IAEA Report on the Implementation of the Nuclear Safeguards Agreement in Iran

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How would you like to be the techie looking for radioactive particles at a nuclear research site deep inside Iran?

On June 1, 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report detailing the progress and results of the round of international nuclear inspections currently taking place in Iran.

This is the primary section of the report. The "Annex" of the report describes IAEA inspections inside specific Iranian nuclear projects, including a great deal of technical information about Polonium-210 production, "uranium conversion," laser and gas centrifuge operations, as well as a heavy water reactor. For details on "Verification Activities," see IAEA Report on Implementation of Nuclear Safeguards Agreement in Iran - Part 2.

The document was published on the Internet by the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, which publishes government documents in limited distribution.

The original PDF file is located at http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iran/iaea0604.pdf . Previous IAEA implementation reports on Iran can be located on the FAS site 'Iran Special Weapons Guide.' There was no copyright information posted on that site, but this is a government document.

Some of the highlights from part 1:

  • ¶ 27: mysterious contamination of particles of high and low-enriched uranium found at the research site in Natanz, which Iran explained as coming from imported centrifuge components. "While Iran maintains that it does not know the origin of the equipment, it has, however, identified some of the intermediaries involved."
  • ¶ 33: "Iran had previously stated that the production capability of the atomic vapour laser isotope separation (AVLIS) equipment used at the Comprehensive Separation Laboratory (CSL) in the 1990s was on the order of a few milligrams per day, and that the equipment was able to enrich uranium up to the contracted level of 3% U-235, and even slightly beyond (GOV/2003/75, para. 59)... However, during the Agency experts’ visit in May 2004, Iran presented laboratory reports indicating that the average laser enrichment levels achieved in these small quantities had been 8% to 9%, with some samples of up to approximately 15%."
  • ¶ 36: Plutonium separation: "The Agency also found that the age of the plutonium in solutions was less than the 12–16 years declared. The Iranian officials maintain the earlier statements regarding age, but have agreed to repeat their analysis."

Note: the numbers on the table of contents are not the same as those in the text itself. Is this the general sort of setup we want for large primary source docs?? Looking for feedback. --HongPong

This is IAEA Document GOV/2004/34, pages 1-10.

International Atomic Energy Agency
Board of Governors

Date: 1 June 2004
Restricted Distribution
Original: English
For official use only

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran Report by the Director General



International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors GOV/2004/34Date: 1 June 2004 Restricted Distribution Original: English For official use only

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran Report by the Director General

1. At its meeting in March 2004, the Board of Governors considered the report submitted by the Director General on the implementation of the Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran (hereinafter referred to as Iran) and the Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the Safeguards Agreement). That report, published as GOV/2004/11 (24 February 2004), provided a chronology from November 2003, a summary of the Agency’s verification activities and its current assessment, and next steps.

2. On 13 March 2004, the Board of Governors adopted resolution GOV/2004/21, in which it:

  • Recognized that the Director General reported Iran to have been actively cooperating with the Agency in providing access to locations requested by the Agency, but, as Iran’s cooperation so far had fallen short of what was required, called upon Iran to continue and intensify its cooperation, in particular through the prompt and proactive provision of detailed and accurate information on every aspect of Iran's past and present nuclear activities;
  • Welcomed Iran’s signature of an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement; urged its prompt ratification; underlined the Board’s understanding that, in its communication to the Director General of 10 November 2003, Iran had voluntarily committed itself to acting in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol with effect from that date; and stressed the importance of Iran complying with the deadline for declarations envisaged in Article 3 of the Protocol;
  • Recalled that in its resolutions of 12 September 20033 and 26 November 2003 the Board had called on Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities; noted that Iran’s voluntary decisions of 29 December 2003 and 24 February 2004 constituted useful steps in this respect; called on Iran to extend the application of this commitment to all such activities throughout Iran; and requested the Director General to verify the full implementation of these steps;
  • Deplored that Iran, as detailed in the report by the Director General, had omitted any reference, in its letter of 21 October 2003 which was to have provided the “full scope of Iranian nuclear activities” and a “complete centrifuge R&D chronology”, to its possession of P-2 centrifuge design drawings and to associated research, manufacturing, and mechanical testing activities, which the Director General had described as “a matter of serious concern, particularly in view of the importance and sensitivity of those activities”;
  • Echoed the concern expressed by the Director General over the issue of the purpose of Iran’s activities related to experiments on the production and intended use of polonium-210, in the absence of information to support Iran’s statements in this regard;
  • Noted with appreciation that the Agency was investigating the supply routes and sources of technology and related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials found in Iran; reiterated that the urgent, full and close cooperation with the Agency of all third countries was essential in the clarification of outstanding questions concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, including the acquisition of nuclear technology from foreign sources; and appreciated any cooperation in this regard as may already have been extended to the Agency;
  • Decided to defer until its June meeting, and after receipt of the next report of the Director General, consideration of progress in verifying Iran’s declarations, and of how to respond to the above-mentioned omissions; and
  • Decided to remain seized of the matter.

3. In resolution GOV/2004/21, the Board also requested the Director General to report on the above issues before the end of May, as well as on the implementation of this and prior resolutions on Iran, for consideration by the June Board of Governors, or to report earlier if appropriate. This report, which presents a chronology from March 2004, outstanding issues and next steps and a summary of the Agency’s current assessment, along with an Annex on the Agency’s verification activities, is being submitted in response to that request.

A. Chronology from March 2004

4. On 3 March 2004, the Agency notified Iran of its intention to carry out an inspection at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz, visits to other locations in Iran and discussions on Iran’s nuclear programme between 13 and 18 March 2004. On 12 March 2004, Iran replied to the Agency’s notification, stating that, “due to the practical reasons such as unavailability of personnel needed to be available for the inspection during the proposed schedule, which is the last week prior to Iranian New Year, the inspection had to be postponed until the second half of April 2004”. The Agency replied on that day asking Iran urgently to reconsider the postponement of the inspection and visits.

5. On 5 March 2004, the Agency received a Note Verbale from Iran attaching “Comments and Explanatory Notes by [Iran] on the Report of the IAEA Director General (GOV/2004/11)” which, at the request of Iran, was circulated by the Secretariat as INFCIRC/628 (5 March 2004). On 30 March 2004, the Secretariat issued a response to those comments and explanatory notes in document 2004/Note 17.

6. On 15 March 2004, the Agency received from Iran a Note Verbale stating that "instruction has been issued to implement the voluntary decisions adopted by [Iran] on 24 February 2004 and planning for the implementation of that instruction has been started", but that, due to fact that "we are approaching the Iranian New Year holidays, ... verification of the suspension of those measures can begin on 10 April 2004". Iran also informed the Agency that the inspection at PFEP could be conducted on 29 March 2004. The inspection was carried out on that date.

7. On 6 April 2004, the Director General and senior Agency officials met in Tehran with H.E. Mr. [[M. Khatami], the President of Iran; H.E. Mr. R. Aghazadeh, Vice President of Iran and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI); H.E. Dr. H. Rohani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran; and H.E. Mr. K. Kharrazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, to discuss safeguards implementation issues. During these discussions, the Iranian authorities agreed to accelerate cooperation with the Agency on a number of outstanding matters identified by the Director General with a view to achieving progress on the resolution of such issues prior to the June 2004 meeting of the Board of Governors.

8. The visits originally scheduled for mid-March 2004, including the discussions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, were eventually held between 12 and 23 April 2004. The mission also included a visit by Agency centrifuge technology experts to a number of locations involved in Iran’s P-2 centrifuge enrichment activities. They also visited a number of privately owned workshops in order to verify the suspension of centrifuge assembly and domestic production of centrifuge components at those locations. Since, at the time, no agreement could be reached on the modalities for access to the centrifuge component production workshops on sites belonging to the Defence Industries Organization (DIO), the Agency did not to carry out any verification activities at those locations.

9. On 15 April 2004, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards (DDG-SG) met in Vienna with Mr. Zamaninia, Director General of the Foreign Ministry of Iran, to further discuss modalities of Agency access to the sites owned by DIO. However, no agreement was reached at that time.

10. On 20–21 April 2004 the Agency met with an Iranian delegation, led by H.E. Mr. C. Nasseri, a special adviser to the Government of Iran, to discuss issues referred to in the Director General’s 6 April 2004 meeting in Iran, including modalities for access to the DIO sites.

11. Between 24 April and 5 May 2004, the Agency carried out inspections at the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL), the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) and the Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL). In addition to the inspections, discussions were held on Iran’s earlier uranium conversion experiments.

12. On 26 April 2004, the Agency informed Iran of the Agency’s requirements for its independent verification of Iran’s voluntary suspension of the domestic production of centrifuge enrichment components at the DIO sites, noting that, before such verification could take place, the Agency needed to receive confirmation that Iran would agree to the actions identified by the Agency.

13. On 27 April 2004, the Agency provided Iran with the results of analyses of environmental samples taken previously at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre (TNRC) and the Esfahan Nuclear Technology Centre (ENTC), as well as the results of environmental samples taken in January 2004 in some of the workshops involved in the production of P-1 centrifuge components. The Agency also provided comments on the information provided by Iran on its plutonium separation experiments.

14. In a letter dated 29 April 2004, Iran informed the Agency that it intended to conduct hot tests of the UF6 production line at UCF. On 7 May 2004, the Agency wrote to Iran, informing it that, given the amounts of nuclear material involved, the hot testing of UCF with UF6 gas would technically amount to the production of feed material for enrichment processes. In a letter dated 18 May 2004, Iran informed the Agency that "the decision taken for voluntary and temporary suspension is based on clearly defined scope which does not include suspension of production of UF6."

15. From 8 to 12 May 2004, Agency laser enrichment experts visited Iran with the main objective of reviewing the chronology of the laser enrichment programme and assessing the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations with regard to this programme.

16. Between 14 and 23 May, Agency inspectors: carried out verification and sealing activities with respect to centrifuge components at Natanz in connection with the suspension; took samples associated with imported UF6; and visited the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) at Arak.

17. From 15 to 17 May 2004, pursuant to a request by Iran, the Agency sent two technical staff from the Department of Safeguards to Iran to provide clarifications on the Guidelines and Format for Preparation and Submission of Declarations pursuant to Articles 2 and 3 of the Model Protocol Additional to Safeguards Agreements.

18. On 21 May 2004, an Iranian delegation led by Mr. Nasseri met with the Agency in Vienna to discuss the status of the issues discussed with the Director General during his 6 April 2004 meeting in Tehran. As a result of this meeting, Iran and the Agency were able to reach agreement the following day on the Agency’s proposal regarding the frequency of visits during the next twelve months for verifying the suspension of the production of gas centrifuge enrichment components at the nine sites declared by Iran as having been engaged in such activities.

19. On 21 May 2004, Iran submitted the initial declarations pursuant to its Additional Protocol. In the Note Verbale forwarding the declarations, Iran informed the Agency that, as Iran had signed the Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003 and had decided voluntarily to apply the Protocol "as a confidence building measure in the context of Article 17 [of the Protocol]", the declarations were being submitted "prior to the due date of 18 June 2004", following the Director General’s request during this visit to Iran in April 2004. The Note Verbale also states that, in the preparation of these declarations, "within this limited time, every reasonable effort has been made to provide the Agency with the information to the extent that [it is] relevant to and compatible with the provisions of the Protocol" and that the declarations were "open to further clarification and amplification if needed."

20. On 28 May 2004, the Director General met again with an Iranian delegation headed by Mr. Nasseri to discuss significant issues that remained outstanding.

21. On 29 May 2004, at the beginning of a five-day visit to Iran, Agency inspectors held discussions with Iranian authorities on the P-2 centrifuge programme and conducted activities related to the verification of suspension at DIO workshops and at Natanz.

B. Outstanding Issues and Next Steps

Import and fabrication of P-2 centrifuge components

22. As noted in the Director General’s last report to the Board (GOV/2004/11, paras 44–45), Iranian authorities had previously stated that Iran had not obtained any P-2 centrifuges, or components thereof, from abroad, but had manufactured all components, including composite rotors, in a workshop on the premises of a private company in Tehran. Iran has now acknowledged that, contrary to these earlier statements, it had imported some magnets relevant to P-2 centrifuges from Asian suppliers, and that the composite rotors that had been manufactured in Iran had in fact been fabricated in another workshop situated on a DIO site. On 30 May 2004, Iran provided information to the Agency on the quantities and sources of imported magnets, raw materials and some related equipment. This information is currently being assessed by the Agency.

23. In response to further questions by the Agency, Iran has also stated that the private company had also made enquiries with a European intermediary about the procurement of 4000 magnets with specifications suitable for use in P-2 centrifuges, but that no magnets had actually been delivered by the intermediary to Iran. In addition, during discussions held with the Agency on 30 May 2004, the owner of the private company acknowledged that he had mentioned to the intermediary the possibility of future procurement of higher numbers of P-2 centrifuge magnets beyond the 4000. He stated that the higher numbers of magnets had been mentioned to attract the intermediary by indicating that larger orders would follow.

24. The Agency has asked for further detailed information on imports by Iran of items for P-2 centrifuges, and an explanation regarding how the procurement efforts referred to in paragraph 23 above fit with the declared small scale of Iran’s P-2 centrifuge research and development (R&D) programme.

25. Environmental samples have been collected at the workshop of the private company at which the P-2 centrifuge components were said to have been manufactured and tested, the results of which are pending. The workshop where the composite rotors were manufactured was visited on 30 May 2004.

26. In light of the investment made in obtaining the design drawings of the P-2 centrifuge and the technical capabilities that existed in Iran at the time, the Agency centrifuge enrichment experts have some questions regarding Iran’s statement that, although the design drawings had been acquired in 1995, no work on P-2 centrifuges was begun until 2001, and mechanical testing of the P-2 composite rotors began only in 2002. The experts also expressed doubt about the feasibility of carrying out centrifuge tests based on the P-2 designs — which required the procurement of parts from abroad and the manufacture of casings and centrifuge components — within the stated period of less than a year.

Origin of contamination

27. As mentioned in the Director General’s previous reports, Iran has maintained that the LEU and HEU particles found at Natanz, the Kalaye Electric Company and Farayand Technique are due to contamination originating from imported P-1 centrifuge components. Iran has recently provided additional information on the locations in Iran to which the P-1 centrifuge equipment and components had been moved, as well as information on some associated timescales. Given the complexity of the information provided by Iran regarding domestic movements of the components, Agency experts do not anticipate that this information will contribute further to the resolution of the contamination issue, unless more information becomes available about the origin of the components. The Agency first requested in August 2003 information on the origin of the components. While Iran maintains that it does not know the origin of the equipment, it has, however, identified some of the intermediaries involved.

28. The Agency has continued discussions with the State from which it believes most of the centrifuge enrichment components originated, and with some of the intermediaries. Information obtained in these discussions may be helpful in resolving some of the contamination issues. However, although additional information has been requested and sampling will be needed to verify that information, it is unlikely, based on the information currently available, that the Agency will be able to conclude that the 36% uranium-235 (U-235) contamination found at Kalaye and Farayand was due to components originating from the State in question. Other possible explanations for this contamination remain under study by the Agency, including through contacts with other States.

29. The Agency is also analysing the recently available results of additional swipe samples in an effort to resolve the questions as to why the contamination is different on domestic and imported centrifuges, and why the contamination at PFEP at Natanz is different from that found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Farayand Technique.

30. The Agency has also requested further information from Iran regarding the UF6 contamination in the building at TRR at TNRC.

Design of UCF

31. As noted in the GOV/2004/11 (para. 14), Iran had stated that UCF was built on the basis of a detailed set of drawings and other design documentation obtained from a foreign source in the early 1990s. To assess the validity of this statement, Agency experts compared these documents with the as-built components of UCF. The experts have concluded that the documents presented in general constitute the basis for the UCF design, with two exceptions: the uranium ore concentrate purification process and the uranium metal production process. The AEOI had not in these instances used the design documentation, but rather had used processes developed and tested at TNRC.

Uranium conversion experiments

32. Agency experts continued efforts to confirm Iran’s declaration that there had not been, in addition to laboratory experiments, any pilot scale uranium conversion experiments. In support of this declaration, Iran has completed characterization of all nuclear material at JHL and submitted revised nuclear material accountancy reports to the Agency. However, the Agency has requested additional supporting information from contemporaneous records of experiments, which would help to corroborate Iran’s statements regarding the amounts of nuclear material produced and disposed of as waste. Final assessment of this issue is also pending additional sample analysis.

AVLIS capabilities

33. Iran had previously stated that the production capability of the atomic vapour laser isotope separation (AVLIS) equipment used at the Comprehensive Separation Laboratory (CSL) in the 1990s was on the order of a few milligrams per day, and that the equipment was able to enrich uranium up to the contracted level of 3% U-235, and even slightly beyond (GOV/2003/75, para. 59). With Iran’s cooperation, the Agency’s laser enrichment experts have been able to confirm Iran’s statement regarding production capability. However, during the Agency experts’ visit in May 2004, Iran presented laboratory reports indicating that the average laser enrichment levels achieved in these small quantities had been 8% to 9%, with some samples of up to approximately 15%. These laboratory reports are currently being assessed in more detail.

34. Agency experts have concluded that the capacity of the AVLIS installation at Lashkar Ab’ad was about 1 gram per hour, but that it was not able to operate continuously. With the cooperation of Iran, the Agency was able to remove from Iran some internal parts of equipment, which will be analysed with a view to assessing the AVLIS-related statements made by Iran in its 21 October 2003 declaration.

Designs for hot cells at IR-40

35. As discussed in the Director General’s previous reports (GOV/2004/11, para. 57; GOV/2003/75, paras 73–75), the Agency has raised questions regarding the absence of hot cell designs in drawings submitted for the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40). In its 13 May 2004 submission of updated design information for the IR-40, Iran stated that, due to difficulties associated with obtaining technical information and subsequent purchase of manipulators and shielding windows, the construction of hot cells for "long lived" radioisotopes was no longer under consideration.

Plutonium separation experiments

36. With regard to the plutonium separation experiments, the Agency has concluded that Iran understated the plutonium produced. However, the amounts produced were only in the milligram range. The Agency also found that the age of the plutonium in solutions was less than the 12–16 years declared. The Iranian officials maintain the earlier statements regarding age, but have agreed to repeat their analysis. The Agency also found some irradiated natural uranium in some samples, which the facility operator has attributed to iodine-131 (I-131) production experiments which had been declared to the Agency in 2003. The final assessment of this issue is pending.

Provision of requested corrections and revised design information

37. As requested by the Agency, Iran has submitted revised design information with respect to certain facilities. Iran has also provided corrections with respect to inventory change reports, material balance reports and physical inventory listings, as requested by the Agency. However, as mentioned in the Director General’s report to the March meeting of the Board (GOV/2004/11, para. 71), some corrections are still pending due in part to the need to establish the amount of nuclear material in dismantled equipment at Natanz.

Additional Protocol

38. The Agency is reviewing the initial Additional Protocol declarations submitted by Iran on 21 May 2004.

Investigation of supply routes and sources

39. As requested by the Board in resolution GOV/2004/21, the Agency is continuing to pursue its investigation of the supply routes and sources of conversion and enrichment technology and related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials, and has received cooperation in that regard from a number of Member States. The Director General will provide more information to the Board about the results of this investigation as appropriate.


40. The Agency has continued to carry out verification activities with respect to the suspension of enrichment and reprocessing related activities at TNRC, Lashkar Ab’ad, Arak, Kalaye Electric Company workshop, Natanz and UCF, and has not observed to date any activities at those locations inconsistent with Iran’s voluntary undertaking. Iran has also stated that it suspended the production of centrifuge components as from 9 April 2004. The Agency has been able to confirm this at three workshops, but three workshops belonging to private companies have continued production, claiming that they have not received adequate compensation from the AEOI for the suspension or termination of contracts. In addition, as of 21 May 2004, the Agency had not visited three DIO workshops, because the modalities of access to those locations had yet to be agreed by Iran. Agreement has now been reached with Iran on these modalities, and the three DIO workshops are to be visited during the week of 31 May 2004. As of the date of this report, two of the three sites have been visited.

41. It should be noted that some of the activities subject to suspension, such as component production, are inherently difficult to verify, and the assurances that the Agency can provide for the purpose of confidence building are of a different nature from those achievable with respect to the detection of nuclear material diversion. Therefore, while more intensive verification of the declared locations is possible, a balance should be struck between the cost and benefit of such verification.

42. Iran has informed the Agency that it is currently conducting hot tests at the UCF that will generate UF6 product in the near future. Iran has stated that its voluntary suspension of enrichment activities does not include the suspension of UF6 production.

C. Assessments

43. There has been good progress on the actions agreed during the Director General’s visit to Tehran in early April 2004. The Agency welcomes Iran’s recent provision of the initial declarations pursuant to its Additional Protocol. Iran has been cooperating with the Agency in providing access to locations in response to Agency requests, including workshops situated at military sites. This is welcome, as is Iran’s agreement to provide one-year multiple-entry visas to designated Agency inspectors.

44. The Agency has been able to verify Iran’s implementation of its decision to suspend enrichment related and reprocessing activities. However, this verification was delayed in some cases by the discussion of modalities for access to the DIO sites, and is not yet comprehensive because of the continued production of centrifuge equipment by some private companies. Iran’s decision to proceed with the generation of UF6 at UCF through the conduct of hot tests is at variance with the Agency's previous understanding as to the scope of Iran's decision regarding suspension.

45. The Agency continues to make progress in gaining a comprehensive understanding of Iran's nuclear programme, but a number of issues remain outstanding. Two issues, in particular, are key to understanding the extent and nature of Iran's previously undeclared enrichment programme.

46. The first such issue relates to the origin of HEU and LEU contamination found at various locations in Iran. As stated in paragraph 27 above, the information provided to date by Iran has not been adequate to resolve this complex matter and Iran should make every effort to provide any additional information about the origin of the components that could be useful in resolving outstanding questions. The Agency has received some information from other States that may be helpful in resolving some contamination questions, and will equally continue to request those States to make every effort to assist the Agency in resolving this matter.

47. The second issue is the extent of Iran's efforts to import, manufacture and use centrifuges of both the P-1 and the P-2 design. The Agency has gained a fuller understanding of the scale of the programme involving P-1 centrifuges, and the locations of their use. However, important information about the P-2 centrifuge programme has frequently required repeated requests, and in some cases continues to involve changing or contradictory information.

48. It is important that Iran work proactively to enable the Agency to gain a full understanding of Iran's enrichment programme by providing all relevant information, as well as by providing prompt access to all relevant sites. Iran's postponement until mid-April of the visits originally scheduled for mid-March — including visits of Agency centrifuge experts to a number of locations involved in Iran's P-2 centrifuge enrichment programme — resulted in a delay in the taking of environmental samples and their analysis. It is also important that all other States with relevant information promptly provide such information to the Agency. Bringing the two issues referred to in paragraphs 46 and 47 above to a close, after almost two years from when Iran's undeclared programme came to the Agency's knowledge, is of key importance to the Agency's ability to provide the international community with the required assurances about Iran's nuclear activities.

49. The Director General will report to the September 2004 meeting of the Board, or earlier, as appropriate.

Continue: IAEA Report on Implementation of Nuclear Safeguards Agreement in Iran - Part 2 (Annex: "Verification Activities" in Iran)


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