During the reporting period, Iran continued to be in violation of its obligations under the NPT and its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Furthermore, Iran has not complied with relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, coordinated by the European Union) and Iran began on January 20, 2014. Iran has fulfilled the commitments that it made under the JPOA. The parties negotiated during 2014 to pursue a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to achieve a long-term comprehensive solution to restore confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful. The IAEA’s investigation into the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s program remains unresolved.
Iran became a State Party to the NPT in 1970 and its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement entered into force in 1974. Iran signed the AP with the IAEA in 2003 and implemented AP measures from late 2003 to early 2006, when it stopped such implementation.
Iran’s violations of its obligations under the NPT and its IAEA Safeguards Agreement have been ongoing since the early 1980s. In 2002, an Iranian opposition group publicly revealed covert nuclear facilities under construction at Natanz and Arak that Iran had failed to declare to the IAEA. Reports from the resulting IAEA investigation led the IAEA Board of Governors (BOG) to find Iran in noncompliance with its Safeguards Agreement in 2005 and to report the case to the UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2006. In 2009, Iran announced another previously undisclosed uranium enrichment facility under construction near the city of Qom, Iran. The IAEA has reported extensively in dozens of reports since 2003 on Iran’s violations of its Safeguards Agreement. Since 2006, the Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions on Iran, four of which impose binding Chapter VII sanctions (UNSC Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1929).
From 2006 through 2013, in contravention of UNSC and IAEA Board resolutions, Iran continued research and development work on advanced centrifuges; enriched uranium up to nearly twenty percent at both the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant and the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in Qom; continued to construct the IR-40 heavy water-moderated research reactor at Arak; and operated its heavy water production plant at Arak. During this timeframe, it did not fully cooperate with the IAEA in regard to its declared facilities; in particular, as noted in previous compliance reports, Iran did not provide design information or report design changes well in advance of any action taken to modify existing facilities or construct new ones, as required by Modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.
Since 2008, the IAEA Director General’s reports to the IAEA Board of Governors on Iran stated that concerns remain about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations. The Annex to the November 2011 Director General’s report detailed the basis for concerns regarding the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. It stated that Iran had a structured military program through 2003, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, and that some activities may still be ongoing. Iran has dismissed the IAEA’s concerns, largely on the claim that they are based on unfounded allegations. However, information obtained by the Agency in recent years further corroborated the analysis contained in the 2011 Annex. In 2014, the Director General (DG) continued to call for access to the Parchin site, where Iran may have conducted activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device, and he reiterated concerns that Iran’s extensive measures to sanitize the Parchin site will significantly hamper the IAEA’s ability to conduct effective verification when it gains access to the location.
In the “Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation,” adopted on November 11, 2013, the IAEA and Iran agreed to cooperate to resolve “all present and past issues in a step-by-step manner.” At the end of 2014, the DG reported that Iran had implemented 16 of 18 practical measures in the three phases of the IAEA-Iran Framework for Cooperation and that the Agency was analyzing the information provided by Iran. The IAEA’s quarterly report in November 2014 noted that Iran had not provided “explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding issues” related to the two PMD-relevant measures that Iran agreed to implement under the Framework, and that Iran had not yet provided the necessary cooperation to permit the IAEA to provide credible assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
In a separate development, on November 24, 2013, the P5+1 and Iran concluded a JPOA designed to keep Iran’s nuclear program from advancing while negotiations on a long-term comprehensive solution continue. The JPOA went into effect on January 20, 2014; on July 19, 2014, the P5+1 and Iran extended the JPOA for four months as talks continued. On November 24, 2014, the P5+1 and Iran extended the JPOA again until June 30, 2015. Under the JPOA, Iran has taken steps to stop and roll back key elements of its nuclear program; since it went into effect, Iran has not enriched above five percent U-235 and has eliminated all of its stock of UF6, enriched up to 20 percent U-235, through downblending or conversion into uranium oxide. It has committed not to establish or operate a process line to reconvert uranium oxides back into UF6. At the end of 2014, the IAEA verified that Iran fulfilled its nuclear-related commitments under the JPOA. Iran has not made any further advances to the IR-40 reactor, nor manufactured and tested fuel for the reactor. Under the JPOA, Iran has provided the IAEA with daily access to enrichment facilities to review surveillance footage; managed access to key nuclear-related facilities, including uranium mines, mills and centrifuge production and storage facilities; information about planned facilities, and further clarification of its work with laser enrichment technology. Iran also submitted an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor.
During the reporting period, the United States imposed a series of new sanctions on entities and individuals involved in proliferation-related procurement for Iran, and continued to share information with other countries. This included information to impede the financing of Iran’s nuclear activities and to reinforce implementation of sanctions. Iran continues to seek ways to circumvent the sanctions, but there are signs that the effects of economic sanctions may be slowing some of its nuclear plans and activities.
As noted above, during the reporting period, Iran committed to continue to implement its commitments under the JPOA during the seven-month extension to June 30, 2015. More specifically, Iran committed to measures that will freeze or wind back elements of its nuclear program, including a commitment to (1) continue fabrication of Iran’s stocks of 20 percent oxide into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, further reducing its availability for use in a breakout scenario; (2) expand IAEA access to existing centrifuge production facilities, which provides the IAEA with greater insight into Iran’s stockpile of centrifuges; (3) limit research and development on advanced centrifuges at its Natanz pilot plant; (4) not make any advances at its enrichment facilities, including in the number and type of centrifuges; and (5) forgo any other forms of enrichment. While the implementation of the JPOA has begun to address some of our most urgent concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program, including its enrichment capacity, enriched uranium stockpile, and prospective ability to produce plutonium at the IR‑40 reactor, the United States retains the flexibility to revoke the limited sanctions relief should Iran fail to meet its commitments in the future.
The IAEA-Iran process remained stalled at the end of 2014, as Iran had not cooperated fully on the existing, agreed practical measures for implementation of the Framework for Cooperation, nor had it proposed new practical measures for implementation in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, as requested by the IAEA. More specifically, in 2014, Iran began to address one of the three PMD issues that it had agreed to address in the current phase of the IAEA-Iran Framework for Cooperation, providing the IAEA with information regarding Iran’s development of Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators. The DG reported that the IAEA is analyzing this information. In 2014, Iran did not address the other two PMD issues that it had agreed to address in the current phase, namely, the initiation of high explosives and neutron transport calculations. The PMD concerns outlined in the IAEA’s Annex to the 2011 report, including the three named in the current phase of the Framework, are central to the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and to resolving past and present issues about Iran’s activities. In his 2014 reports, the DG noted his intention to conduct a PMD “system assessment” once the Agency had established an understanding of the “whole picture” of PMD. This approach reflects sound verification practice, which the United States supports; PMD issues are linked and cannot simply be closed one-by-one.
As long as Iran has not implemented the AP and cooperated fully thereunder, it is not possible for the IAEA to provide definitive assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. The DG continued to call for Iran to implement the AP (which would provide the IAEA with expanded access and information regarding Iran’s nuclear program) and Modified Code 3.1, as stated in relevant UNSC resolutions.
As noted in previous Compliance Reports, Iran’s failure to abide by the obligations of its Safeguards Agreement constitutes a violation of its NPT Article III obligations, which require safeguards to verify that its nuclear activities serve only peaceful purposes. Moreover, under Article II of the Treaty, non-nuclear-weapon states pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices and not to seek or receive assistance in the manufacture of such devices. Iran had previously received assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons in violation of its Article II obligations, as noted in the 2005, 2010, and 2011 Reports. The issues underlying these findings remain unresolved.
In 2014, the United States continued to support the IAEA’s efforts to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and worked closely with the European Union (EU) and P5+1. With our P5+1 partners, we held multiple rounds of negotiations with Iran before the JPOA extension in November 2014. Real and substantial progress was made, and we assess there is a credible path through which a comprehensive solution could be reached. As described in the background, the IAEA has confirmed Iran’s continued fulfillment of its nuclear-related commitments under the JPOA and Iran has agreed to further measures pursuant to the JPOA extensions. Moreover, the JPOA does not alter the core sanctions infrastructure, particularly on Iran’s oil and banking sectors; all UNSC resolutions remain in force as well. We continue to vigorously enforce the sanctions that are not subject to limited relief under the JPOA.
The IAEA, the EU, the United States, and numerous other countries continue to urge Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues, including on the implementation of the Framework to address the PMD issue; to fulfill Iran’s commitments pursuant to the JPOA; and to implement UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors’ resolutions, the Additional Protocol, and modified Code 3.1. Iran has continued to maintain that its nuclear program is peaceful and to reject concerns regarding its nuclear activities and degree of cooperation with the IAEA. The JPOA provides the first meaningful limits that Iran has accepted on its nuclear program in more than a decade. The United States has made clear many times that our top priority in these negotiations with Iran is to achieve a long-term comprehensive solution that provides confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. As the JPOA continues to be implemented, we will be vigilant in oversight and support of IAEA verification and monitoring of Iran’s actions.