• 28 August 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Nuclear file, UN

New IAEA report on Iran Nuclear Program (updated)

The IAEA issued its latest report on Iran’s compliance with its nuclear safeguards agreement today, available here.

First reports say that there is nothing earth-shattering in the report, though Iran has slowed its production of nuclear fuel and fulfilled the agency’s demands for greater access to its enrichment site at Natanz.

On the question of a supposed super-secret annex to the report that IAEA Director-General El Baradei has refused to make public, the report has this to say:

It should be noted that, although the Agency has limited means to authenticate independently the documentation that forms the basis of the alleged studies, the information is being critically assessed, in accordance with the Agency’s practices, by corroborating it, inter alia, with other information available to the Agency from other sources and from its own findings. A description of all of the documentation available to the Agency about the alleged studies which the Agency has been authorized to share with Iran and which has been sufficiently vetted by the Agency was provided in the Director General’s report of May 2008 (GOV/2008/15, Annex A). It should be noted, however, that the constraints placed by some Member States on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the Agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran on this matter. Notwithstanding, as the Director General has repeatedly emphasized, the information contained in that documentation appears to have been derived from multiple sources over different periods of time, appears to be generally consistent, and is sufficiently comprehensive and detailed that it needs to be addressed by Iran with a view to removing the doubts which naturally arise, in light of all of the outstanding issues, about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

updated: The Arms Control Association and ISIS have both come out with their initial analyses of the new report.  Find ISIS’s here, ACA’s below the jump.

Preliminary Analysis of IAEA Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program
by Peter Crail, Daryl Kimball, and Greg Thielmann

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2009

Press Contacts: Peter Crail, Research Analyst (202-463-8270 x102); Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow (x103)

(Washington, D.C.) According to a report released today by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director-General, Iran continues to slowly but steadily work to expand its uranium enrichment capacity at Natanz and to complete construction of a heavy-water reactor at Arak. Both are safeguarded by the IAEA against use for military purposes, but either could be used to produce fissile material for weapons if Tehran decided to withdraw from the NPT and risk an overt push for nuclear weapons.

The improved access that Iran has provided in some areas is a step in the right direction since greater IAEA monitoring increases the likelihood that any diversion for military purposes would be detected. This cooperation needs to be further expanded. The report is yet another reminder that the IAEA is an invaluable source of direct, on-the-ground information on Iran’s nuclear program.  Without IAEA inspections and monitoring, we would know far less about Iran’s nuclear-related activities.

Unfortunately, Tehran continues to fail to answer outstanding questions about credible evidence provided by Western governments suggest that Iran has engaged in military nuclear research in the past. The Agency receives information from a variety of sources, including national intelligence services.  Some of the latter variety is received on condition that it not be made public.  The IAEA can use this material to inform its own investigative efforts, but in order to maintain its independence and credibility, it must reach conclusions based on its own investigations and dialogue with host governments.

The IAEA Director-General did note today that “constraints placed by some Member States on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the Agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran on this matter.” It is important that states with such information make every effort possible to allow the IAEA to press Tehran on these issues.

At the same time, the report goes on to note that the information provided about potential past military nuclear activities is credible enough to require serious answers from Iran. Tehran must provide further explanations about these concerns if it wishes to remove doubts about its claims that its nuclear program is peaceful.

The report’s findings do not alter calculations regarding when Iran could have enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. The U.S. intelligence community in its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate judged that the earliest date by which Iran could do so was most likely between 2010 and 2015. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair informed Congress this past spring that the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research continues to estimate Iran would not be able to produce enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon before 2013.

More importantly, the U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that Iran would be more likely to use a clandestine facility, rather than its safeguarded Natanz enrichment complex, to produce such material.

Other difficult technical obstacles–including bomb design, assembly, testing, and mating it with an effective means of delivery–would have to be overcome before Iran or any could-be nuclear weapon state has a credible nuclear capability.

There is time to test whether a negotiated resolution to the crisis is possible, but only if a serious, sustained, and comprehensive initiative is pursued by Washington and other UN Security Council members.

The Obama administration and the UN Security Council must focus on improving IAEA access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, personnel, and plans as much as on halting the production of enriched uranium, the expansion of  Iran’s uranium enrichment complex, and the construction of the Arak heavy-water reactor. To start, Tehran must be persuaded to halt the expansion of Natanz and accept more comprehensive inspections under the Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Safeguards Agreement, pending the conclusion of negotiations on of a more comprehensive, long-term solution.

# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing information and practical solution on weapons-related security threats.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    2 Responses to “New IAEA report on Iran Nuclear Program (updated)”

  1. hass says:

    I think you’re confusing the alleged “super secret annex” with the documents from the Laptop of death. The report says that it is analyzing the documetns from the laptop of death that the US has selectively provided to the IAEA but which it won’t allow Iran to see. The super-secret annex is supposedly a document drawn up by the IAEA inspectors concluding there’s a nuclear weapons program in Iran. These are two different things. The IAEA has said that there is no such thing

  2. hass says:

    Oh and on what legal basis does ACA demand that Iran give up enrichment?

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
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Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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