- Policy Briefs
On November 8, 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has covertly engaged in activities that suggest it is trying to build a nuclear weapon, and that some of these activities may be ongoing. According to the report, Iran has had an undeclared program to produce nuclear material, and has undertaken procurement, production, and testing of nuclear weapon components. Initial reactions from the White House and State Department were muted on the day of the report's release, although a State Department deputy spokesman speaking on November 9 stressed the gravity of the IAEA report and the "alarming" conclusions it drew. The United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have expressed a willingness to exert more political and diplomatic pressure on Iran, including through the adoption of more severe sanctions. However, Russian and Chinese reaction make the prospect of additional U.N. sanctions slim: Russia called into question the impartiality of the report and China emphasized the need for continued negotiation. Iran responded by accusing the IAEA of lacking conclusive evidence and of collaborating with the United States in drafting its report.
Read reactions and analysis from around the world
The U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesman stresses the gravity of the IAEA report and announces that the United States is considering "a range of possibilities" in reaction to the report, including further sanctions, 11-9-11.
France's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs calls for increasing diplomatic pressure on Iran and announces that France is "ready to adopt, with the support of the international community, sanctions of an unprecedented scale," 11-9-11.
The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary addresses Parliament, calling for an increase in pressure on Iran and revealing that the U.K. is "considering with [its] partners a range of additional measures to that effect," 11-9-11.
The German Foreign Minister announces the inevitability of new sanctions if Iran fails to seriously negotiate, 11-9-11.
A spokeswoman for the European Union's foreign affairs representative states that the IAEA report's findings "strongly indicate the existence of a full-fledged nuclear weapons development program in Iran," and that the E.U. and its allies will "work for an adequate reaction," 11-9-11.
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office declares that "the international community must bring about the cessation of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons which endanger the peace of the world and of the Middle East," 11-9-11.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister announces that Canada is "deeply disturbed" by the new IAEA report and will continue to work cooperatively "to take the necessary action for Iran to abandon its nuclear program," 11-9-11.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls into question the professionalism and impartiality of the "much-hyped" IAEA report, and compares it to past erroneous accusations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, 11-9-11.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei urges that the issues raised in the IAEA report be "addressed through dialogue and cooperation," and declares that China "opposes the use or the threat of force." 11-8-11.
Iran's Foreign Minister declares that Iran opposes the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and accuses "western governments" of "desperation" in seeking evidence of the contrary, 11-9-11.
Iran's Foreign Minister maintains that Iran does not possess a military nuclear program, 11-9-11.
The Islamic Republic News Agency publishes a story accusing the IAEA of lacking new or compelling evidence to support the conclusions in its report, 11-8-11.