile material for use in a simple atomic device. Another technological route, would be to produce plutonium by completing its current heavy water reactor programme. Once the heavy-water reactor is fully constructed and operational, it could produce about 9 kilograms of weapon grade plutonium per year, which could be used for developing one or two nuclear weapons per year. However, Iran's heavy water reactor programme is still at the early stages of its development and is not expected to be complete at least until 2011.

54. As far as the technological developments in Iran's gas centrifuge uranium enrichment programme is concerned, Dr. Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Director of the Atomic Organisation of Iran, officially announced the industrial scale production of uranium enrichment at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz (situated about 250 km (150 miles) south west of the capital Tehran) on 9 April 2007. President Ahmadinejad also announced the industrial scale production of nuclear fuel by Iran on the same day. However, according to the most recent reports by the IAEA published on 23 May 2007, Iran has been operating only 1312 centrifuges at the underground centrifuge facility in Natanz (known as the Fuel Enrichment Plant). The number of 1312 is much lower than the necessary 3000 centrifuges needed to produce enough low enriched uranium as a fuel for civil reactors or highly enriched uranium for use in a nuclear weapon. Therefore, it appears that the Iranian officials are currently highly exaggerating the degree of Iran's achievement in its uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel making programmes.

55. A more realistic assessment of Iran's current nuclear capabilities, based on the technical information provided in the latest IAEA report on Iran on 23 May 2007[18] as well as based on my own assessment of conversations with the Iranian scientists, diplomats and monitoring the published material in the Persian language (Farsi), would be to state that Iran has just started to successfully install and operate about a thousands cascade centrifuges. At this rate of progress and in comparison to the previous months, Iran would be able to install and make operational one cascade (164 centrifuges) every 10 days, and install and operate around 500 centrifuges a month and about 6000 a year. At the current rate of progress, Iran would probably be able to install and operate about 3000 centrifuges by the end of the summer. At this rate, it would take probably until 2015 that Iran would be able to produce 51000 centrifuges. This was the number of centrifuges that Iran had declared in 2003, it had the intention to install and operate at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant for commercial production of nuclear fuel in civil nuclear reactors.

56. As far as the production of fissile material is concerned, even when Iran successfully operates 3000 centrifuges by the middle of summer 2007 (if Iran decides to withdraw from the NPT and produce high enriched uranium), a further year or two would be needed to produce 25 kilograms of highly enriched uranium for use in a simple implosion, emergency type device. The assembly of the device (i.e. putting together all the nuclear and non-nuclear explosive charges, detonators and casing in a safe and operative manner) would take probably about six months. However, for a fully weaponised and tested nuclear gravity bomb to be fitted into an aircraft or for a nuclear warhead designed as part of a missile system additional two to five years would probably be needed.

57. If Iran decides to stay within the NPT and withdraw only when it has enough stockpile of low-enriched uranium, Iran could convert a stock of low enriched uranium into 20 kilograms of highly enriched uranium for use in an atomic device, in only a few months following its decision to withdraw from the NPT. Therefore, a fully operational weaponised nuclear weapon in Iran would probably not be feasible until 2014. A simple design, emergency type atomic implosion device could be available probably by 2009.

 

58. What is the relationship between the civil and military aspects of Iran's nuclear programme?

59. Centrifuges are tall and thin cylinders, which in the case of the P-1 type operating in Iran, spin on their rotors 60,000 times per minute or 1000 times a second for the purpose of enriching a highly toxic gas substance called uranium hexafluoride or UF6. Therefore, because of its high speed, the cylinders are not attached in a fixed manner. The top of the cylinder is held in place by a magnet, and the bottom is held in place by a needle, which is spinning inside a lubricant. The gas is forced through the centrifuges when the heavier U-238 isotopes tend to move to the side of the machine at a faster rate than the lighter isotopes containing U-235, which tend to remain at the centre. In this process the gas, which has remained in the centre is removed and transferred to the next centrifuge, where the process is repeated. The UF6 gas progressively becomes richer in the U-235 isotope as it moves from one centrifuge to another. The end product of the enrichment process is uranium 235, which could be used, depending on level of its enrichment, to either fuel civil nuclear reactors or be used as a fissile material in nuclear bombs.

60. A review of Iran's actions to build its centrifuges and enrichment facilities at Natanz and at the other eight known workshops - such as Kalaye Electric company, Pars Trash and Farayand Technique sites near Tehran - appears to indicate that Iran is aiming at developing at least a basic technological base to obtain enriched uranium of about 3 to 5 percent U235 to use as nuclear fuel for generating 20,000 megawatts nuclear electricity in its light-water nuclear reactors planned for construction in the next twenty years. Iran currently has a civilian, 1,000 megawatt - electrical light water reactor under construction by Russians in Bushehr, which is due to start in September 2007. This type of reactor will use about 3.5 percent low enriched uranium 235 as fuel. Russia has a contract to provide the fuel for the life-time of the reactor which had been scheduled to be delivered to Iran in March 2007 but has been delayed for what appears to be political reasons to pressurise Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme and comply with the UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747. Under the current contract, Russia would take back the spent fuel to Russia for its own use.

61. However, it could be possible that Iran, similar to the French nuclear programme between 1952 and 1958, would be aiming to put in place a dual-use infrastructure in order to have the option for a nuclear weapons development programme, if it decides to do so in the future. It is important to bear in mind that the same centrifuge technology could be reconfigured to enrich uranium to above 20% or 90% percent for use as fissile material in nuclear devices. The IAEA defines high enriched uranium (HEU) as uranium enriched to 20% or above in the isotope U-235; low enriched uranium (LEU) is defined as uranium enriched to between 0.72% and less than 20% U-235. Although an atomic device could be made theoretically with 20% enrichment in the isotope U-235, it is generally recognised that for a low weight and efficient atomic device it would be likely that a state would need to obtain 90% percent enrichment in the isotope U-235 in its centrifuges.

62. In terms of the existing reactors, plants and facilities, Iran has an American supplied 5 megawatt-thermal research reactor used for research and production of radioactive isotopes for medical and industrial uses located at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran in Tehran. This reactor has been operating since 1967. In order to replace this 40 years old reactor, Iran is arguing that they are planning to build a new 40-megawatt (thermal) heavy water reactor called the IR-40 in Arak situated 250 kilometres (150 miles) west of the capital Tehran. The fuel elements for this type of reactor is natural uranium in the form of uranium dioxide which is planned to be produced in the Fuel Manufacturing Plant to be built at the Esfahan Nuclear Research Centre. Heavy water, which is the coolant and moderator for this type of reactor is also planned to be produced in Arak. According to Iran, about 85 tonnes of heavy water would be needed to start the IR-40 reactor with an additional 1 tone for every subsequent years. A heavy water reactor is known to produce plutonium of a grade suitable for use in nuclear bombs. The Dimona research reactor in Israel as well as the Cirus reactor in India are believed to have been producing plutonium for the nuclear weapons programmes of these two countries.

63. However, in order for Iran to be able to produce suitable fissile material from either the plutonium produced in the Arak heavy water reactor or the plutonium produced in the civil nuclear reactor in Bushehr or in any of the future planned light-water reactors, Iran would need to build a reprocessing plant to separate and treat the plutonium which is a highly toxic and radioactive substance. Although Iran started the construction of the heavy water reactor building in March 2005, the date for the actual commissioning of the heavy water reactor is declared by Iran as being 2011. However, there has not been any indication that Iran has been planning or designing a separate reprocessing facility either near Arak or Bushehr or at any other part of the country. Nevertheless, if Iran decides to construct such a reprocessing facility, it would not be a difficult task for Iran to master in a relatively short period of time.

64. Could Iran's uranium enrichment programme be used only for producing fuel used in civil nuclear reactors instead of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons?

65. It seems that at the present time, the capability to produce low-enriched uranium as fuel for use in the light-water reactors to be the main incentive behind current efforts by Iran to install 3000 and later on 50,000 gas centrifuges in Natanz's underground Uranium Enrichment Plant. The Iranian nuclear scientists have told me that they have already submitted several detailed feasibility studies to the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran explaining the advantages for Iran having its own nuclear fuel and the manner in which the production of Iran's own nuclear fuel could be competitive with the use of other sources of energy available in Iran, such as oil and gas. I was quite surprised to hear that the Iranian scientists felt that they had a hard time obtaining adequate financial support from the government to carry out their task.

66. The Iranian nuclear scientists as well as the Iranian diplomats have explained that it would be in Iran's long term economic and political interests to develop its own uranium enrichment plant in Natanz on the basis of the following cost and benefit analysis.

i. They would point to the fact that the price of uranium has already increased more than 800% since 2001, and that lack of world-wide supplies of uranium and enrichment facilities would probably lead to a shortage of uranium for fuel of power reactors by the year 2015.

ii. Iran believes that the existing enrichment facilities operating in the world would not be able to provide sufficient low enriched uranium for the future nuclear power reactors expected in the next decade world-wide.

iii. Iran would argue that the current non-Russian suppliers of enriched uranium have promised their enriched fuel to the current or future buyers.

iv. In addition, Iran believes that apart from economic benefits, the United States' opposition to the Islamic regime in Iran, and the extensive plans to widen the scope of political and economic sanctions against it would mean that Iran could not remain dependent and rely solely on the procurement of nuclear fuel from outside sources.

v. Therefore, given the future uncertainties and high demands and prices projected for nuclear fuel, Iran would argue that it would need to establish a contingency nuclear fuel programme simultaneously with the construction of its nuclear reactors.

vi. Moreover, Iran would hope to be able to construct the necessary nuclear infrastructure to satisfy the expected future nuclear fuel demands by establishing a viable commercial uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, which could supply nuclear fuel for nuclear reactors in the region or even at the global level.[19]

vii. Although some western analysts have suggested that Iran's own indigenous uranium ore would provide enough fuel only for the operation of eight years of Iran's own nuclear reactors, Iranian diplomats and decision-makers would argue that other uranium mines could be found and utilised within Iran in the future.

viii. Iran maintains that its current oil and gas resources are finite and will be depleted within two to five decades, following Iran's current economic and projected needs in future for development.

ix. Iran argues that with a territory of 1,648,000 km (five times the size of the United Kingdom and three times the size of France) and a population of about 70 million (70 percent of which is under the age of 30), projected to be more than 105 million by 2050, it could not rely exclusively on fossil fuel.

x. Iran is adamant that access to nuclear energy would be essential for its economic development because of the demands to provide electricity to 46,000 villages in 2007 in comparison with only 4400 before the revolution in 1979.

xi. In addition, Iran has estimated that reliance on nuclear energy could save the country190 million barrels of crude oil or $10 billion per year in today's prices.

xii. Iran relies on a study carried out in 1974 by the US-based Stanford Research Institute, which recommended the building of nuclear reactors in Iran for generating 20,000 megawatts of electricity before 1994. Iran is now aiming to reach that level by 2020.

 

67. The Iranian nuclear scientists have carefully been kept out of the political debate over the acquisition of nuclear weapons. I have heard the nuclear scientists speak with me in patriotic terms about their work but without any hint of determination to turn Iran into a nuclear armed country. I heard one of the scientists explaining to me enthusiastically that they had been preoccupied with advancing their own expertise and with enabling Iran to make up for scientific and technological grounds lost to other countries, such as Pakistan and India. The nuclear scientists talked warmly about the IAEA inspectors who visit Natanz and Esfahan's nuclear facilities at least once every three to four weeks. One of the scientists even showed me a friendly photograph that he had taken with one of the Canadian IAEA inspectors on his mobile phone. This would illustrate the existence of a culture of friendship, respect and understanding between the Iranian nuclear scientists and the international safeguards' inspectors who visit Iran's nuclear facilities as part of the IAEA team at least once every three or four weeks.

68. The start of the installation of 3000 centrifuges in Natanz, which began in January 2007 and officially announced on 9 April 2007, would be a boost to Iran's determination to produce its own nuclear fuel. Although some of the recent claims by the Iranian officials that Iran has reached the stage to produce nuclear fuel on an industrialised scale[20], or that Iran "currently is able to produce enough nuclear fuel for 20,000 MW(e) of electricity",[21] is clearly an exaggeration, it could be argued that Iran has already acquired the scientific know-how, engineering skills and technology to put into practice and produce enough nuclear fuel for some of its planned reactors in the next five years.

 

Iran's Nuclear Programme Within the Global Context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime:

 

69. In which manner have the expectations put on the role and objective of the NPT and IAEA Safeguards evolved historically, and what impact have these changes had on the current dispute over Iran's nuclear programme?

70. In order to have an understanding of the current crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear programme, it would be essential to have an understanding of both Iran's behaviour as well as an understanding of the changing nature of expectations and interpretations put on the text of the NPT and its related IAEA safeguards. Historically, efforts to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons and to establish a viable international safeguards system was taking place simultaneously and in parallel with the developments in the procurement of atomic weapons throughout 1950s and 1960s. In 1961 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, 1665 (XVI), put forward by Ireland on the "Prevention of the wider dissemination of nuclear weapons".[22] Between 1960 and 1962 the United States and the Soviet Union put forward additional arms control and disarmament proposals including measures to prevent the transfer and acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear weapon states. In the 1960s the main concern of the nuclear weapons states, the United States, the former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and France, was to prohibit the acquisition of nuclear weapons by industrialised states, such as Germany and Japan, rather than any of the current developing countries, such as Iran. In January 1964 and August 1965 the United States put forward proposals to halt nuclear arms race and nuclear proliferation at the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee. Two essential elements within these proposals were later incorporated into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968. The first principle concerned an obligation by nuclear-weapon states not to transfer nuclear weapons to the national control of other states, and the second principle requested the non-nuclear weapon states to accept IAEA or similar safeguards on their civil nuclear activities.[23]

71. Between 1967 and 1968 seven drafts of a treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons were submitted to the General Assembly and Disarmament Committee by the United States and the Soviet Union. The seventh revised draft of the Treaty was finally submitted to the General Assembly in May 1968, and the General Assembly approved a resolution, 2373 (XXII) endorsing the text on 12 June 1968.[24] The issue of international safeguard system was discussed in Articles I, II and III of the Treaty. Under Article III the non-nuclear weapon states undertook to accept IAEA safeguards and not to divert nuclear energy from peaceful uses into nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The distinctive feature of the NPT safeguards system was that the signatories to the NPT became obliged to accept a comprehensive system of safeguards on their whole territory, unlike the IAEA's safeguards in the case of non-NPT members of the IAEA, which applied only to those projects undertaken through the IAEA's assistance.

72. The objective of the Agency's safeguards system under the NPT was to verify that member states had not diverted nuclear materials from peaceful uses into nuclear explosive devices. The objective of the Agency's safeguards system under the IAEA Statute was to ensure that the member states did not use supplied material or equipment to further any military purposes. Therefore, whilst the NPT put the emphasis on verification of material (i.e. enriched uranium or plutonium), the Agency's Statute put the emphasis on verification of material and facilities provided by the IAEA and the manner in which they were being used (i.e. for peaceful or military uses). As a result, some states such as India (a non-NPT member state) argued that peaceful nuclear explosions were not explicitly prohibited under the IAEA's Statute. In addition, whilst the NPT did not prohibit non-explosive military use of nuclear material (for example for the propulsion of nuclear submarines), the IAEA's Statute prohibited such uses under the INFCIRC/66.[25]

73. In order to bridge the gap between the IAEA's safeguards system set up in 1957 and the NPT safeguards system set up in 1970 under the IAEA, a Safeguards Committee was formed at IAEA's headquarters in Vienna between June 1970 and March 1971. The Committee produced a comprehensive document, INFCIRC/153, which regulated the relationship between the non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT and the IAEA. The result was that the objective of the NPT safeguards system emerged to be defined as one providing a timely detection of diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from peaceful to military or unknown purposes. However, a significant limitation of the safeguards was that it could not prevent a member state from acquiring a nuclear explosive capability. It was assumed that the risk of early detection by the NPT safeguards system would deter any diversion from peaceful activities. The verification measures, designed under the NPT system, could only verify the current or past activities but it could not give a verdict on any future intentions of the member states.[26]

74. However, the whole structure, function and purpose of the NPT and its IAEA safeguards, as it was originally defined in the 1970s, came under question, following revelations about Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapon programme after its defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf war and the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 687 that had called for the full disarmament of Iraq from all weapons of mass destruction. Once the IAEA, mandated by the Security Council, discovered the full extent of Iraq's attempts to produce fissile material for its nuclear weapon programme, despite being a signatory to the NPT, there was a general agreement that the IAEA had to change a number of its safeguards procedures in order to regain its credibility as a viable international nuclear safeguards system. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the loss of control over the export control policies in the former Soviet republics, intensified the pressures to change the principles and objectives of the NPT with the aim of strengthening its monitoring and safeguards mechanisms. In the 1990s the main question was whether it was worth having a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that could monitor only the overt nuclear activities but not any clandestine ones.

75. The development and implementation of the Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540) by May 1997 provided the necessary legal authority to enable the IAEA to ask non-nuclear weapon states information about all aspects of their nuclear activities, and empowered the IAEA to request non-nuclear weapon states to provide it with indirect as well as direct assurances that their nuclear material declarations were complete. The NPT was signed on 1 July 1968 and came into force on 5 March 1970 as a framework treaty, meaning that the details regarding its implementation had to be worked out and agreed by the signatory states at a later stage. However, each NPT member state had the right to decide on its own, as an independent sovereign state, whether it was in its own national interests to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol. Therefore, only for those NPT member states who had agreed to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol, their declarations as well as other sources of information, ranging from the commercially acquired satellite images to environmental sampling of all the state's territory were added to the previously based standard IAEA safeguards mechanisms. Significantly, Iran was one of the few major countries in the Middle East that signed the Additional Protocol, following an agreement, initiated by the visit of the three Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom to Tehran on 21 October 2003. On 10 November 2003, Iran signed the Additional Protocol and indicated that pending its ratification, Iran would voluntarily act in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol. However, Iran eventually decided to withdraw from its voluntary adherence to the Additional Protocol, following the IAEA Board of Governors' decision to send Iran's file to the UN Security Council on 4 February 2006.

76. The public revelations about Iran's uranium enrichment programme in 2002 and 2003, highlighted a number of issues which used to be controversial back in the 1970s, namely the proliferation implications of civil nuclear fuel cycles and the means of controlling civil usable nuclear material. Libya's decision to disclose its nuclear weapon activities in December 2003 brought into public attention the existence of a complex network of black market in radiological and nuclear procurement activities, operating across the globe.

77. As a reaction to the above developments, President Bush in his speech of 11 February 2004 expressed concern about the existing loopholes within the NPT and made proposals in relation to assisting nations to end the use of weapons grade uranium in research reactors and urged increased efforts in preventing further proliferation of enrichment and reprocessing technologies. The Director General of the IAEA on 12 February 2004 also advocated the use of the United Nations Security Council to prevent any withdrawal from the NPT under Article X.1 of the NPT. Although the idea of universal criminalisation of the weapons of mass destruction activities was generally seen as a positive act, the use of the Security Council to force states to carry out specific policies came under increasing question by the developing countries and non-nuclear weapon states.

78. In 2004 and 2005, there was a growing concern that the Security Council might be turned into a legislative body of its own, undermining and replacing traditional multilateral treaty forums, such as the existing disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. There was a general agreement that any discussion to reform the NPT and the IAEA's safeguards procedures should be pursued and promoted in such a manner that a particular country or a group of countries do not feel alienated or threatened. However, by sending Iran's nuclear file from the IAEA to the Security Council of the United Nations on 4 February 2006, it became clear that the IAEA Board of Governors were determined to pursue policies, put forward initially in 2004, aimed at increasing the power of the UN Security Council to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation globally. In a confidential letter, dated 10 March 2004, to the French, German and the United States' negotiators, John Sawers, the British diplomat in charge of Iran and the E3-EU negotiations also outlined the British strategy of using the Security Council to remove one of the Iranian arguments that the suspension in relation to Iran's uranium enrichment programme was voluntary. As he put it, "we could do both by making the voluntary suspension a mandatory requirement to the Security Council, in a Resolution we would aim to adopt I, say, early May."[27]

79. However, under Article VIII of the NPT any amendment to the NPT would come into force only in relation to a particular state, which would agree to ratify it (probably with a similar compliance process which has been taking place in the context of the IAEA's Additional Protocol). Therefore, it is clear that if undue political pressure is put on a state, through the Security Council of the United Nations, to ratify or comply with the proposed changes in the NPT, such actions might force a state or many states to withdraw from the treaty.

80. In relation to Iran's nuclear crisis, looking at the conflict through a historical perspective and taking into account how the NPT and its related IAEA safeguards have evolved historically, one could see that the current conflict between Iran, the IAEA and the Security Council of the United Nations is basically based on the different interpretations put on Iran's obligations under the IAEA safeguards agreement that Iran signed in 1974. All the current main remaining issues that the IAEA wishes to clarify have been related to the possibility of the existence of a weaponised nuclear programme in Iran. Therefore, the IAEA's insistence to obtain more information about P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, or to have a better understanding of the history of centrifuge programme in Iran has been for the purpose of verifying the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations and the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. As the last report of the IAEA Director General dated 23 May 2007 put it, these are related to the issue of IAEA being able to "provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran or about the exclusively peaceful nature of that programme."[28] However, it is important to bear in mind that all the above assurances that the IAEA has been requesting from Iran does not strictly fall under the type of the IAEA safeguards agreement that Iran signed in 1974. The Iranian officials would argue that had Iran ratified the Additional Protocol, it would have been under a legally binding obligation to provide such assurances. However, under the 1974 safeguards agreement that Iran singed with the IAEA, Iran would be obliged to provide the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities, and to provide the IAEA access to those declared nuclear material. In fact, the last report of the Director General of the IAEA dated 23 May 2007 confirmed that Iran had complied with those obligations by stating that there has been "no diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."[29]

81. In what circumstances would Iran more likely to withdraw from the NPT?

82. Under the Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747, Iran has been put under pressure to suspend mainly its uranium enrichment activities, including research and development. However, the right of access to civil nuclear technology has been granted to Iran under Article IV of the NPT. It is important to remember that the right of access to civil nuclear technology has always been crucial to all the NPT non-nuclear weapon states. For example, although Germany and Italy singed the NPT in 1969 and Japan in 1970, despite pressures from the United States and the former Soviet Union on these three countries to ratify the NPT as soon as possible, they refused to do so until 2 May1975 in the cases of Germany and Italy, and 8 June 1976 in the case of Japan. In each of these three countries, which had been defeated in the Second World War, substantial parliamentary debates took place between 1970 and 1975 over whether their freedom of action would be limited in the area of civil nuclear power activities and how far the ratification of the NPT would prevent them from competing in civil nuclear industry with the victorious Allied powers of the Second World War, who had remained free from all restrictions under the NPT.[30] By contrast, Iran during the Shah ratified the NPT as early as 2 February 1970, and the Islamic regime did not even contemplate withdrawing or questioning its obligations under this treaty following the 1979 Revolution in Iran.

83. It would also be crucial to point out, in the light of pressures put on Iran to abandon its rights under the NPT to enrich uranium, that historically on the very same day that the NPT came into force on 5 March 1970, the Federal Republic of Germany signed a tripartite international agreement with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for the production of enriched uranium by the ultra-centrifuge method. Moreover, in the same year (1970), Germany started a pilot plant for the plutonium production. All these historical facts demonstrate the manner in which Germany interpreted its rights under the NPT. None of the signatories to the NPT objected to this German interpretation of its rights under the NPT in 1970.[31]

84. Such a practice, has already set a precedent for any future interpretations put on the NPT as far as the member states' rights to have access to nuclear fuel cycle technologies is concerned. This is an important point because some people have attempted to argue that the reference in Article IV.1 of the NPT which states, "Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," does not encompass the right to develop nuclear fuel cycle technologies or enrichment plants. However, under the generally accepted rules of international law set forth in Articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, any interpretations put on the treaty should be based on the uses of the language of the treaty on its face together with subsequent practice of the parties to the treaty. Recourse can be made to the negotiating record, known as 'preparatory work', only as a secondary means to assist clarifying those issues, which remain ambiguous and the treaty text and subsequent practice do not resolve.

85. In relation to the right of withdrawal, when the NPT was signed by the member states on 1 July 1968, it was agreed that like the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, every signatory state would have the undeniable right to withdraw from the Treaty after three months notice, if that state decides that special circumstance related to the treaty's objectives have endangered its supreme national interests. The right of withdrawal is outlined in Article X.1 of the NPT, according to which the notice of the withdrawal should be given "to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council" and "include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests". Therefore, under the generally accepted rules of international law set forth in Articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, there would be nothing to stop Iran, as an independent sovereign country to withdraw from the NPT and all its related IAEA safeguards once the Iranian government decides to do so.

86. In fact, following my recent discussions in May 2007 with the Iranian diplomats, key legal advisors and decision-makers, it became clear that as far as the decision-making process involving Iran's withdrawal from the NPT is concerned, the Iranian parliament (Majles) and the Council of Guardians have already provided the government with the permission to take such a course of action, if the government decides it would be in Iran's interest to do so.[32] Iranian diplomats and legal advisors have also expressed their own personal opinions to me that any further Security Council resolutions and increased military threats against Iran which would amount to humiliation of Iran in international forums and conferences would most likely lead to Iran's withdrawal from the NPT sooner than some analysts have already suggested.

 

87. What has been the role of Iran in the NPT related export control measure, agreements and proposals between 1970 and 2007?

88. As an additional measure and separate from the IAEA safeguards, following the NPT's entry into force in 1970, export controls to regulate and control the export of nuclear related material were organised in a more systematic manner. Although the NPT does not explicitly recognise the authority of the current export control measures (i.e. the Nuclear Supplier Group), a number of organisations or conventions have been developed to deal with the export control provisions specifically mentioned in the Articles of the NPT. Two similar but structurally different organisations, the Zangger Committee and Nuclear Supplier Group (London Club) were developed in the 1970s. Missile Control Regime (MCR) was also established, as a third organisation in the 1980s to deal with export of technologies related to missiles. The Zangger Committee, which was formed in 1971, was an attempt to define, in more detail, some of the provisions mentioned in the NPT Article III.2, which states that "Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide: (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this Article."

89. Consequently, a series of meetings were held in Vienna, chaired by Professor Claude Zangger from Switzerland, between 1971 and 1974, in order to provide a set of guidelines and a list of items subject to export control, known as the 'trigger list'.[33] Items in the first trigger list included nuclear reactors and specified equipment such as pressure vessels, fuel-charging and discharging machines, control rods, pressure tubes, zirconium tubes and primary coolant pumps, deuterium and heavy water exceeding specified amounts, nuclear-grade graphite, reprocessing plants and equipment designed or prepared for them, fuel fabrication plants and equipment (not including analytical instruments) designed or prepared for uranium isotope separation.[34] Although the guidelines and the trigger list which was drawn out and presented to the IAEA (document INFCIRC/209) in September 1974 had no legal binding on states, the individual member states tried to give effect to them through their own countries' internal export control laws and regulations. Further clarifications and updates to the list have been made since 1974. The Zangger Committee's trigger list would apply to those states not in full IAEA's safeguards. In 1992, following the revelations about Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapon development, other items such as plants for the production of heavy water, deuterium and deuterium compounds and equipment were added to the list.[35]

90. The Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) also known as London Club was formed in 1975 as a response to India's import of nuclear technology, and the subsequent development and explosion of an atomic device by that country in 1974 under the pretext of a 'peaceful nuclear explosion'. The main concern of the NSG was to restrict the export of nuclear technology to prevent the development of similar atomic devices by other non-nuclear weapon states. The aim was to develop stricter guidelines than the trigger list provided by the Zangger Committee and to persuade France, which was neither a member of the NPT nor a member of the Zangger Committee, to monitor its export policies. Initially only seven major supplier states (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and the USSR) were members of the London Club. By 1977 the suppliers of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, expressed their common policies in a document and presented it to the IAEA for circulation to all its member states. Although the document known, as INFCIRC/254 did not have a legally binding obligation, it contained a set of guidelines to prevent the export of material and equipment (mentioned in a trigger list annexed to it) related to nuclear weapons. A number of nuclear sensitive materials such as heavy water and technologies related for its production, enrichment and reprocessing facilities were included in the NSG guidelines. By 1990s the number of states joining the NSG had increased to more than 30 with the main states being Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, USSR, UK, USA.[36]

91. By the end of 1977 another major effort was initiated by the United States for a comprehensive technical evaluation of the nuclear fuel cycle, the reprocessing and enrichment facilities, the fast breeder reactor and a study for evaluating the prospects for developing fuel cycles with less potential to be diverted to military uses. The project leaders of the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation programme (INFCE) met mainly in Vienna for more than two years but failed to reach a consensus or find any absolute technical means for the establishment of safe 'proliferation proof' cycles. Nevertheless, the efforts of INFCE culminated in the establishment of a Committee on Assurances of Supply within the IAEA Board of Governors in June 1980. This Committee has been a main source of advise on the question of supply of nuclear material, equipment and technology, and fuel cycle to the IAEA' Board of Governors since that time.[37]

92. However, it would be important to point out that the export control measures between 1970-1978 were not targeted against Iran under the Shah. In fact, the historical records illustrate that Iran, as a main strategic ally of the western industrialised countries until the 1979 Revolution, was given a special status to have access to full nuclear cycle technology without any restrictions. Consequently, Iran purchased in 1975 a ten percent share in the EURODIF gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant, which was originally founded in 1973 with France 45% share, Belgium 11% share, Italy 23 % , Spain 11% share and Sweden 10% share, in the nuclear site of Tricastin in France. Sweden withdrew from the project in 1974, and subsequently Sweden's ten per cent share was transferred to Iran that had provided the consortium with 1 billion dollars (and another 180 million dollars in 1977) towards its construction. Italy reduced its share of EURODIF to 16% in 1980 when the French Partner Cogema purchased Italy's share. As a result, France's share in the EURODIF increased to 52%. Iran has continued to hold its share of this uranium enrichment plant after the 1979 Revolution, and it has taken part in its annual meetings of the Board of Directors between 1979 and 2007.[38] In addition, in 1975 President Ford even provided the permission for the United States' nuclear material to be fabricated into fuel in Iran for Iran's own reactors, and for export to those countries that the United States had bilateral agreements. A decision was also considered by the United State's government for approving reprocessing of the United States' nuclear material in a multinational plant to be established inside Iran.[39] In 1976 South Africa also agreed to supply Iran with $700 million of yellow cake.[40] Therefore, it was not surprising that an export control international conference was organised at Perspolis (near Shiraz in the Fars province) in Iran in 1977 to discuss the problems of exporting nuclear technology from industrialised countries to developing countries, especially those sensitive nuclear facilities related to enrichment or reprocessing plants. It was at that conference that a proposal for the establishment of an international fuel cycle centre was first put forward.[41]

93. There is a generally held misconception, especially on the part of Iran, that nuclear non-proliferation policies that have been adopted by the United States since the 1980s are specific policies directed against the Islamic regime, and that if the Shah were still in power in Iran, the United States would have provided it with all the necessary uranium enrichment and reprocessing facilities. However, a detailed study of the changes taking place in the United States following the election of President Carter into office in January 1977 indicate that the United States adopted radical new nuclear non-proliferation policies as early as 1977 (two years before the 1979 Revolution in Iran). President Carter had made a specific point during his presidential campaign in 1976 to take radical new initiatives once in office. President Carter's increasing concerns over dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation arising from the anticipated global expansion of nuclear reactors, created a number of major crises even in the United States' relationships with its close Western allies, such as the UK, France, Japan and Belgium between 1977 and 1979. These European countries, had historically invested substantially in their fuel reprocessing and plutonium recycling as part of their nuclear fuel cycle programmes for their civil nuclear reactors. However, the United States, which had been highly critical of the European civil nuclear power programmes wished to halt these programmes at global level, as a measure to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. Consequently, the United States introduced domestic legislations to ban the development of fast-breeder reactors (FBRs) and their related reprocessing facilities that would have been necessary to produce the fuel for civil nuclear reactors in the United States. More specifically, in order to make bilateral agreements with other states, including EURATOM, compatible with the United States' overall policy on nuclear non-proliferation, the United States introduced the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act in 1978, which asked the administration of President Carter to renegotiate all the existing bi-lateral agreements with other states. Therefore, even if the Shah were still in power in the 1980s, he would have most probably faced major criticisms and significant obstacles in acquiring uranium enrichment and reprocessing facilities from the United States. The Shah would have probably been more successful to pursue his interests in acquiring uranium enrichment and reprocessing technologies through the European countries.

94. In order to prevent diversion of nuclear material from civil nuclear fuel-reprocessing plants into nuclear weapons, effective international control and safeguards over the production, storage and use of separated plutonium was proposed in 1980.[42] The nuclear export control agreements, which had been incorporated in the IAEA safeguards since 1970s were further discussed at the time of the NPT Review Conferences in 1975, 1980, 1985 and 1990. However, it was not until the advent of the 1991 Persian Gulf Conflict and the discovery of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapon programme as well as the dissolution of the USSR and the loss of control over its export control arrangements that the IAEA's safeguards system, together with other international safeguards systems such as arms transfer control regime, shifted their emphasis and efforts towards more inspection, accountability and transparency. At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference a number of non-nuclear weapon states, notably Iran, asked for active participation in the Zangger Committee and NSG as well as for greater transparency of these two group's nuclear-export activities.[43] Between 1995 and 2000, the NSG held two international meetings in Vienna in 1997 and in New York in 1999 to pursue the Principles and Objectives for nuclear non-proliferation as it was stated in the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. By the time of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, attempts were made by the member states of the Zangger Committee and NSG to include references to their export control activities in the Final Document of the Review Conference. Such proposed references included statements such as adopting "understandings of the Zangger Committee in connection with any nuclear cooperation with non-nuclear weapon states not parties to the Treaty." However, any such references, which could have legitimised and officially acknowledged these two export control groups as part of the NPT, were opposed by a number of non-nuclear weapon states, especially Egypt, Iran and Malaysia, who feared that such wordings would legitimise the existing restrictions put by the industrialised countries to transfer nuclear technology to civil programmes of the developing countries.

95. As part of the E3/EU negotiations with Iran, which began in October 2003 and continued through out 2004, 2005 and 2006, Iran put forward a proposal on 17 January 2005, and in paragraphs 25 and 32 of that proposal, Iran specifically asked for the acknowledgement of Iran's inherent right to acquire legitimate means for self-defence pursuant to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. Iran asked for removal of restrictions against the transfer of conventional armament and their relevant sensitive dual use goods and technologies to Iran, and demanded the E3/EU to cooperate actively with Iran in the area of export control and to exchange expertise and knowledge to assist Iran to put in place an effective national export control related to sensitive material, equipment and technology, and containing enforcement procedures with appropriate penalties which could contribute to the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As part of the specific proposals related to the elements of 'Objective Guarantees', the same export control policies were suggested by Iran in their proposal of 23 March 2005 presented to the E3/EU member states in Paris. In September-October 2006 Iran proposed an international consortium, based on the IAEA's main proposals on multinational fuel activities, including enrichment, published on 22 February 2005 that would have dealt with all the export control issues related to Iran's nuclear programme. However, Iran has never received any response to these proposals because of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1) insistence that Iran would need to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities indefinitely before the start of any negotiations.

 

96. Why have the United States and the United Kingdom been reluctant to provide a legally binding and unconditional security assurances to Iran and other non-nuclear weapon states?

97. Like most other non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT, Iran has sought to obtain legally binding and unconditional negative security assurance (that the nuclear weapon states would not attack them with nuclear weapons), and positive security assurance (that the nuclear weapon states would assist them if attacked by nuclear weapons). By a legally binding security assurances, it is meant an independent agreement or treaty, or a protocol attached to the NPT, instead of the present general statements of intent embodied, for example, in the 1978 and 1982 unilateral statements by the nuclear weapon states at the first and second United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament (UNSSOD), or a series of separate statements by the nuclear weapon states reflected on the 11 April 1995 Security Council resolution 984. However, some would argue that a Security Council resolution would be legally binding.[44]

98. Although the Security Council resolution 984 of 11 April 1995 provided both negative and positive security assurances, the type of assurances were seen as being similar to the positive security assurances that the three NPT depository nuclear weapon states had provided in 1968. The conditional terms of the Security Council Resolution 984 have been criticised on the grounds that the NATO states and the Russian Federation continue to keep their option of the first use of nuclear weapons; and that in case of a nuclear attack, the agreement of the Security Council had to be obtained before any action in support of the victim or against a nuclear aggressor could be taken. Following the 984 Resolution, China restated its long-time position regarding no-first use of nuclear weapons and called for an international convention on no-first use.

99. The three nuclear weapon states (France, The United Kingdom and the United States) have particularly been reluctant to provide a legally binding and unconditional negative security assurance to the non-nuclear weapon states, such as Iran, on three basic military grounds. First, there is the assumption on the part of these nuclear weapon states that an unconditional negative security assurance would undermine the basic element of uncertainty, which is often defined as the key in maintaining a credible nuclear deterrence against an adversary. Second, France, the United Kingdom, the United States as well as the Russian Federation continue to regard as legitimate the right to retaliate with nuclear weapons in the case of an attack with chemical or biological weapons. Furthermore, these nuclear weapon states believe that an unconditional negative security assurance might encourage the use of chemical and biological weapons by countries such as Iran at the time of war and crises.

100. As part of the E3/EU negotiations with Iran that had began in October 2003 and continued through out 2004, 2005 and 2006, Iran put forward a proposal on 17 January 2005 dealing with security assurances. In paragraphs 9 and 10 of the proposal Iran had asked for both negative and positive security assurances (i.e. rejection of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against Iran and adoption of appropriate measures, through the United Nations Security Council to prevent it). However, Iran has never received any reply to that proposal or any other proposal put forward to the E3/EU in subsequent months on 29 April, 17 September, 30 March, 22 August, 12 and 21 September and October 2006 because of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1) insistence that Iran would need to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities indefinitely before the start of any negotiations.

101. Although the E3/EU put forward its own package of proposals to deal with Iran's nuclear programme on 5 August 2005, one of the major weaknesses of that proposal was the absence of the United States in providing Iran with any specific security guarantees. In the second package of incentives offered to Iran on 6 June 2006, on behalf of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (the P5+1), the United States was again reluctant to provide specific security assurances to Iran.

102. The negative and positive security assurances embodied in the 1995 Security Council Resolution 984 are conditional, and as far as the three nuclear weapon states (France, the United Kingdom and the United States) are concerned, such assurances would not be applicable to those non-nuclear weapon states, which have not been in full compliance with their NPT safeguards agreements. These nuclear weapon states may interpret the 984 Security Council Resolution in a way to exclude Iran from benefiting the terms of that Resolution. Therefore, some believe that in the whole of the Middle East and South Asia as well as Central Asia and Caucasus, Iran is the only major country with inadequate security protection. India, Israel and Pakistan would rely on their own nuclear weapons for deterrence and defence. Turkey is a member of the NATO and all the Arab states of the Persian Gulf would be protected by their close military and political relationship with the United States and its allies. It is within this overall regional and international context that Iran's civil nuclear programme, similar to the full nuclear fuel cycle facilities in Japan, has been viewed by some forming a viable latent nuclear deterrence for Iran. Therefore, it would be vital that in any discussions of Iran's nuclear programme, Iran's legitimate security concerns to be fully taken into account by the members of the Security Council and other states involved in negotiations with Iran.

 

103. What are the obstacles as well as common interests in the diplomatic negotiations to reach an agreement between Iran and the P5+1?

104. As far as the diplomatic negotiations in resolving the nuclear issue is concerned, both Iran and E3/EU (including the United States) should bear the responsibility for the failure of diplomatic talks between 2003 and 2007. Iran should have been more transparent and active in responding to issues of concern put to it by the IAEA. At the same time, the E3/EU and the United States should have been more responsive to several reasonable proposals put forward by Iran between 2004 and 2007 to reach an overall agreement on the nuclear, security, economic and other issues.

105. More specifically, in relation to curtailing Iran's enrichment programme, there were a number of important missed opportunities between January 2005 and April 2006, during which Iran had put forward proposals which could have limited the number of centrifuges operating in Iran. If these proposals were received positively by the E3/EU, an agreement with Iran could have been reached to limit substantially the scope and extent of Iran's uranium enrichment programme. Such an agreement could have prevented Iran from launching into a full-scale industrialised production of uranium enrichment by now. However, the United States and the European countries' unrealistic and unreasonable insistence that Iran should suspend all its uranium enrichment activities, even at the level of research and development, prior to the start of any negotiations, and Iran's refusal to do so has led to the current diplomatic dead-lock.

106. Iran has been reluctant to suspend all of its uranium enrichment programme indefinitely on both technical and psychological grounds. Technologically, a lesson has already been learnt from the North Korean experience when in 1994 as a result of the US/North Korea Framework Agreement, North Korea suspended the construction of a 200 megawatt-electric reactor at Taechon and a 50 megawatt-electric reactor at Yongbyon. However, once North Korea decided to restart the construction of these two reactors, following the collapse of negotiations between the parties in 2002, it faced considerable technological difficulties to such an extent that it had to abandon the construction of the 200 megawatt-electric reactor, because of the substantial damage done to it. North Korea had also found the progress on the construction of the 50 Megawatt-electric reactor as very slow due to its long period of suspension.[45] Iran has also the bitter experience of facing the consequences of a long-term suspension of the Bushehr civil nuclear power reactor between 1979 to the present day. In addition, I have personally witnessed and reported the negative psychological effects, which an indefinite or long-term suspension of a scientific project could have on the moral, pace of work and future career development of the Iranian nuclear scientists.[46] Significantly, on12 September 2006, Iran offered to suspend its uranium enrichment for a two months period. However, this offer was rejected. Iran also offered to suspend some aspects of its uranium enrichment programme on 26 April 2007. However, this offer was also rejected by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), who continue to insist that all uranium enrichment related activities, including research and development, would have to be suspended as a precondition to the start of any negotiations.

107. Given the technological advances that Iran has already made in its uranium enrichment programme, especially between October 2006 and May 2007, it would be highly unlikely for Iran to agree to any limitations to its industrial scale uranium enrichment programme. Internal political developments in Iran, and significant changes in the perceived balance of power in the Middle East region, following the war in Lebanon in July 2006, and the deteriorating situation in Iraq, would be additional reasons as to why it would be much more difficult today, in comparison to 2005 or early 2006, to ask Iran to halt its industrial production of nuclear enrichment programme. In today's technological and political circumstances, only the Iranian proposal put forward between January 2005 and October 2006, and again on 31 May 2007, for the establishment of a multinational consortium (based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) main proposals on multinational fuel and enrichment activities published on 22 February 2005)[47] to allow uranium enrichment on the Iranian soil under a comprehensive and enhanced IAEA monitoring and safeguards system, could form the basis for negotiations leading to an agreement.

108. The 6 June 2006 proposal submitted to Iran by the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) has also positive points and could form a basis for the start of the negotiations. The state of the human rights in Iran and the release of the US-Iranian citizens held in Iran as well as the state of the Revolutionary Guards arrested by the United States' forces in Iraq could also be discussed within this framework. I was told by a number of Iranian diplomats that Iran might even be prepared to resume its cooperation and respond to the remaining outstanding questions by the IAEA, if the P5+1 refrain from taking any further sanctions or resolutions at the UN Security Council against Iran. Any further economic and political sanctions through resolutions by the UN Security Council or any military attacks or even further threats of military attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities would most probably lead to Iran's withdrawal from the NPT and a considerable weakening of the already fragile nuclear non-proliferation regime at global level.

109. Despite the obvious changes in personnel and policies under the new government of President Ahmadinejad, one could still detect continuities in Iran's nuclear decision-making process, which has been left over from the Khatami's reformist government. There are moderate and liberal minded people amongst the people advising President Ahmadinejad. I have met and talked with them. The main key legal and technical advisors and top decision-makers based at the United Nations in New York and Vienna have been able to keep their posts at the Foreign Ministry since 1980s. Ambassador Soltanieh, currently representing Iran at IAEA has been Iran's foremost legal and technical advisor in nuclear and arms control fields since 1980s with various posts as Iran's Ambassador in Geneva and Vienna. Ambassador Soltanieh is a US/European educated diplomat promoting arms control and nuclear non-proliferation policies representing Iran at various international organisations. Ambassador Javad Zarif is also a prominent arms control, disarmament and human rights specialist who was educated in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. He is familiar with both the western as well as the Iranian sensitivities and concerns. Such reformist individuals based at Iran's Foreign Ministry have been able to retain their key positions in various capacities and continue to remain a main source of advice to the Supreme National Security Council and the Leader, Ayatollah Khamene'i, who would ultimately have the responsibility under the Iranian constitution to make decisions on nuclear issues. Therefore, it was not surprising that following the Security Council Resolution 1737 on 23 December 2006, which imposed sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, the Iranian parliament (Majles) voted on 27 December 2006 for a general policy of obliging the government of President Ahmadinejad to revise its cooperation with the IAEA. However, the parliament refrained from making any specific legal or technical demands, leaving the decision on such specific responses to the specialist officials at the Foreign Ministry who deal with Iran's legal and technical commitments under international laws and treaties. In fact, it would be quite difficult and risky for any kind of government, whether religious reformist or hard-line fundamentalist, to dispense with the advice and experience of these career diplomats who have been involved in Iran's nuclear decision-making process since the 1980s.

110. The common link between Iran, the United States, the European countries and the rest of international community is their shared interest to combat the greatest single terrorist threat, which is al-Qaeda. This point is highlighted by a close study done by Ruhi Ramezani who is a Professor Emeritus of Government and Foreign affairs at the University of Virginia and has published extensively on the U.S. and Iran relations. He argues that al-Qaeda is in an ideological war with both Iran and the west. Professor Ramezani points to the fact that on 5 May 2007, al-Zawahiri, who is al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader and Osama bin Laden's chief strategist intensified his verbal attacks on the Shia and in anticipation of U.S.-Iran talks and chided Iran for having given up its slogan of "America, the Greatest Satan", [for] slogan "America, the closest partner". In response, Iran's President Mahmood Ahmadinejad blasted at him and said, "Why do you, who want to kill Americans, kill innocent people and place bombs in the [Iraqi] market place? On behalf of all the women and children in Asia, Europe and America, who have been victims of al-Qaeda terrorists, I wish for you and your terrorist group hell fire, and would gladly sacrifice my life to annihilate you." President Bush also spoke in similar terms on 23 May 2007 when he said, "If al-Qaeda succeeds in Iraq, they would pursue their stated goals of turning that nation into a base from which to overthrow moderate governments in the region, impose their hateful ideology on millions, and launch new attacks on America and other nations. In short, al-Qaeda is public enemy number one for Iraq's young democracy, and al-Qaeda is public enemy number one for America, as well." A former Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi also emphasised in May 2003 that Iran was "the pioneer in fighting al-Qaeda terrorists", and "Iran was the al-Qaeda enemy before the U.S."[48]

111. It is important to acknowledge that issues involved in Iran's nuclear programme are invariably linked to much wider issues of management of nuclear energy/power at global level and to the changing role, rules and regulations of the NPT, IAEA and Security Council of the United Nations. These issues are extremely time-consuming subjects, which would need to be discussed and resolved in a multilateral and peaceful manner, free from threats of economic, political and military sanctions or the use of force. In their various proposals (please see Appendix II) Iran has proved to be ready to discuss these issues.

 

 

Appendix I: Chronology of the Main Events in the Procurement of Iran's Centrifuge and Uranium Enrichment Programme:

 

1985 = The decision was made by Iran to launch a centrifuge enrichment programme.

 

1987 = Iran received drawings of the centrifuge P-1 type along with samples of centrifuge components through a foreign intermediary.

 

1988-1995 = The start of the first phase of the centrifuge programme, during which basic research and initial development work was located mainly at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran premises in Tehran, with laboratory work conducted at the Plasma Physics Laboratories of Tehran Nuclear Research Centre. There were also tests of centrifuge rotors at the Amir Kabir University in Tehran and on the premises of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran in Tehran without insertion of any nuclear material. Some 2000 components and some subassemblies were obtained from abroad through foreign intermediaries or by Iranian entities between 1993 and 1995.

 

1994-1996 = Iran received a duplicate set of the P-1 drawings along with components for 500 P-1 type centrifuges as well as design drawings for a P-2 type centrifuge from foreign sources in 1994.

 

1995-2002 = Prototype testing and development work of the P-1 type centrifuges was relocated to the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran. Some mechanically testing of P-1 type centrifuges as well as the testing with UF6 was carried out in 19 machines in 1999 and 2002.

 

1998 = The first test of the centrifuges using an inert gas (xenon) was conducted.

 

1999-2002 = Series of tests using UF6 were performed in the centrifuges by Iran and an enrichment level of 1.2% per cent U-235 was achieved.

 

2001 = Iran began the construction of two facilities at Natanz about 250 km (150 miles) south west of the capital Tehran. The smaller scale Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, planned to have some 1000 centrifuges for enrichment up to 5% percent U235. The large scale commercial Fuel Enrichment Plant was planned to contain over 50,000 centrifuges for enrichment up to 5% U-235.

 

2002-2003 = Some basic manufacturing and mechanical testing of a small number of modified P-2 type centrifuges was carried out at the workshop of a private company under contract with the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

 

2003 = All centrifuge equipment related to P-2 type centrifuges were moved to Pars Trash from the private company, which had been under the contract with the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

 

2003 = Research and development activities on centrifuges were moved from the Kalaye Electric company workshop in Tehran to Natanz about 250 km (150 miles) south west of the capital Tehran.

 

25 June 2003 = Iran introduced UF6 into the first centrifuge at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz in a single machine testing.

 

19 August 2003 = Iran began the testing of a small ten-machine cascade at Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz using UF6.

 

October 2003 = Some single machine testing using UF6 was carried out at Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz. The installation of a 164 machine cascade was finalised.

 

21 October 2003 = The Iranian Government and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued in Tehran an agreed statement on Iran's nuclear programme. In that statement, Iran indicated that it had "decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA."

 

10 November 2003 = Iran accepted to sign the enhanced safeguard agreement of the IAEA, known as the Additional Protocol. Iran indicated that pending the entry into force of Protocol, Iran would voluntarily act in accordance with the provisions of that Protocol.

 

18 December 2003 = Iran signed the enhanced IAEA safeguards measure, known as the Additional Protocol.

 

29 December 2003 = Iran voluntarily agreed to suspend manufacturing, assembling and testing of gas centrifuges.

 

29 June 2004 = Iran resumed manufacturing, assembly and testing of centrifuges after a voluntary suspension period of six months.

 

14 November 2004 = Agreement reached between Iran, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union, so that Iran on voluntary basis and as further confidence building measure, continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and specially manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components, the assembly installation, testing or operation of gas centrifuges and all tests and production for conversion at any uranium conversion installation.

 

1 August 2005 = Iran notified the IAEA that Iran had decided to resume the uranium conversion activities to produce UF6 gas at Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility, which is the feed material use in the gas centrifuges at Natanz.

 

10-11 January 2006 = After notifying the IAEA in the early January 2006, Iran resumed the uranium enrichment process at the above ground Pilot Enrichment Plant after a long voluntary suspension period which was in force since October 2003. 52 IAEA safeguards seals on the P-1 type gas centrifuges were removed in the presence of the IAEA inspectors at Natanz, and at two other workshops in Tehran - Pars Trash and Farayand Technique sites.

 

11 January 2006 = Iran started enrichment tests by feeding a single P-1 type machine with UF6 gas.

 

10 January 2006 - 11 February 2007 = Iran began a substantial renovation of the gas handling system at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. Quality control of components and some rotor testing carried out at Farayand Technique centrifuge workshop in Tehran and at Natanz. Equipment such as process tanks and an autoclave were moved into the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz.

 

4 February 2006 = The Board of Governors of the IAEA decided to refer Iran's non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement to the Security Council of the United Nations.

 

5 February 2006 = Iran withdrew from the IAEA's enhanced safeguards system called the Additional Protocol.

 

15 February 2006 = Iran began testing a 10-machine centrifuge cascade.

 

22 February 2006 = Iran began testing with a 20 machine centrifuge cascade.

 

March 2006 = Iran completed installation of 164-machine cascade and initiated to introduce UF6 into it. Iran also began construction of a second centrifuge cascade.

 

29 March 2006 = The President of the United Nations Security of Council made a non-binding statement on behalf of the Security Council in which it called on Iran to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA.

 

13 April 2006 = Iran declared to the IAEA that Iran had successfully obtained an enrichment level of 3.6% U235 in its centrifuges.

 

15 April 2006 = Iranian officials announced that Iran has been engaged in the research and development of the advanced P-2 type centrifuge, which could enrich uranium faster than the older type P-1 design currently being installed at the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz.

 

June 2006 = Iran stated that it had achieved enrichment levels of 5% U-235 in a test run in the 164-machine cascade.

 

June-July 2006 = The period of intense diplomatic negotiations with Iran. The permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (often referred to as P5+1) offered a package of incentives to Iran in exchange for Iran's permanent suspension of its uranium enrichment programme.

 

12 July 2006 = Start of the war between Lebanon and Israel.

 

31 July 2006 = The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1696 under Article 40, Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter by a vote of 14 in favour and one against (Qatar), demanding that Iran should suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA by 31 August 2006 or face possible economic and diplomatic sanctions under Article 41, Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter.

 

14 August 2006 = The ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon came into effect following the UN Security Council Resolution 1710 adopted on Friday 11 August 2007.

 

22 August 2006 = Iran provided a 21 pages long counter proposal to the packaged proposal offered by the P5+1 to Iran on 6 June 2006. Iran welcomed some aspects of the P5+1 offer. Iran proposed a joint venture with the European nuclear energy consortium EURODIF to conduct uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. Iran indicated that it would be prepared to discuss suspension of uranium enrichment during the negotiations and not prior to it.

 

15 September 2006 = Iran's proposal for the establishment of an international consortium was considered very promising by the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, leading to public statements of progress following his meetings with Iran's nuclear negotiator.

 

4 October 2006 = Iran's proposal of 22 August 2006 was rejected by the Permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) because Iran was not prepared to suspend its uranium enrichment activities prior to the start of the negotiations.

 

9 October 2006 = The North Korean nuclear test.

 

11 October 2006 = Iran in a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations indicated that to address concerns about Iran's commitment to the NPT, Iran would be prepared to provide guarantees that it would never withdraw from the NPT, once it reached a certain level of advancement. Iran offered to resume the implementation of the intrusive inspection regime of the Additional Protocol in the context of a negotiated settlement. Using the model suggested by the IAEA experts, Iran proposed to convert its enrichment facilities to regional and multinational schemes, which would have provided the greatest degree of transparency by allowing the concerned parties to participate in the ownership and operation of these facilities.

 

Mid-October 2006 = Iran brought a second cascade of centrifuges on line.

 

November 2006 = The mid-term elections in the United States brought both the Congress and Senate under the control of the Democrats who had been critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

 

December 2006 = The publication of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel of experts convened at the request of the United States Congress, to assess the situation in Iraq and make policy recommendations. One of the 79 recommendations offered in the report was the need for the United States to start negotiations with Iran to stabilise the security of Iraq.

 

15 December 2006 = The Assembly of Experts and municipal councils elections were held in Iran. The religious conservatives and reformists gained significant victory at the expense of religious hard-line fundamentalists allied with President Ahmadinejad.

 

23 December 2006 = The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the legally binding resolution 1737 under Article 41 of Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter imposing sanctions on Iran's import or export of sensitive nuclear material and equipment and freezing the financial assets of persons or entities supporting its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems.

 

27 December 2006 = The Iranian parliament passed a bill to oblige the government to review its cooperation with the IAEA and accelerate Iran's nuclear programme only four days after the imposition of sanctions on Iran by the Security Council Resolution 1737 on 23 December 2007. The bill, which was approved by the Council of Guardians, also permits the government to withdraw from the NPT or to stop IAEA inspections in Iran. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority of 203 deputies who were present with 161 voted in favour, and only 15 against and 15 abstained.

 

January 2007 = Iran started to install about 3000 centrifuges at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz. The centrifuges were slated to be organised into eighteen 164-machine cascades that operated low enriched uranium, known as 'module.' The underground Fuel Enrichment Plant could hold about 17-18 modules (each module consists of 3000 cascade centrifuges) for a total of 50,000 to 53,000 centrifuges.

 

22 February 2007 = Iran continued to test single machines, as well as the 10-and 20 machine cascades and the two 164-machine cascades (one of which Iran has since disconnected) at the above ground Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant.

 

21 February - 17 March 2007 = Iran fed 4.8 kg of UF6 into the single machines and the 10-machine cascade at the above ground Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant.

 

Mid-February 2007 = Iran informed the IAEA that two 164-machine cascades were installed at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant and that they were operating under vacuum, an operational state established prior to enriching uranium. Two other 164-machine cascades were in the final stages of installation.

 

23 February 2007 = The Director General of IAEA's report on Iran's nuclear programme submitted to the Board of Governors of the IAEA and to the Security Council of the United Nations.

 

Late February 2007 = No uranium hexafluoride had been introduced into either of the two cascade centrifuges which were installed and operating under vacuum at the under ground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. The area where uranium hexafluoride would be introduced was still under the IAEA seal. There were two 164 centrifuge cascades and a few small cascades installed at the under ground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz.

 

March 2007 = The two 164 centrifuge cascades at the under-ground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz started to enrich uranium periodically and produce only small amounts of low enriched uranium. The enriched uranium product of one 164-machine cascade was being dumped into the same tank as the waste or "tails." The product from the second cascade was collected and saved.

 

24 March 2007 = The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the legally binding resolution 1747 under Article 41 of Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter imposing further sanctions on Iran.

 

March 2007 = Iran stated that it had plans to complete installation of all 3000 centrifuges at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz in May 2007.

 

9 April 2007 = Dr. Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the Director of Atomic Organisation of Iran officially announced the industrial scale production of enrichment at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz - about 250 km (150 miles) south west of the capital Tehran, during a ceremony called 'the nuclear day', the first anniversary of uranium enrichment in Iran. President Ahmadinejad also announced the industrial scale production of nuclear fuel by Iran during the same ceremony.

 

18 April 2007 = In a letter from the IAEA to Iran, the IAEA confirms that according to the information provided by Iran, there are eight cascades of centrifuges (every cascade consists of about 164 centrifuges) at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz and that some nuclear material UF6 was being fed into those cascades. The total number of centrifuges was believed to have been 1312.

 

Mid April - 13 May 2007 = Iran fed 260 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride UF6) in the eight cascades (a total of 1312 centrifuges) of uranium at the under-ground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz. This was the first occasion that Iran had operated more than one cascade (164 centrifuges) simultaneously.

 

13 May 2007 = Iran agreed to an unannounced (short-notice of two hours) inspection of Iran's underground uranium enrichment facility in Natanz by the IAEA inspectors. The IAEA found that Iran was operating eight 164-machine cascades simultaneously (a total of 1312 centrifuges). These centrifuges were being fed with UF6. Two other similar cascades (164 centrifuges each) had been vacuum tested and three more were under construction.

 

 

Appendix II: The Chronology of Main Events in the EU3/EU and Iran's Negotiations:

 

 

21 October 2003 = The Tehran Agreement. At the end of their visit to Tehran the Foreign Ministers of Britain, France and Germany made a joint statement with Iran agreeing to take measures aimed at the settlement of all outstanding IAEA issues with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme and at enhancing confidence for peaceful cooperation in the nuclear field. Iran decided to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol and commence ratification procedures. Iran decided to continue to cooperate with the IAEA in accordance with the Protocol in advance of its ratification. Iran decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA.

 

October -July 2004 = Several informal meetings were held to discuss in details the content of the Tehran agreement.

 

15 October 2004 = The meeting between the envoys of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Union at the State Department in Washington to discuss the possibility of a series of formal negotiations between the European Union countries and Iran over the suspension of Iran's enrichment programme. A four page plan had been drafted by Britain, France and Germany which was circulated and discussed but not formally adopted.

 

21 - 27 October 2004 = The EU and Iranian negotiators met in Austria to discuss Iran's nuclear and the uranium enrichment programme. Although they failed to reach an agreement over the suspension of the uranium enrichment activities, they decided to continue the negotiations in the following weeks.

 

5 November 2004 = The third round of negotiations between Iran and the E3 (Britain, France and Germany) and the European Union (EU). The 25 European Union leaders offered Iran economic and political incentives in exchange for Iran's suspension of its enriched uranium programme.

 

6 November 2004 = A preliminary nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the European Union in Paris following 22 hours of negotiations between 5 and 6 November 2004. On 8 November 2004, the hard line Jomhuri-Eslami newspaper denounced the talks on its front page and criticised the Iranian negotiators who conducted them.

 

14 November 2004 = The Paris Agreement between Iran and France, Germany and the United Kingdom, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union (E3/EU) in which Iran agreed to "on a voluntary basis, to continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and specifically: the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components; the assembly, installation, testing or operation of gas centrifuges; work to undertake any plutonium separation, or to construct or operate any plutonium separation installation; and all tests or production at any uranium conversion installation." They agreed to continue negotiations to find an agreement for providing 'objective guarantees' that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes. The agreement would equally include firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues. The Paris Agreement also included a main section on terrorism by stating, "Irrespective of progress on the nuclear issue, the E3/EU and Iran confirm their determination to combat terrorism, including the activities of Al Qa'ida and other terrorist groups such as the MeK [Mujahedin Khalq']. They also confirmed their continued support for the political process in Iraq aimed at establishing a constitutionally elected Government."

 

December 2004 = The first round of meeting to discuss the content of the Paris Agreement took place in Brussels.

 

17 January 2005 = Proposal by Iran presented to the Political and Security Working group in Geneva. Iran demanded security assurances from the E3/EU backed up by the United Nations Security Council guarantee to prevent any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against Iran, and any direct or indirect attack or sabotage or threat against Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran also asked for the removal of restrictions against the transfer of conventional armaments and their relevant sensitive dual use goods and technologies to Iran. Iran proposed the establishment of a senior expert level group with the participation of their respective military officials from the E3/EU to carry out consultations on defence issues in the framework of mutual defence cooperation. Iran expressed its readiness to cooperate in the area of export control in relation to its own sensitive material, equipment and technology to prevent the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. However, Iran received no response to its proposal.

 

21 January 2005 = A second round of meeting to discuss the content of the Paris Agreement took place in Geneva.

 

8-11 February 2005 = A third round of meeting to discuss the content of the Paris Agreement took place in Geneva.

 

8-11 March 2005 = A forth round of meeting to discuss the content of the Paris Agreement took place in Geneva.

 

23 March 2005 = A steering committee to consider the results of December-March working groups took place at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris to review whether the negotiations, which broke up in Geneva in the middle of March 2005 following three months of negotiations, had made enough progress to justify the continuation of diplomatic talks. Iran put a proposal to the E3 negotiators (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) to consider Iran's enrichment of uranium on a small scale. Iran presented elements of 'objective guarantees' which consisted of a strong and mutually beneficial relations between Iran and the E3/EU; confinement of the Iranian programme to open fuel cycle with no reprocessing; ceiling of the uranium enrichment at low enrichment level used only for civil nuclear purposes; limits put on the extent of the uranium enrichment programme; immediate conversion of all enriched uranium to fuel rods; incremental and phased approach to implementation of all the elements of objective guarantees; adoption and ratification of the Additional Protocol (the IAEA's enhanced and intrusive monitoring system which came into effect in May 1997); permanent ban on the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons; export control measures in Iran to prevent the development and proliferation of sensitive technologies; continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors, which could have included E3/EU nationals at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Esfahan and Uranium Enrichment plants in Natanz.

 

19-20 April 2005 = A working group to discuss the technical issues related to the nuclear issue was held in Geneva which made further recommendations to continue the discussions at a strategy committee meeting in London on 29 April 2005.

 

29 April 2005 = Proposal presented by Iran to the Meeting of the Steering Committee in London which stated that in exchange for a declaration by EU to guarantee Iran's access to EU markets and financial, public and private investment resources, declaration of EU recognition of Iran as a major source of energy supply for Europe and launching of feasibility studies for building of new nuclear power plants in Iran by E3/EU members, Iran was prepared to take the following steps in relation to its nuclear programme. Iran would have approved the Additional Protocol in the Cabinet; Iran would have declared to have an open fuel cycle but no reprocessing; Iran would have presented a bill to the Iranian parliament for a permanent ban on production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons in Iran. As an additional confidence-building measure, Iran was prepared to continue the suspension of all other enrichment related activities, and make every effort to start on joint steps for the establishment of a joint counter-terrorism task force and a joint export control task force. The position of the parties at this round of negotiations was as follows. Iran stated its intention to resume uranium enrichment under an IAEA inspection regime. The United Kingdom and Germany were trying to secure Iran's agreement to abandon all uranium enrichment related activities in return for benefits including a light water reactor for nuclear energy. France was considering whether it should support limited uranium enrichment in Iran, a compromise that was not acceptable to the United States. The United Kingdom also hoped to keep the negotiations to be continued until Iran's presidential elections on 17 June 2005. They believed that the election of a pragmatic president could have opened the way for an agreement.

 

18 July 2005 = Following President Ahmadinejad's election as the president of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rohani, who was still the lead negotiator in nuclear issues in July 2005, sent a letter to the E3/EU ministers emphasising the need for cooperation to combat mutual sources of threat to both Iran and E3/EU in significant areas. Dr. Rohani asked for cooperation to establish stable governments in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. He emphasised the common interests of Iran and E3/EU to defeat the violent and blind misinterpretation of Islam manifested in groups such as Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups like MEK. Iran also agreed to extend the period of full suspension of its nuclear enrichment for a further two months. Iran proposed to allow the IAEA to develop an optimised arrangement on numbers, monitoring mechanism and other specifics for a limited amount of uranium enrichment operation at Natanz.

 

5 August 2005 = The E3/EU presented a package of offers to Iran. It required Iran to terminate all its nuclear fuel cycle activities, including uranium conversion, enrichment and reprocessing, as well as the heavy water reactor programme at Arak. The offer would only allow Iran to continue with its planned light-water nuclear power reactors. The fuel for such reactors would have to be purchased from abroad and the spent fuel had to be returned back to the supplier. The offer also required from Iran to resolve all the outstanding issues with the IAEA, ratify the Additional Protocol, and accept a legally binding commitment not to withdraw from the NPT. In return, the E3/EU offered Iran cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, joint work to combat terrorism and drug trafficking, and some general promise of cooperation to allow Iran access to nuclear technology and markets. There was also a reaffirmation of the security guarantees already in existence involving the European countries as well as the United States.

 

10 August 2005 = Iran rejected the E3/EU proposal of 5 August 2005 on the basis that their demand for the termination of Iran's uranium enrichment and fuel cycle activities was in contradiction with the understanding on the basis of which the Iranians had originally agreed to enter into discussions with the E3/EU. Iran believed that a limited Iranian enrichment programme and establishment of "objective guarantees" of the civil use of the programme were the basis of the earlier negotiations. Iran in a statement denounced the package proposal as being too vague in the offer of incentives provided to Iran, and believed that the offer was a "clear violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, the NPT, the Tehran Statement and the Paris Agreement of November 15, 2004". Iran stated, "the proposal amounts to an insult on the Iranian nation, for which the E3 must apologise."

 

17 September 2005 = In the first months of the Presidency of Ahmadinejad, Iran proposed partnership with private and public sectors of other countries for uranium enrichment in Iran as a means to provide the greatest degree of transparency.

 

30 March 2006 = Almost one year following the election of President Ahmadinejad into office, Iran proposed establishing regional consortia inside and outside the region with joint ownership and division of labour based on the expertise of the participants.

 

31 May 2006 = The United States adopted a significant change of policy by announcing that the United States would join the direct negotiations with Iran and offer a European package of incentives for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. However, the United States asked for the full and verifiable suspension of all Iran's uranium enrichment activities, including research and development, as a precondition to the start of the negotiations.

 

6 June 2006 = The Permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) presented a package of proposal to Iran. Iran welcomed the proposals as containing positive elements and announced that it would offer its detailed response on 22 August 2006. The P5+1 offer reaffirmed Iran's inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, supported Iranian plans for the development of new light-water power reactors, accepted the Esfahan Uranium Conversion plant, proposed the establishment of an international fuel centre in Russia with the Iranian participation, offered to support a buffer stock for holding a reserve of up to five year supply of nuclear fuel dedicated to Iran, it promised to review the terms of the agreement following IAEA verification of all unresolved issues, and offered a long-term energy partnership between Iran and the E3/EU. However, there was no reference to a negative and positive nuclear security guarantee in this proposal. There was also a precondition for the start of the negotiations involving Iran's full and verifiable suspension of all its uranium enrichment activities, including research and development.

 

9 June 2006 = The United States and European officials declared that Iran had three weeks to respond to the 6 of June offer or face the prospects of sanctions by the Security Council of the United Nations.

 

12 July 2006 = The start of the war between Lebanon and Israel.

 

31 July 2006 = The Security Council resolution 1696 demanded that Iran should suspend all uranium enrichment activities, including research and development by 31 August or face unspecified appropriate measures.

 

14 August 2006 = The ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon came into effect following the UN Security Council Resolution 1710 adopted on Friday 11 August 2007.

 

22 August 2006 = Iran provided a 21 pages long counter proposal to the packaged proposal offered by the P5+1 to Iran on 6 June 2006. Iran welcomed some aspects of the P5+1 offer. Iran proposed a joint venture with the European nuclear energy consortium EURODIF to conduct uranium enrichment on Iranian soil. Iran indicated that it would be prepared to discuss suspension of uranium enrichment during the negotiations and not prior to it.

 

12 September 2006 = For the first time, Iran offered a two-month suspension during meetings with the European negotiators.

 

21 September 2006 = President Ahmadinejad, during an interview at the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, told that the suspension of uranium enrichment could be negotiable under 'fair and just conditions'.

 

September-October 2006 = Iran proposed an international consortium, based on the IAEA's main proposals on multinational fuel activities, including enrichment, published on 22 February 2005.

 

15 September 2006 = Iran's proposal for the establishment of an international consortium was considered very promising by the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, leading to public statements of progress following his meetings with Iran's nuclear negotiator.

 

4 October 2006 = Iran's proposal of 22 August 2006 was rejected by the Permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) because Iran was not prepared to suspend its uranium enrichment activities prior to the start of the negotiations.

 

9 October 2006 = The North Korean nuclear test.

 

11 October 2006 = Iran in a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations indicated that to address concerns about Iran's commitment to the NPT, Iran would be prepared to provide guarantees that it would never withdraw from the NPT, once it reached a certain level of advancement. Iran offered to resume the implementation of the intrusive inspection regime of the Additional Protocol in the context of a negotiated settlement. Using the model suggested by the IAEA experts, Iran proposed to convert its enrichment facilities to regional and multinational schemes, which would have provided the greatest degree of transparency by allowing the concerned parties to participate in the ownership and operation of these facilities.

 

26 April 2007 = During a two day meeting between Javier Solana (the European Union foreign policy chief) and Ali Larijani (the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran) in Turkey, Iran offered to suspend some, but not all, of its centrifuges used for enrichment of uranium. The parties attempted to define what a freeze of uranium enrichment facilities mean. One idea was to allow Iran to build and operate the centrifuges without injecting any uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into them. However, the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1) rejected any modifications to the full suspension term in every respect.

 

31 May 2007 = A meeting between Javier Solana (the European Union foreign policy chief) and Ali Larijani (the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran) took place in Madrid, Spain to attempt to reach an agreement. It was agreed to continue the discussion in June 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and References:



[1] Elahe Mohtasham is a Senior Research Associate at the Foreign Policy Centre in London. She is an Iranian born British academic and fluent in Persian. She has worked for the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College, University of London, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and with the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom to develop a project. As a representative of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Elahe Mohtasham visited the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran and the Centre for Strategic Studies attached to the former President Khatami's office in September 2004. She has been the first western academic granted access to talk to the Iranian scientists and visit Iranian nuclear facilities. She has written three articles in the Oxford University Press publication of the Encyclopaedia of Global Peace, Conflict and Transformation on the topics of 'Arms Control and Disarmament: Theory', 'Arms Control and Disarmament: Negotiations', and 'Unilateral Nuclear Weapons Disarmament: Policy'. In the last three years, she has presented academic papers at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committees and at the 2005 NPT Review Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York and Geneva. She attended the 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference in Vienna between 29 April-11 May, and discussed Iran's nuclear programme with officials and diplomats from Iran and other countries.

[2] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 10 November 2003, GOV/2003/xx/paragraph 52.

[3] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 27 February 2006, GOV/2006/15, paragraph 53.

[4] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 23 May 2007, GOV/2007/22, paragraph 18, lines 1and 3-5.

[5] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 27 February 2006, GOV/2006/15, paragraph 53.

[6] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2 September 2005, GOV/2005/67, paragraph 51.

[7] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 27 February 2006, GOV/2006/15, /paragraph 53.

[8] IAEA-GOV/2005/67, paragraph 51; IAEA-Gov/2006/15; IAEA-GOV/200631/Add.1 (15 June 2006).

[9] Ayatollah Khamene;i's Friday prayer sermon on 5 November 2004, quoted in Kayhan, (a Persian language newspaper published in Iran), 6 November 2004.

[10] Javad Zarif, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations, 'An Unnecessary Crisis: Setting the Record Straight about Iran's Nuclear Program', New York Times, 18 November 2005.

[11] Statement by Iran's representative to the IAEA, Dr. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, to the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Vienna, 1 May 2007.

[12] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 22 February 2007, GOV/2007/8/paragraph 14.

[13] "IAEA Installs New Cameras at Natanz Nuclear Complex," Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency, Tehran, 4 February 2007.

[14] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, GOV/2007/22, dated 23 May 2007, paragraph 4.

[15] The text in Persian of 'the complete report of Dr. Rohani to the President: the outline of the Supreme National Security Council' activities in relation to the country's nuclear dossier', Iranian Students News Agency, 9 Bahman 1384 [31 July 2005]. http://www.isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-562149 (last accessed on 3 June 2007).

[16] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, GOV/2004/83, dated 15 November 2004, paragraphs 79-84.

[17] Alain Pigear, "The French Nuclear Triad", Ground Defence (No. 74, 1981), p. A6; quoted in Robert S. Norris, Andrew S. Burrows, and Richard W. Fieldhouse, Nuclear Weapons Databook: British, French, and Chinese Nuclear Weapons, Volume V, (Natural Resources Defense Council, Westview Press, 1994), pp. 184-185.

[18] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, GOV/2007/22, dated 23 May 2007, paragraph 5.

[19] Mohammad Javad Zarif, 'Tackling the Iran-U.S. Crisis: The Need for a Paradigm Shift,' Journal of International Affairs, 60.2 (Spring-Summer 2007).

[20] President Ahmadinejad's statement during the ceremony marking the first anniversary of Iran's uranium enrichment on 9 April 2007.

[21] Sa'idi, Iran's Deputy Director of International Affairs at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, made the claim during an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency [in Persian] on 19 May 2007, http://www.isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-927033&Lang=P, (last accessed on 21 May 2007).

[22]. UNGA Resolution 1665 (XVI), December 4, 1961.

[23]. DCOR, Suppl. for 1967 and 1968, Ann. IV, sec.6 (ENDC/192, August 24, 1967 (US)) and sec. 8 (ENDC/193, August 24, 1967 (USSR)).

[24]. UNGA Resolution 2373 (XXII), June 12, 1968.

[25]. For a summary of objectives of safeguards system see, International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) SEC/11, February 1979, pp. 4-8. International Safeguards and the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, (Austria: IAEA, IAE/P1/A11,E 85-00942, April 1985), p. 11.

[26]. Ibid..

[27] 'Leaked Letter in full: UK diplomat outlines Iran Strategy', Times online, 22 March 2006, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article744070.ece (last accessed on 2 April 2007.

[28] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, GOV/2007/22, dated 23 May 2007, paragraph 19, lines 3-5.

[29] The Director General's report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, GOV/2007/22, dated 23 May 2007, paragraph 18, lines 1, 4-5.

[30] Bertrand Goldschmith, The Atomic Complex: A Worldwide Political History of Nuclear Energy (American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, Illinois, 1980), pp. 197-200.

[31] Ibid.

[32] The Iranian parliament passed a bill to oblige the government to review its cooperation with the IAEA and accelerate Iran's nuclear programme only four days after the imposition of sanctions on Iran by the Security Council Resolution 1737 on 23 December 2007. The text of the Iranian bill was read out during a parliament session and broadcast on the Iranian state radio. The bill, which was approved by the Council of Guardians, also permits the government to withdraw from the NPT or to stop IAEA inspections in Iran. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority of 203 deputies who were present with 161 voted in favour, and only 15 against and 15 abstained.

[33]. INFCIRC/209, Memorandum B is known as the 'Trigger List' is defined as the export of those items listed in the IAEA's safeguards trigger. These items will only be exported if the fissionable material produced, processed or used in the equipment or material is subject to IAEA's safeguards.

[34]. IAEA document, INFCIRC/209, 3 September 1974, Memorandum B, paragraph 2.

[35]. IAEA document, INFCIRC/209/Rev.1/Mod.1, May 1992.

[36]. Guidelines for the Export of Nuclear Material, Equipment and Technology, IAEA document INFCIRC/254, February 1978; B.M. Carriahan, 'Export Law and Policy of the Emerging Nuclear Suppliers: A Basis for Continuous Optimism', Eye on Supply, (No. 5, Fall 1991), p. 67; R. Timerbaev, 'A Major Milestone in Controlling Nuclear Exports', Eye on Supply, (No. 6, Spring 1992), p. 58; T. Strulak, 'The Nuclear Suppliers Group', The Non-Proliferation Review, (Fall 1993), p. 2; 'International Safeguards and the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,' (Austria: IAEA, April 1985), pp. 17-18. 'London Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers', IAEA document INFCIRC/254/Rev. 1/Part 1/Mod. 3.

[37]. Ibid., pp. 18-19.

[38] Ambassador Soltanieh speaking on the record at a seminar at the 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, in Vienna between 17:00 p.m. to 19:00 p.m. on Friday 4 May 2007. Ali Reza Jahan-Shahi, "Iran and France to Jointly Build Uranium Plant", Tehran Journal, 5 January 1975, Clyde H. Farnsworth, "France Gives Iran Stake in Uranium', New York Times, 4 January 1975.

[39] National Security Decision-Memorandum 292, dated 22 April 1975, Box 1, National Security Decision-Memoranda and Study Memoranda, Gerald R. Ford Library, http://www.ford.utexas.edu/LIBRARY/document/nsdmnssm/nsdm292a.htm.

[40] See Nuclear Threat Initiative, 'Nuclear Chronology 1957-1985'.

[41]. Rudolf Harde (Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe G.m.b.H. (Germany, F.R.), Iran Conference on the Transfer of Nuclear Technology, (Tehran: Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, 1977), Volume I, Section 8: Safeguards and Standards), pp. 493-498.

[42]. 'Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing and the Problem of Safeguarding against the Spread of Nuclear Weapons', Report to the Congress, (General Accounting Office, Washington, DC (USA), Energy and Minerals Division, March 18, 1980).

[43]. Ambassador Nasseri, 'Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference 1995', (Tehran: Islamic Republic of Iran, 1995); Interviews with the Iranian diplomats involved in these negotiations at the NPT Review Conferences.

[44] For an historical account of the issues around the security assurances see the paper by Elahe Mohtasham, 'The Clash of Ideologies or Peaceful Multilateral Negotiations Based on National Interests: the Degree of Iran's Commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), ' presented at the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations in New York on 11 May 2005, http://www.mohtasham.net/npt2005.html

[45] David Albright, 'Phased International Cooperation with North Korea's Civil Nuclear Programs', 19 March 2007, http://www.isis-online.org/publications/dprk/civilNuclear NK.pdf

[46] Elahe Mohtasham, 'Revealed: Iran's Nuclear Factory' The Sunday Times, 1 May 2005. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article387202.ece (last accessed on 6 June 2007)

[47] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Expert Group Report Submitted to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,"IAEA INFCIRC/640, 22 February 2005, 103, approaches 3,4 and 5: "Promoting voluntary conversion of existing facilities to MNAs, and pursuing them as confidence-building measures, with the participation of NPT non-nuclear weapon states an nuclear weapons states, and non-NPT states," and "creating, through voluntary agreements and contracts, multinational, and in particular regional, MNAs for new facilities based on joint ownership, drawing rights or co-management for front-end and back-end nuclear facilities, such as uranium enrichment."

[48] Ruhi Ramazani, 'Might U.S., Iran cooperate on al-Qaeda?", Special to the Daily Progress, Sunday 27 May 2007. http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Common%2FMGArticle%2FPrintVersion&c=MGArticle&cid=1173351363286&image=80x60cdp.gif&oasDN=dailyprogress.com&oasPN=%21news%21columns (last accessed on 5 June 2007)