“the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”

The IAEA report on Iran is available. You can download a copy here.

It’s short, and an interesting read.

The history of Iran’s program may remain shrouded:

8. As previously reported to the Board (GOV/2005/67, paras 14–15), the Agency was shown by Iran in January 2005 a copy of a hand-written one-page document reflecting an offer for certain components and equipment said to have been made to Iran in 1987 by a foreign intermediary. Iran stated in 2005 that this was the only remaining documentary evidence relevant to the scope and content of the 1987 offer. On 9 October 2007, the Agency was provided with a copy of the document.

Certain aspects of the document indicate that it dates from 1987. However, the originator of the document has still not been identified.

There is some positive news:

25. On 8 November 2007, the Agency received a copy of the 15-page document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal and casting it into hemispheres. Iran has reiterated that this document was received along with the P-1 centrifuge documentation in 1987. The Agency has shared this document with Pakistan, the purported country of origin, and is seeking more information. Iran stated that the reconversion unit with casting equipment mentioned in the one-page 1987 offer was not pursued with the supply network. Apart from the conversion experiments of UF4 to uranium metal at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre (GOV/2004/60 Annex, para. 2), the Agency has seen no indication of any UF6 reconversion and casting activity in Iran. It should be noted, however, that a small UF6 to uranium metal conversion line in the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) was declared by Iran in the design information questionnaire for the UCF (GOV/2003/75, Annex 1, para. 3). This line has not been built, as verified by the Agency’s inspectors.

The next few weeks should be very interesting:

24. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided Iran with questions in writing in connection with the source of uranium particle contamination at the technical university and requested access to relevant documentation and to individuals, as well as to relevant equipment and locations for sampletaking. The questions were, inter alia, about the origin of the uranium particle contamination of equipment (GOV/2006/53, para. 24), the nature of the equipment, the envisioned use of the equipment and the names and roles of individuals and entities involved (including PHRC). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

and

26. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided questions in writing to Iran concerning Iran’s activities involving polonium and requested access to relevant documentation, individuals and equipment. The questions were, inter alia, about the scope and objectives of the polonium-210 studies (GOV/2004/11, para. 28), whether any bismuth acquisitions from abroad had been made or attempted and whether any related theoretical or R&D studies had been carried out in Iran. In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

and

27. On 15 September 2007, the Agency provided questions in writing to Iran concerning the Gchine Mine and requested access to relevant documentation, individuals and equipment. The questions were, inter alia, about the ownership of the mining area and mill, why activities took place at this location when suitable infrastructure was available elsewhere and why AEOI activities at the mine ceased around 1993 (GOV/2005/67, para. 26). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should provide answers to the questions and the requested access in the next few weeks.

and

28. The Agency has urged Iran to address at an early date the alleged studies concerning the conversion of uranium dioxide into UF4 (the green salt project), high explosive testing and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle (GOV/2006/15, paras 38-39). In accordance with the work plan, Iran should address this topic in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the Agency is working on arrangements for sharing with Iran documents provided by third parties related to the alleged studies.

The conclusions are interesting as well:

39. The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. Iran concluded a Facility Attachment for FEP. However, it should be noted that, since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing, pursuant to the Additional Protocol and as a transparency measure. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s current nuclear programme is diminishing.

40. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP and FEP. Iran has also continued the construction of the IR-40 and operation of the Heavy Water Production Plant.

41. There are two remaining major issues relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme: Iran’s past and current centrifuge enrichment programme and the alleged studies. The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided on the declared past P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programmes are consistent with its findings. The Agency will, however, continue to seek corroboration and is continuing to verify the completeness of Iran’s declarations. The Agency intends in the next few weeks to focus on the contamination issue as well as the alleged studies and other activities that could have military applications.

42. Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised in the context of the work plan. However, its cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive. As previously stated, Iran’s active cooperation and full transparency are indispensable for full and prompt implementation of the work plan.

43. In addition, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about the scope and nature of its present programme. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally importantly, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Although the Agency has no concrete information, other than that addressed through the work plan, about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran without full implementation of the Additional Protocol. This is especially important in the light of Iran’s undeclared activities for almost two decades and the need to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Therefore, the Director General again urges Iran to implement the Additional Protocol at the earliest possible date. The Director General also urges Iran to implement all the confidence building measures required by the Security Council, including the suspension of all enrichment related activities.

December will be an interesting month, I think.

16 thoughts on ““the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran””

  1. Jeeze, AL, don’t you realize that your top priority ought to be responding point-for-point after a close read of every word Alan deigns to drop on you? This sort of entry is frankly embarrassing in its superficiality. What a poseur you are!

    /endsarcasm

    So, without sarcasm, I’ll say that ignorance is never an excuse for action — but obfuscation sometimes is an adequate motivator. And December really could be an “F-U” month from a lot of viewpoints.

  2. Armed Liberal: I don’t expect any grand surprises from the IAEA in December. Mohamad Elbaradei’s mission is clear: reduce the threat of expanded hostilities in the region.

    I’m of the wee minority opinion that Iran already possesses a foreign sourced, small nuclear weapon stockpile.

    There are clips of Iran’s latest Military Day parade available at Utube. Noticeable change of tone for the parade between the Khatami years and the current Ahmadinejad administration.

    I study history, so maybe some will be amused by a comparison of Ahmadinejad in 2006-2007, to that of Churchill in 1940. Like Britain facing down German continental hegemony, Iran faces a similar foreign adversary in the form of a Middle East dominated by the US. Like Churchill, Ahmadinejad extolls a determined resistance. Also like Churchill, Ahmadinejad has taken steps to increase internal security. Will there be a Battle of Britain over Tehran, Natanz and Mehrabad in 2008? And will it result in a situation similar in certain small respects to Britain in North Africa in 1942, only this time applied by Iran to the current battlefields in Iraq? Answering the first question, while the IRIAF demonstrated feats of courage during the Iran-Iraq War, it is obviously no match for the combined strength of the USAF and USN. Expect the potential devastation to Iran to be on par or in excess of British losses suffered during the B-of-B. The second question is trickier to answer. While there won’t be a massive, in the open Iranian offensive into Iraq, expect a potential for a massive raising of the threshold of current hostilities to take effect in Iraq, with far more devastating ATGM and MANPADS infantry attack weapons. The historical similarity could conceivably extend along the lines of attrition warfare, which also characterized the Battle of El Alamein. A stretch, I admit, but perhaps worthy of further inspection/discussion.

  3. Mark — the Churchill comparison is both insulting and profoundly stupid.

    Iran has been at war with the US since 1979, punctuated by invading our Embassy and taking our diplomats hostage and torturing them, blowing up our Embassy and diplomats, Marines in Beirut, blowing up people in Argentina (violation of Monroe Doctrine a “red line” for the US), blowing up Khobar Towers, killing US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    If anything the US removed two nearby noxious threats to Iran, Saddam and the Taliban (who killed a bunch of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan) and got … more hostility at every turn. Including hosting Saad bin Laden, daily “Death to America” chants, conferences on a “World without America and Zionism” and promises to bring down nuclear fire on the US.

    Iranians should not complain that after nearly thirty years of making war on us and telling us daily how much they hate us and want to kill us we take them seriously.

    As for your comments — it’s clear that you’ve chosen the side of the enemy over America by comparing Ahmadnutjob to Churchill. This is why we don’t question liberal’s patriotism. We know already they have none.

    It was under that “moderate” Khatami after all that the Iranians bombed Khobar Towers killing 17 US Airmen. That speaks for itself.

  4. Jim:
    Please don’t misread my commentary into a form of advocacy. It was a simple historical comparison. Historians do it all the time, such as comparing Bush to Washington and Manstein to Hannibal.

    By the way, consider for a moment how the history books would have been written had Hitler not paused the Panzers before Dunkirk in 1940. Churchill would have gone down as one of the worst leaders in British history.

    (Sorry I upset you so much.)

  5. um, Nort, I hate to point out the obvious, but this cut-and-paste post certainly does not qualify as an example of “deep thought”.

    And to clarify something you seem to have missed in your rush to belittle, my problem with the Armed Liberal is not that he fails to recognize or raise interesting issues, it is that he typically follows up by either 1) abandoning his threads as soon as a challenging question is raised that requires some analytical thinking or 2) tosses in some snarky or half-baked comment (or threat!) that is designed either to dismiss counter arguments or explain away inconsistencies in his original post. But not flesh out or clarify the ideas raised.

    As much as I admire and recognize the generally civil discourse that occurs on this site between people with sometimes wildly opposing viewpoints, I am disappointed to have learned not to expect the proprietors from participating in this. Which is a shame, because generally I would like to understand more about the positions and beliefs that give rise to the thread topics which prompt my participation in the comments.

    Guess that ain’t gonna happen.

  6. Alan: for sure! Complaining in public about not receiving the attention you think your posts merit is an optimal strategy.

    Not.

    You might be right in your estimation of AL, you might not. But I’m not belittling you. At most I am belittling your position and polemical techniques.

    Go or stay, it’s all the same to me. Cheerio.

  7. And by belittling your position, Alan, I do not mean belittling your political viewpoint.

    [Side note: I apologize for taking a cheap shot at you. I admit that I did so, and I regret it. It was not in good service to the blog nor was it substantive discourse, which we aim to foster. So I also apologize to all WoC readers.]

    By position, I mean your _posture_ vis-a-vis AL and your _expectation_ that AL will match your interest in his replying to you. If he doesn’t respond to your liking, it seems important for you to “call him out” as some sort of coward or flake. This makes it about personalities, more than about ideas, nicht wahr?

    I’ve seen this pattern before, with other participants. You (or whoever) spent a lot of time on your comments; they’re *yours*; AL (or whoever) tries to read the whole thread and his attention is more scattered, for reasons possibly including him not taking you seriously, or even including him being a shallow git; but also possibly because the thread is so darned high volume. Disconnect? Or disrespect?

    Apparently you feel poorly served by the degree and quality of attention you’ve gotten from AL. OK. Stridulation on your part will probably not be perceived as substance, either.

    The most recent thing you mocked of his doesn’t read to me the way it seems to read to you. So where’s the disconnect? In AL’s reading of you, or in your reading of AL? …Or in _my_ reading? I don’t know, and actually care very little; I did not address this matter in the proper time and place and for that I also apologize.

    I don’t mean to take you to task here; I hope that keeping this public might yield benefit for others. Or that’s what I am telling myself, anyway. Perhaps that’s a rationalization.

    As far as getting substantive responses from AL: there is such a thing as email. Is it beneath you to use it? Maybe you’d even find him willing to entertain a guest entry from you — your very own top post in a thread. Then you can have more say, and a higher expectation of response. Of course, I might be wrong about that.

    Cordially,

    Nort

    PS to WoC in general: J Thomas’s guest post is going up this weekend, I swear.

  8. OK, Nort, we don’t have to make a big huge deal of this. I only came back at you because you invoked my name to make a negative point, and took the opportunity to clarify my objections a bit more, hopefully. No harm, no foul.

    As you say, it’s all the same to me either way. I’ve read enough here to see that I’m not missing much by prodding (or stridulating…good word!) AL to expand upon his posts from time to time. I do think there is something to that, and partly I am trying to make that point, but as I said it really isn’t worth spending any more time on.

  9. Well, Alan, I appreciate the clarity.

    This post isn’t about ‘deep thought’ – typically those posts involve a few more of my own words – it’s simply a pointer for people who read about the report to try and get them to actually read the report.

    And you’re right – I don’t get to engage enough in comment threads; I’m genuinely sorry about that but the reality of my life is such that I flat don’t have the time.

    And part of what that means is that I’m going to pick and choose who I engage with; if you’ve noticed, I’m generally pretty happy to engage with people I disagree with (AJL) when I think they’re being serious and respectful (not just of me but of the place); I tend to scan the comments of people I think are doing drivebys or being snarky in lieu of thoughtful.

    Bluntly, I’ve put you into that latter category; I’d welcome seeing that change.

    How’s that?

    A.L.

  10. I study comic books; and regarding the ingenious, not to mention extraordinarily apt, comparison of Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Britain’s Churchill, it was forgotten—somehow—to mention Churchill’s support for terror in countries both near and far, the halo-like glow that he believed emanated from his rather capacious head (he attributed this to his intense spirituality together with his adoration of whisky) and his threat (promise, prophecy, what have you) regarding the “disappearance” of a smaller country beyond the horizon (can’t remember whether it was Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, or Austria, exactly).

    No doubt, there are many other points of comparison.

  11. Mark — my apologies, I have seen that very exact analogy by Ahmadinejad admirers who openly root for him against our country. Please accept my apologies.

    But for the substance of Ahmadinejad “preparing” for a US attack, I think the correct analogy is Hitler or Saddam’s use of a divided West and the profound pacifism of elites. I don’t see much critical technology upgrades of the Iranians — particularly since such an action would take away money used for the nuclear arsenal (which dates back to Khomeni) and Ahmadinejad’s project to take the rural population and put them into new “super-villages” dependent on Government subsidies.

    Most of what Ahmadinejad has been doing is political. At home building massive patronage networks that leave vast swaths of Iranian society dependent on him. Abroad, using concessions and purchases to split the West, while attaining “rock star status” with Islamic peoples (Malaysia, Indonesia, etc) as the main rival to Osama in “confronting America.”

    If anything Ahmadinejad has sought out and won provocations with the West and America. Much like Saddam say in the 1990’s.

    I don’t think GWB has the political will to mount any attacks. Israel of course is the wild card. Olmert is even more attack-averse than GWB but the military and others may force his hand if they fear a surprise mass attack with nukes launched say from Syria or Lebanon.

    If Iran attacks and destroys Israel first with nukes, it can (larger territory and population) absorb the limited retaliation. Given it’s conduct in the Iran-Iraq War (hundreds of thousands of young boys down to 9 years old, the Basij, used as human-wave attacks/minefield clearance) this is in character with the regime. THEN Iran is the only nation in the region with nukes. It can dictate any terms to other nations including absorption into Iran as part of an empire, likely with a jubiliant public in those nations, ecstatic that Iran has wiped out Israel. Certainly Israel recognizes this massive incentive for Iran: destroy Israel and it’s nukes, “limited” martyrs, a new “empire” constructed, leadership of the Muslim world unquestioned.

    Of course such an Iranian strategy is inherently aggressive rather than Churchillian defensive. It’s quite notable that Iran’s stated goals, i.e. “A World without America and Zionism” are incompatible with America.

  12. >>I don’t see much critical technology upgrades of the Iranians — particularly since such an action would take away money used for the nuclear arsenal< <--Jim If you're referring to military technology, Jim, while it is evident that the Iranians spend comparatively less on their military than others in the region, it has been rather smart with its expenditures, in terms of a national defense based on deterrence. (Something Britain attempted under Chamberlain in the 1930's.) The Iranians appear more Russian in their approach, in terms of a mobile ballistic and cruise missile strategy, which is more cost effective and more difficult to hit. They are also somewhat self-sufficient, with regards to small arms and ammo manufacture, as well as elements of their missile, armor and aerospace programs, mirroring quite notably Israeli moves made during the 1970's to the present day. >>Ahmadinejad’s project to take the rural population and put them into new “super-villages” dependent on Government subsidies.< <--Jim It is interesting that Shia Islam's social and economic programs borrow from the previous Russian Socialist example. Israel made similar moves after its inception, with the Kibbutz system. >>If anything Ahmadinejad has sought out and won provocations with the West and America.< <--Jim It has come at a price, Jim. US sanctions have stifled economic growth in Iran for decades. >>If Iran attacks and destroys Israel first with nukes, it can (larger territory and population) absorb the limited retaliation.< <--Jim Rasfanjani made this exact claim during the late 1990's, the time frame where I've guessed that Iran acquired a small stockpile of foreign sourced nuclear weapons. >>Given it’s conduct in the Iran-Iraq War (hundreds of thousands of young boys down to 9 years old, the Basij, used as human-wave attacks/minefield clearance)< <--Jim These tactics weren't exactly original. The Russians used them with similar effectiveness during the Great Patriotic War. >>Of course such an Iranian strategy is inherently aggressive rather than Churchillian defensive.< <--Jim I wouldn't go so far as to characterize Churchill's strategy as inherently defensive. Churchill's aim was to protect the Imperial Colonial system. He also sought to weaken the Continent--i.e. Germany--in order to do so. Wiping out E. Prussia was an example of that policy, as was the creation of zones of European interest, calculated in percentage. >>It’s quite notable that Iran’s stated goals, i.e. “A World without America and Zionism” are incompatible with America.<<–Jim You’re right about Zionism, Jim. Ahmadinejad favors a popular referendum be held in Palestine/Israel to settle the dispute over the territory, to be based on a poll that includes Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze.

  13. (previous comment corrupt)

    “I don’t see much critical technology upgrades of the Iranians — particularly since such an action would take away money used for the nuclear arsenal””–Jim

    If you’re referring to military technology, Jim, while it is evident that the Iranians spend comparatively less on their military than others in the region, it has been rather smart with its expenditures, in terms of a national defense based on deterrence. (Something Britain attempted under Chamberlain in the 1930’s.) The Iranians appear more Russian in their approach, in terms of a mobile ballistic and cruise missile strategy, which is more cost effective and more difficult to hit. They are also somewhat self-sufficient, with regards to small arms and ammo manufacture, as well as elements of their missile, armor and aerospace programs, mirroring quite notably Israeli moves made during the 1970’s to the present day.

    “Ahmadinejad’s project to take the rural population and put them into new “super-villages” dependent on Government subsidies.”–Jim

    It is interesting that Shia Islam’s social and economic programs borrow from the previous Russian Socialist example. Israel made similar moves after its inception, with the Kibbutz system.

    “If anything Ahmadinejad has sought out and won provocations with the West and America.”–Jim

    It has come at a price, Jim. US sanctions have stifled economic growth in Iran for decades.

    “If Iran attacks and destroys Israel first with nukes, it can (larger territory and population) absorb the limited retaliation.”–Jim

    Rasfanjani made this exact claim during the late 1990’s, the time frame where I’ve guessed that Iran acquired a small stockpile of foreign sourced nuclear weapons.

    “Given it’s conduct in the Iran-Iraq War (hundreds of thousands of young boys down to 9 years old, the Basij, used as human-wave attacks/minefield clearance)”–Jim

    These tactics weren’t exactly original. The Russians used them with similar effectiveness during the Great Patriotic War.

    “Of course such an Iranian strategy is inherently aggressive rather than Churchillian defensive.”–Jim

    I wouldn’t go so far as to characterize Churchill’s strategy as inherently defensive. Churchill’s aim was to protect the Imperial Colonial system. He also sought to weaken the Continent–i.e. Germany–in order to do so. Wiping out E. Prussia was an example of that policy, as was the creation of zones of European interest, calculated in percentage.

    “It’s quite notable that Iran’s stated goals, i.e. “A World without America and Zionism” are incompatible with America.”–Jim

    You’re right about Zionism, Jim. Ahmadinejad favors a popular referendum be held in Palestine/Israel to settle the dispute over the territory, to be based on a poll that includes Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze.

  14. Ahmadinejad favors a popular referendum be held in Palestine/Israel to settle the dispute over the territory, to be based on a poll that includes Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze.

    In other amazing news, the Ku Klux Klan is in favor of more black schools and colleges.

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