Memorandum from the Iran's Ambassador to the United Kingdom on Washington's Propaganda Attack

July 15, 2003

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


As you are aware the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the target of a massive propaganda onslaught directed at its peaceful nuclear programme during recent weeks. This political-propaganda attack is primarily launched by war-monger circles in Washington and duplicated and amplified by some politicians in other western countries.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its utmost to have transparent and open cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). I remind you that in addition to the regular inspections in recent years by IAEA, within a very short period after the visit by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohammed El-Baradei we have had six delegations from the Agency inspecting nuclear facilities of Iran. The latest of such visits was just a few days ago.

For the purpose of shedding greater light on the true nature of Iran's nuclear programme and clearing up the positions of my government on nuclear energy I have attached to this letter a copy of a brochure entitled Peaceful Nuclear Activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this brochure an attempt is made to clear up some ambiguities concerning Iranian nuclear programme under following titles:

  • Policy.
  • The nature and scope of Iranian nuclear programme.
  • Economic feasibility of nuclear programme for oil and gas rich country.
  • Fuel cycle and heavy water reactors.
  • Iran's transparency and compliance with IAEA safeguards.
  • Additional Protocol.

I hope by carefully reading this brochure you will be able to have a more balanced and impartial picture of the legitimate activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of nuclear energy.

Should you require more information or have any enquiries, please contact our embassy.


Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

14 June 2003


1.Weapons of mass destruction have no place in the defensive doctrine of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  • Iran believes that WMD will not augment its security, and would in fact increase its vulnerability.
  • Iran believes that an arms race in the region, particularly in the area of WMD, is dangerous and must be addressed through universal non-proliferation.
  • Iran firmly pursues the goal of a region and a world free from WMD through their total elimination.
  • In 1974, Iran proposed the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East in the United Nations and has actively pursued it ever since.

2.The Islamic Republic of Iran is a party to NPT, CWC and BWC, and has signed CTBT.

3.Iran signed the statute of IAEA in 1958, and signed Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement with the IAEA in 1973 to facilitate the inspection of Iran's nuclear activities by the IAEA. It also accepted the Subsidiary Arrangements to IAEA Safeguards in February 2003.

4.Iran has rendered full cooperation as requested by the IAEA, and all official reports of the Agency inspection teams have verified the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities. The visit of the Director-General of the Agency to the Islamic Republic of Iran in February 2003 confirmed the intention of Iranian authorities to cooperate with the Agency, even going beyond their legal obligations which did not bind Iran to declare its facilities until 180 days prior to introduction of Uranium for enrichment.

5.Iran believes that nothing should be done to undermine the integrity of the IAEA in discharging its functions in non-proliferation regime as well as promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

6.Iran intends to vigorously and fully pursue its right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

7.Iran has no problem with even further transparency, provided that it receives reciprocal guarantees that its acceptance of the Additional Protocol would bring to an end all propaganda about Iran's nuclear program and restrictions against Iran's full access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and lead to recognition of its peaceful capabilities through relevant international frameworks.


8.The primary priority of Iranian nuclear program is generation of nuclear electricity.

9.Due to the rapid socio-economic development of Iran during the past three decades, Iran's strategy for use of fossil resources has been affected by two restrictive elements.

  • Rising living standards and improvement of economic indicators have prompted an increase in the demand for energy in domestic and industrial sectors;
  • While the supply of primary energy has registered an average growth rate of 6.03% since 1977, energy consumption rate has increased from 180.9 million barrels of crude oil in 1977 to 661.7 million in 2001. Electricity production rate has increased from 19847 million KWh in 1977 to 130082.3 million KWh in 2001, registering an annual average growth rate of 8.52%. The consumption of energy for electricity generation in fossil power plants has increased from 29.6 million barrels of crude oil in 1977 to 225.7 million barrels in 2001, registering a consumption growth rate of 8.8%.
  • Iran's national economy is dependent on oil revenues.
  • To dispose of these two contradictory and restrictive elements, Iran needs to develop a long term strategy to reverse the trend of unrestrained use of fossil resources.

10.Iran can not merely rely on fossil fuel for its energy for the following considerations:

  • Continued use of energy in its present form is bound to turn Iran into a net importer of crude oil and some of its by-products in the coming decades.
  • Local use of these resources as fuel will drastically affect Iran's foreign exchange earnings from export of crude oil and natural gas.
  • The utilization of these resources in processing industries such as petrochemicals will generate much greater added value.
  • The environmental impact of increased reliance on fossil fuel is a serious concern of the entire international community.

11.Based on the WASP model-a widely known model for optimization of energy supply, by the year 2020, the share of nuclear power plants in the supply of energy in low, medium and high growth rate scenarios will be respectively 4,000, 7,000 and 11,000 megawatts. Iran has chosen the medium scenario.

12.In the projected 7,000 megawatt scenario, Iran will annually save 190 million barrels of crude oil based on 60% EAF (Energy Availability Factor).

  • The economic value of such savings is estimated to be over US $5 billion per year.
  • The environmental value will amount to preventing the release into the atmosphere of over 157,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 1,150 tons of suspending particles, 130 tons of sulfur and 50 tons of nitrous oxide.
  • With any increase of EAF, the economic and environmental advantage of nuclear power plants would be greater.

13.The advisability of a nuclear energy program for Iran was even endorsed by the US State Department, which in a memo of 20 October 1978, expressed that the US is encouraged by Iran's efforts to expand its non-oil energy base, and is hopeful that the US-Iran Nuclear Energy Agreement will be concluded soon and that American companies will be able to play a role in Iran's nuclear energy projects. (Digital National Security Archive)


14.To achieve the objective of producing 7,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity by 2020, Iran needs plans in various advanced fields of nuclear technology such as nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear safety and nuclear wastes.

15.The volume of nuclear fuel needed for power plants with the total capacity of 7,000 megawatts requires a long-term plan for the provision of the needed fuel by 2020.

  • The Russian Federation is committed to provide nuclear fuel only for the Bushehr power plant and has no commitment to meet Iranian needs for nuclear fuel in other planned nuclear power plants.
  • Even with respect to the Bushehr power plant, the Russian Federation has committed itself only to provide nuclear fuel for a limited period of time.

16.Iran has consistently sought assistance from Western countries and called for joint cooperation in the above-mentioned areas.

  • Iran's offer met with a cool reception.
  • Under the current undue restrictions, Iran has not yet been able to recover inter alia its approximately 100 tones enriched uranium and 390 tones tails uranium currently stored in Lingen, Germany.

17.Having been deprived of Western cooperation in this field, Iran turned to the policy of self-sufficiency.

18.Iran had to concurrently focus on the production of heavy water for HWR and Uranium enrichment for LWR because it was not certain as to which of these two endeavors shall embrace success.

19.To be able to produce nuclear fuel indigenously, Iran will have to put into place a system for mining and processing of uranium ores and also for its conversion and enrichment.

  • Yazd Saghand project is designed to recover Uranium from natural deposits. In this facility, uranium is extracted from a depth of 350 meters and transported to Ardakan facility to go through various physical and chemical processes to produce uranium hexa flouride, metallic uranium and uranium dioxide.
  • A UCF facility in Isfahan has been built in order to produce UF6.
  • UF6 is the main feedstock for the Natanz enrichment facility.
  • The Natanz facility is designed for production of nuclear fuel for power plants using low enriched uranium of around 3% to 5% U-235.
  • A Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP) is now under construction in Isfahan for production of fuel cladding.
  • A facility in Arak is under construction to produce heavy water which is an essential constituent of HWR reactors.

20.Iran plans to utilize HWR and specially CANDU in addition to LWR, because

  • CANDU-type reactors are more amenable to indigenous development.
  • These reactors use natural uranium recovered from local resources for production of nuclear fuel.

21.The argument that fuel cycle program or heavy water plants are designed to produce nuclear weapons is not tenable, because at present over 12 countries are engaged in uranium enrichment activity on either industrial or semi-industrial scales, and many are utilizing HWR. Can one then claim that all these countries are working to develop nuclear weapons?


22.Iran has been fully transparent with regard to its intention to acquire nuclear fuel cycle technology.

  • Iran officially sought the assistance of western and other countries in developing nuclear fuel cycle.
  • Iran informed the IAEA in 2000 of its program to build the UCF project in Isfahan. Its product, UF6, can only be used as the feedstock of a Uranium enrichment project, such as the one in Natanz.
  • Before accepting the subsidiary arrangements in February 2003, Iran was under no obligation to declare its Natanz facility, until 180 days prior to introduction of Uranium to the facility for enrichment.

23.In June 2002, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the IAEA informed the Secretariat of Iran's involvement in various fields of nuclear fuel cycle.

24.In September 2002, IAEA was officially informed about the construction of the Natanz enrichment facility, although Iran was not legally obliged to do so.

  • While not legally obliged, Iran invited and received IAEA Director General and his colleagues to visit Natanz along with the UCF project.
  • IAEA's technical inspection teams have since made several visits to Iranian nuclear-related facilities. The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization staff is working closely with the IAEA technical inspection teams so as to enable them to prepare a report on Iran's nuclear program for the Board of Governors of the IAEA.

25.The Arak facility is designed to produce heavy water which does not fall under the IAEA safeguards. Therefore, Iran was not legally bound to declare it. Yet, Iran voluntarily invited IAEA Director General to visit Arak, which he postponed to a later visit.

26.Contentions about the secrecy of the Arak and Natanz projects are fictitious.

  • Given the huge installations and distillation towers erected on the ground in Arak, it is practically impossible to keep the construction of such a facility secret.
  • The underground construction of parts of the Natanz project is motivated by the requirement of defending the facility against aerial attacks, which were experienced against the Bushehr facility in the course of Iran-Iraq war and not by an unachievable illusion of keeping such a project secret.

27.Nuclear transparency has its own criteria and standards set forth in the relevant international treaties and the decisions of the IAEA. Under these treaties and decisions, any country which has fulfilled its international commitments on nuclear activities has observed the criteria and standards of nuclear transparency. Reports by the IAEA after their visits to Iran have confirmed Iran's full compliance and transparency.


1.Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology is exclusively for peaceful purposes. This has and continues to be the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2.Iran has absolutely nothing to hide with regard to its nuclear program.

3.Iran's compliance with its obligations, and even beyond its commitments, is and will remain unquestionable. As regards "the issue of intentions", it is prepared to enter reciprocal confidence-building measures.

4.Iran's policy towards the Additional Protocol is both clear and rational.

5.Iran has no difficulty to accept this Protocol and is approaching it positively.

6.At the same time, it cannot achieve the ratification and enforcement of the provisions of this Protocol without reciprocal guarantees.

7.While Iran has complied fully with different nuclear treaties and safeguard agreements and has rendered full cooperation as demanded by the IAEA, other parties have failed to comply with NPT provisions on peaceful use.

8.Iran still remains subject to various international pressures and restrictions, while countries which possess weapons of mass destruction and refuse to accede to treaties such as NPT are not held accountable for their nuclear conduct.

9.Iran expects official reciprocal guarantees that its acceptance of the Additional Protocol would bring to an end all propaganda about Iran's nuclear program and restrictions against Iran's full access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and lead to recognition of its peaceful capabilities through relevant international frameworks.