UN Closes File on Iran’s Past Nuclear Work

December 15, 2015
On December 15, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board decided to close the inquiry into the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. The unanimous decision by the 35-nation group will end the 12-year probe while allowing inspectors to continue monitoring Tehran’s program. “The resolution by the board of governors of the agency... shows the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program,” said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Tasnim news agency.
 
The decision is a key step towards the lifting sanctions as part of the nuclear reached in July by Iran and the world’s six major powers. It follows the release of a long-awaited International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report that concluded that Iran had worked on a “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” despite its denial of any work on a nuclear weapons program. At the December 15 IAEA Board of Governors meeting, Director General Yukiya Amano noted that the report was the final component of the road map for clarifying outstanding issues on Iran’s program. He said that the next step was for Iran to complete preparatory steps to start implementing the final nuclear deal.
 
Amano also warned that the question of how IAEA monitoring activities in Iran will be funded must be addressed. “All parties must fully implement their commitments under the JCPOA. Considerable effort was required in order to reach this agreement. A similar and sustained effort will be required to implement it,” he said. The following is the full text of the IAEA resolution followed by statements and reactions by Iran and world powers.
 
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action implementation and verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015)
 
Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors on 15 December 2015
 
The Board of Governors,
(a) Recalling all the resolutions and the decisions adopted by the Board on Iran's nuclear programme,
 
(b) Recalling also the Board's decisions on the provisions of technical cooperation to Iran,
 
(c) Recalling also the Director General’s reports  on this matter and taking note of his recent  reports contained in GOV/2015/53, GOV/2015/54, and GOV/2015/68,
 
(d) Reaffirming the need for all States Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons to comply fully with their obligations, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination, as per Article IV of that treaty,
 
(e) Commending the Director General and the Secretariat for their professional and impartial efforts to implement the Safeguards Agreement in Iran and to undertake the necessary nuclear-related monitoring and verification activities in Iran under the Joint Plan of Action agreed between E3/EU+3 and Iran on 24 November 2013,
 
(f) Welcoming the conclusion on 14 July 2015 by E3/EU+3 and Iran of the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) endorsed by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) on 20 July 2015, as well as the “Road-map for Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme” agreed by the Agency and Iran on 14 July 2015, and contained in document GOV/INF/2015/14,
 
(g) Being guided by, inter-alia, the affirmation by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 2231 (2015) that “conclusion of the JCPOA marks a fundamental shift in its consideration of this issue”,
 
(h) Welcoming that all relevant participants have undertaken steps to fulfil their respective commitments under the JCPOA,
 
(i) Recognizing the long-term nature of the provisions of the JCPOA and their implications for the Agency,
 
(j) Mindful of Annex III of the JCPOA, setting the parameters for civil nuclear cooperation with Iran in the framework of the JCPOA, including through IAEA technical cooperation, where appropriate,
 
(k) Recalling its decision on 25 August 2015 to authorise the Director General to implement the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments as set out in the JCPOA, and report accordingly, for the full duration of those commitments subject to the availability of funds and consistent with the
Agency’s standard safeguards practices; and its decision to authorise the Agency to consult and exchange information with the Joint Commission as set out in the report of the Director General contained in GOV/2015/53,
 
(l) Emphasizing the essential and independent role of the IAEA in verifying Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and
Additional Protocol, including when provisionally applied, and in this context in providing credible assurance as to the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, and underlining the IAEA’s important role in verifying the full implementation of Iran’s nuclear related commitments under the JCPOA,
 
(m) Welcoming Iran's reaffirmation in the JCPOA that it will under no circumstances ever seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran's agreement that it will not engage in activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device,
 
1. Welcomes the commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA, to provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in accordance with Article 17 (b) of the Additional Protocol, seek its ratification within the time frame as detailed in Annex V of the JCPOA and fully implement modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement, communicated by Iran to the Director General of the IAEA on 18 October 2015;
 
2. Recalls that under United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) all provisions in the JCPOA are only for the purpose of its implementation between the E3/EU+3 and Iran and should not be considered as setting a precedent for any other State or for principles of international law and the rights and obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other relevant instruments, as well as for internationally recognised principles and practices;
 
3. Affirms in this regard that the Agency's verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments as set out in the JCPOA should not be considered as setting a precedent for the IAEA's standard verification practices, and further affirms that it shall not be interpreted so as to conflict with or alter in any way the Agency's right and obligations to verify compliance by States with Safeguards Agreements and where appropriate Additional Protocols and to report to the Board as appropriate;
 
4. Requests the Director General to:
 
i) provide written reports before each regular quarterly Board meeting on Iran’s implementation of its commitments under the JCPOA and on matters relating to the verification and monitoring in Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) until the Board is no longer seized of the matter, and after that continue to provide written updates before each regular quarterly Board meeting on Iran's implementation of its relevant commitments under the JCPOA for the full duration of those commitments, unless the Board decides otherwise;
 
ii) report, in this regard, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) or the IAEA Statute, to the Board of Governors for appropriate action, and in parallel to the United Nations Security Council, at any time if the Director General has reasonable grounds to believe there is an issue of concern;
 
5.Supports the IAEA Secretariat in undertaking the activities provided for by United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) and the JCPOA;
 
6. Also supports the Agency’s consulting and exchanging information with the Joint Commission;
 
7. Urges all Member States to cooperate fully with the IAEA in its exercise of the tasks related to this resolution;
 
8. Notes the report of the Director General to the Board of Governors contained in GOV/2015/68, which, in line with the Road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, includes the final assessment of all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in the Director General’s report in November 2011 contained in GOV/2011/65;
 
9. Also notes that all the activities in the Road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme were implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule and further notes that this closes the Board's consideration of this item;
 
10. Reaffirms that Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA in implementing its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, including by providing access, reaffirms that such cooperation and implementation are essential for the IAEA to reach the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities and reaffirms also that Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA in implementing its nuclear related commitments under the JCPOA, including, inter alia, as set out in Annex 1, Section Q of the JCPOA and Annex 4, paragraph 6.7;
 
11. Decides that upon receipt by the Board of Governors of the Director General's report that the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken actions specified in paragraphs 15.1-15.11 of the Annex V of the JCPOA the provisions of its resolutions GOV/2003/69 (12 September 2003), GOV/2003/81 (26 November 2003), GOV/2004/21 (13 March 2004), GOV/2004/49 (18 June 2004), GOV/2004/79 (18 September 2004), GOV/2004/90 (29 November 2004), GOV/2005/64 (11 August 2005), GOV/2005/77 (24 September 2005), GOV/2006/14 (4 February 2006), GOV/2009/82 (27 November 2009), GOV/2011/69 (18 November 2011) and GOV/2012/50 (13 September 2012), shall be terminated, and also decides that the Board's decision on GOV/2007/7 and consequential decisions on the provision of technical cooperation for Iran, which were taken through the Agency’s TACC based on GOV/2008/47/Add.3, GOV/2009/65, GOV/2011/58/Add3, GOV/2013/49/Add.3 and GOV/2015/60/Add.3, shall be terminated;
 
12. Notes the importance of all relevant participants faithfully honouring their relevant undertakings and respective commitments under the JCPOA;
 
13. Decides upon receipt of the Director General's report that the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken the actions specified in paragraphs 15.1-15.11 of the Annex V of the JCPOA to be no longer seized of the matter “Implementation of the NPT  Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran” and to become seized of a separate agenda item covering JCPOA implementation and verification and monitoring in Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015);
 
14. Decides to remain seized of the matter until ten years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the Director General reports that the Agency has reached the Broader Conclusion for Iran, whichever is earlier.
 
 
United States
 
State by Secretary of State John Kerry
 
I welcome today’s consensus adoption by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors (BOG) of the resolution addressing the Director General’s December 2 final assessment of the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s past nuclear program.  This resolution allows the Board to turn its focus now to the full implementation and verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which prohibits the resumption of such nuclear weapons-related activities and provides comprehensive tools for deterring and detecting any renewed nuclear weapons work. 
 
The Director General’s December 2 report is consistent with what the United States had long assessed concerning Iran’s past nuclear program as well as the IAEA’s own assessment as reflected in the Director General’s November 2011 report - specifically, that Iran pursued a coordinated program of nuclear weapons-related activities until 2003 and engaged in certain activities relevant to nuclear weaponization for at least several years beyond that period.  The focus now appropriately moves toward full implementation of the JCPOA and its enhanced verification and transparency regime. 
 
Closing the PMD agenda item will in no way preclude the IAEA from investigating if there is reason to believe Iran is pursuing any covert nuclear activities in the future, as it had in the past.  In fact, the JCPOA – by providing for implementation of the Additional Protocol as well as other enhanced transparency measures - puts the IAEA in a far better position to pursue any future concerns that may arise. 
 
Today’s resolution makes clear that the IAEA’s Board of Governors will be watching closely to verify that Iran fully implements its commitments under the JCPOA.  We will remain intensely focused going forward on the full implementation of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.  
 
Statement as delivered by Ambassador Henry S. Ensher to IAEA Board of Governors

Mr. Chairman,
 
On July 14, the IAEA and Iran agreed on a “Roadmap” through which Iran committed to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding past and present outstanding issues, including the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.  The Director General’s submission of the Final Assessment marks an important milestone and an essential step toward the completion of the Roadmap process.
 
The content of the Final Assessment should come as no surprise to the Board, which for years has remained seized of Iran’s long history of concealment, denial, and deception.  This final IAEA report on PMD is consistent with the Director General’s previous assessments regarding Iran’s nuclear program (as detailed in the annex to the IAEA’s November 2011 report).  It concludes that until 2003 Iran pursued a coordinated program of nuclear weapons-related activities, and that certain activities relevant to nuclear weaponization remained ongoing in Iran until at least 2009.
 
The international community’s interest in resolving these serious concerns created the impetus for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached on July 14 between the E3+3, the European Union, and Iran.  The JCPOA is forward-looking.  While the submission of the Director General’s final report marks an important milestone in the completion of the Roadmap, the international community will only gain confidence that nuclear weapons-related activities in Iran are not ongoing through full implementation of the JCPOA, including Iran’s implementation of the Additional Protocol.  As authorized by the Board of Governors and UN Security Council, the IAEA has assumed the critical responsibility of verifying Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.  The IAEA’s verification and monitoring of these commitments is vital to ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful.  
 
As we move toward Implementation Day under the JCPOA, the United States will continue working with all Member States to ensure that the IAEA has the resources necessary to carry out its important responsibilities.  These new responsibilities must be undertaken and funded in a manner that does not impact the Agency’s other essential tasks in safeguards, security, safety, and technical cooperation.  
 
Mr. Chairman,
 
As called for in the JCPOA, the E3+3 has submitted a resolution with a view to bringing to a close the Secretariat’s efforts related to PMD.  The draft resolution before us has the support of all the E3+3, and we hope the Board of Governors will join us in seeking its adoption by consensus here today.  The draft resolution terminates relevant IAEA Board resolutions and decisions regarding Iran, but only once the Director General verifies that Iran has implemented the specified nuclear-related commitments necessary to reach JCPOA Implementation Day.  At that time, the current Iran agenda item at Board meetings will be replaced with a new agenda item regarding monitoring and verification in Iran in light of the JCPOA and UN Security Council resolution 2231.  
 
This approach moves the Board’s focus from the longstanding PMD investigation toward implementation and monitoring of the JCPOA.  However, as we close out this important chapter here today, we must remain mindful that we are not closing the Agency’s ability to investigate any potential concerns that may arise.  Nothing in the resolution precludes the IAEA from exercising its full authorities to pursue new safeguards-relevant or JCPOA-related information, in particular any new concerns regarding weaponization.  To be clear, the IAEA maintains the right and obligation to pursue any such issues via implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, Additional Protocol, and the enhanced transparency and verification measures contained in the JCPOA.  
 
Mr. Chairman,
 

With these comments, the United States takes note of the Director General’s report contained in document “GOV/2015/68” and requests that the report be made public, along with all other reports on the IAEA’s activities under the JPOA that have not yet been made public. 

 

Iran 

 

 
President Hassan Rouhani
 
“Yesterday, one of the stages of the Iranian people’s victory in political and international areas was achieved. For nearly 14 years, terrorist groups, intelligence organizations, and big Western powers levelled accusations at Iran claiming that Iran is enriching uranium somewhere and is engaged in secretly making a nuclear bomb and is not providing the IAEA with clear information.”
 
“This victory showed that this political system speaks honestly with its own people and the world as well and is committed to its vows.”
 
“All legal issues were based on the idea that they wanted to say Iran has not been committed to NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty].”
 
“Both IAEA and the Board of Governors admitted that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never deviated from its peaceful path over years and was not busy making nuclear bombs. As Iran has repeatedly announced that is committed to its religious and moral vows and does not seek WMDs and the Supreme Leader has stressed it as an important decree.”
 
“Of course, the cancellation of these resolutions are subject to the obligations that Iran should fulfil.”
 
“Today, the path is almost paved for the implementation of JCPOA; big steps have been taken by Iran and the other side and the final steps will be taken in two weeks and we hope that the last steps be taken successfully.”
 
“I announce to the people of Iran that the sanction will be lifted by [the Iranian month of] Day [December-January].”
 
“We invite all domestic and foreign entrepreneurs, as well as Iranians residing abroad to make the best use of the investment opportunities with the people who seek constructive interaction with the world.”
—Dec. 16, 2015, in a televised speech
 
Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani
 
“The U.N. Security Council sanctions were based on the claim that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons. Now they (IAEA) say Iran did some research on that. Such research and studies are the right of all IAEA members and there is nothing wrong with them.”

—Dec. 16, 2015, according to IRNA via Reuters