|Contact: Simon Barrett +44 79 68 11 64 39 email@example.com
The IAEA-Iran Agreement
On Tuesday 22 November 2007 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to release its new report regarding outstanding questions in Iran’s nuclear programme.  This new report covers developments that have or have not been made in the implementation of a work plan that the IAEA and Iran agreed upon on 21 August 2007. 
It is not clear whether the report–which has already been circulated by the IAEA director general on 15 Nov 2007 to the 35 IAEA board members–contains enough elements to close the gap between the four major Western powers (U.S., U.K., France and Germany) and Russia and China to act quickly on sanctions, or grant more time for Iran to continue to develop its controversial nuclear programme. 
Iran’s record to date, however, leaves little reason for optimism. Tehran has a poor record of complying with IAEA requests or United Nations Security Council demands. Meanwhile, the IAEA-Iran work plan allowed Tehran to stretch out the compliance process, during which time it could make further progress in achieving its nuclear ambitions:
On 24 June 2007 the IAEA director general and the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council agreed to develop a work plan within 60 days to resolve the remaining safeguard implementation issues.
On 21 August the parties finalized the work plan, following meetings between IAEA and Iranian officials in Vienna on 24 July and Tehran on 20-21 August.
On 27 August at the request of the Iranian mission, the IAEA published the work plan as Information Circular INFCIRC/711. 
The work plan
The IAEA and the Iranian government agreed to cooperate in preparing safeguards for the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, saying they would hold further discussions on this issue by the end of September 2007. 
Iran agreed to the IAEA’s request to visit the heavy water research reactor (IR40) site in Arak, and agency officials did so on 30 July. 
Iran accepted the naming of five additional inspectors and agreed to issue one-year multiple-entry visas for 14 IAEA inspectors and staff. 
The plan states that the issue of Iran’s past plutonium experiments was satisfactorily resolved on 20 August. 
The plan sets target dates for Iran to provide written answers on a variety of outstanding issues.
The plan includes Iran’s understanding that, once these identified issues are resolved, the IAEA will have no further issues pertaining to Irans nuclear programme. 
The work plans deficiencies
The nuclear physician David Albright believes the work plan has the following deficiencies: 
It sets a new, sequential timetable that allows Iran to buy time and stretch out negotiations.
It ignores previous, and unmet, UN Security Council demands, and it does not require Iran to suspend its nuclear activity in accordance with Security Council requirements.
It states that, aside from the issues identified in the document, there are « no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear programme and activities. »  That sets an unfortunate precedent regarding Iran’s past nuclear activity, about which little is known in important areas.
It refers to closing files on certain issues, suggesting IAEA or member states could lack the power to raise these issues again, even in the face of significant new information. The idea of « closing files » violates fundamental safeguard principles. 
It does not specify that Iran will give the IAEA access to key people, facilities, and documents needed to verify Iranian answers to IAEA’s questions. Previous IAEA reports noted the need for access to specific people and places.  Such access is necessary, especially because Iran has misled IAEA inspectors many times in the past.
It does not require Iran’s adherence to the Additional Protocol , without which the IAEA cannot ensure that Iran does not have undeclared nuclear materials and facilities or verify Iran’s statements under this agreement.
Its language seems to reflect an effort by Iran to preclude the IAEA from raising more questions down the road about inconsistencies or troubling developments in its nuclear programme.
It states, « The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use. »  However, the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme is a function of several issues, not simply the diversion or non-diversion of declared nuclear material.
The plan was rejected by the European Union and the United States, both of which believe it does not defuse the nuclear conflict because Tehran is not complying with Security Council demands to stop nuclear enrichment, stop work with centrifuges, and operate more transparently. 
Its timetable for answering IAEA questions effectively draws out the process until late 2007 and possibly early 2008.
Irans failure to honor previous agreements
Nine days after the 21 August agreement on the work plan, the IAEA issued a report detailing Iran’s continuing failure to meet Security Council requirements to suspend its nuclear programme. 
In that report, the IAEA found that as of mid-August 2007, « Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities and continues to operate close to 2,000 centrifuges at its nuclear facility in Natanz and, thus, make progress on the production of nuclear weapons. » 
The further report stated that Iran is continuing construction of the heavy water production plant at Arak, despite explicit Security Council demands that it suspend work on all heavy water related projects. 
On 26 August 2007 Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Dr. Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, confirmed that Irans enrichment activities are « continuing non-stop, » while Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said « there has been no slowing down, no halt and no retreat » on the nuclear programme. 
The report concludes that « the Agency remains unable to verify certain aspects relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, » and it acknowledges that Iran may have undeclared nuclear materials. 
On 3 October 2007 the IAEA sent a telegram to French diplomats indicating its belief that Iran is set to have 18 centrifuge cascades–slightly under 3,000 centrifuges–running at the end of the month, potentially putting it on track to produce weapon-grade uranium in usable quantities  – an assessment that has already been approved by the new IAEA report. 
On 23 October 2007–just before talks began between the UNs top diplomat Javier Solana and Irans newly appointed chief negotiator Saeed Jalili–Irans President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he rejects calls to suspend uranium enrichment, the UN Security Councils key demand, and that Iran would not retreat « one iota » on its nuclear plans. 
15 November 2007
 Report on Iran Safeguards Sent to IAEA Board, IAEA, 15 November 2007
 Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, IAEA, 15 November 2007
 IAEA: Iran opens up to U.N., escalates nuclear drive, Reuters, 15 November 2007
 Communication dated 27 August 2007 from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency concerning the text of the Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/2007/infcirc711.pdf
 Ibid. I.1.A.
 Ibid. I.1.B.
 Ibid. I.1.C and D.
 Ibid. I.2.A.
 The Agencys delegation is of the view that the agreement on the above issues shall further promote the efficiency of the implementation of safeguards in Iran and its ability to conclude the exclusive peaceful nature of the Irans nuclear activities. (IV)
 A Flawed IAEA-Iran Agreement On Resolving Outstanding Issues, David Albright and Jacqueline Shire, The Institute for Science and International Security. 28 August 2007.
 Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues, IV.1.
 Ibid. II.A.
 Irans report of 31 August 2006, (GOV/2006/53 ) references this issue in paragraph 25: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2006/gov2006-53.pdf
 Additional Protocol to Iran’s NPT safeguards agreement signed on 18 December 2003, IAEA Staff Report, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2003/iranap20031218.html
 Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues, IV.4
 Iran erhlt Aufschub bis Ende November, Spiegel Online, 28/9/07 http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,508555,00.html
 Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 30 August 2007, http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2007/gov2007-48.pdf
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2007/gov2007-48.pdf, p. 5 (G. 25).
 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2007/gov2007-48.pdf, p. 2 (C. 8).
 Iran says its nuclear programme has not slowed down, The Herald Tribute, 26 August 2007. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/26/africa/ME-GEN-Iran-Nuclear.php
 http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/26/africa/ME-GEN-Iran-Nuclear.php, p. 5 (G. 22).
 Iran soll schon bald Uran anreichern knnenSpiegel Online, Spiegel Online, 4 October 2007, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,509422,00.html
 IAEA: Iran opens up to U.N., escalates nuclear drive, Reuters, 15 November 2007
FORWARD THIS EMAIL
SUBSCRIBE TO ALERTS
LEARN ABOUT IMIA