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Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed a separate agreement on July 14, 2015 to resolve the agency’s outstanding concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and possible weaponization activities. The alleged weaponization activities are frequently referred to as the possible military dimensions, or PMDs.
Although much of Iran’s nuclear program consists of dual-use technology that can be dedicated to civil nuclear energy and nuclear weapons use, Tehran is widely believed to have been engaged in a series of activities that can be used for the development of a nuclear warhead. U.S. intelligence estimates have long referred to these activities as evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
In November 2011, the IAEA released information in an annex to its quarterly report that detailed Iran’s suspected warhead work based on intelligence it received from the United States and several other countries, as well as its own investigation.20 According to the report, Iran was engaged in an effort prior to the end of 2003 that spanned the full range of nuclear weapons development, from acquiring the raw nuclear material to working on a weapon that could eventually be delivered via a missile.
The series of projects that made up Iran’s nuclear program, which the IAEA in its November 2011 report called “the AMAD Plan,” appears to have been overseen by senior Iranian figures who were engaged in working-level correspondence consistent with a coordinated program.21
There are 12 main areas for investigation that the IAEA laid out in the November 2011 annex: 1) program management and structure; 2) procurement activities; 3) nuclear material acquisition; 4) nuclear components for an explosive device; 5) detonator development; 6) initiation of high explosives and associated experiments; 7) hydrodynamic experiments; 8) modeling and calculations; 9) neutron initiator; 10) conducting a test; 11) integration into a missile delivery vehicle; and 12) fusing, arming, and firing system.
Iran has denied pursuing a warhead-development program and claims that the information on which the IAEA assessment is based is a fabrication.
On November 11, 2013, Iran and the IAEA reached an agreement outlining Tehran’s cooperation with the agency’s investigation into Iran’s past nuclear activities with possible military dimensions and to clarify the agency's unresolved concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The parties agreed on a step-by-step process to address all of the outstanding issues. Implementation of the framework proceeded on schedule, until Iran missed an August 25, 2014 deadline to provide information on two weaponization activities. Prior to that, Iran met two deadlines and provided information on 16 other areas of concern. The areas in which Iran has already provided information are as follows:
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Gchine mine in Bandar Abbas.
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Heavy Water Production Plant.
- Provide information on all new research reactors.
- Provide information with regard to the identification of 16 sites designated for the construction of nuclear power plants.
- Provide clarification of the announcement made by Iran regarding additional enrichment facilities.
- Provide further clarification of the announcement made by Iran with respect to laser enrichment technology.
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Saghand mine in Yazd.
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Ardakan concentration plant.
- Submit an updated Design Information Questionnaire for the IR-40 reactor (heavy-water reactor at Arak).
- Take steps to agree with the IAEA on the conclusion of a Safeguards Approach for the IR-40 reactor.
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and arrange for a technical visit to Lashkar Ab’ad Laser Centre.
- Provide information on source material that has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, including imports of such material and on Iran’s extraction of uranium from phosphates.
- Provide information and explanations for the IAEA to assess Iran’s stated need or application for the development of exploding bridge wire detonators.
- Provide mutually agreed information and arrange a technical visit to a centrifuge research and development center.
- Provide mutually agreed information and managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor production workshops, and storage facilities.
- Conclude the safeguards approach for the IR-40 reactor.
As of July 14, 2015, these were the unresolved Issues from the IAEA-Iran framework of November 2013:
- Exchange information with the IAEA with respect to the allegations related to the initiation of high explosives, including the conduct of large-scale high-explosives experimentation in Iran.
- Provide mutually agreed relevant information and explanations related to studies made and papers published in Iran in relation to neutron transport and associated modeling and calculations and their alleged application to compressed materials.
As part of a July 14 IAEA-Iran “roadmap” agreement developed in conjunction with JCPOA, Iran agreed to provide the IAEA with information on all areas of concern by August 15, 2015.
The agency will have until September 15 to ask any additional follow-up questions. Iran will then have until October 15 to provide the additional answers. The IAEA will then issue an assessment of the material by December 15. Iran must provide all of the information required by the IAEA before the JPCOA can be implemented. This ensures that Iran will not receive any sanctions relief until the IAEA receives the information it needs to resolve the outstanding PMD concerns.
The following is the text of the July 14 IAEA-Iran agreement:
Joint Statement by the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi agreed on 14 July 2015 the following “roadmap” for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) agree, in continuation of their cooperation under the Framework for Cooperation, to accelerate and strengthen their cooperation and dialogue aimed at the resolution, by the end of 2015, of all past and present outstanding issues that have not already been resolved by the IAEA and Iran.
In this context, Iran and the Agency agreed on the following:
1. The IAEA and Iran agreed on a separate arrangement that would allow them to address the remaining outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director’s General report (GOV/2011/65). Activities undertaken and the outcomes achieved to date by Iran and the IAEA regarding some of the issues will be reflected in the process.
2. Iran will provide, by 15 August 2015, its explanations in writing and related documents to the IAEA, on issues contained in the separate arrangement mentioned in paragraph 1.
3. After receiving Iran’s written explanations and related documents, the IAEA will review this information by 15 September 2015, and will submit to Iran questions on any possible ambiguities regarding such information.
4. After the IAEA has submitted to Iran questions on any possible ambiguities regarding such information, technical-expert meetings, technical measures, as agreed in a separate arrangement, and discussions will be organized in Tehran to remove such ambiguities.
5. Iran and the IAEA agreed on another separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin.
6. All activities, as set out above, will be completed by 15 October 2015, aimed at resolving all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director General’s report (GOV/2011/65).
7. The Director General will provide regular updates to the Board of Governors on the implementation of this “roadmap.”
8. By 15 December 2015, the Director General will provide, for action by the Board of Governors, the final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in the annex of the 2011 Director General’s report (GOV/2011/65). A wrap up technical meeting between Iran and the Agency will be organized before the issuance of the report.
9. Iran stated that it will present, in writing, its comprehensive assessment to the IAEA on the report by the Director General.
10. In accordance with the Framework for Cooperation, the Agency will continue to take into account Iran’s security concerns.
20. IAEA Board of Governors, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2011/65, November 8, 2011 (hereinafter IAEA 2011 Iran report).