Iranís quest for nuclear weapons:
The IAEAís grim conclusion, in 2012

Published: 22 August 2012
Briefing Number 317



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Summary:Iran denies that its nuclear programme is intended to produce a nuclear weapon.  It claims that its nuclear programme is designed to produce  nuclear power, and for medical research purposes. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disagrees.  This Briefing summarises the conclusions of the IAEA on this issue in its 2011 Annual Report, which was published in August 2012.  In the words of the IAEA: “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.....”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The IAEA is responsible for promoting the safe, civilian use of nuclear energy around the world.  At the same time, the IAEA monitors the international community’s compliance with its obligations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons under international law and relevant international treaties.  

The IAEA is authoritative, and independent.

The Iranian nuclear programme

The Iranian government denies that its nuclear programme is intended to produce a nuclear weapon.  It claims that its purpose is to generate energy, and for medical research purposes.  

However, the IAEA publicly disagrees.  In August 2012 the IAEA published its Annual Report for 2011, which is on the IAEA website (www.iaea.org). In bland, bureaucratic language, this is verbatim what the IAEA said about Iran:

  • Iran has enabled the IAEA to verify that it was not diverting nuclear material which Iran had “declared”, to unauthorised locations
  • However, Iran has not provided the “necessary cooperation” with the IAEA, as required by the IAEA and the UN Security Council.  Therefore the IAEA has been “unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.....”
  • The IAEA “was unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran was for peaceful activities....”
  • The Director General of the IAEA has provided the IAEA’s governing body with detailed analysis of information available to the IAEA which had “given rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.....”
  • That analysis was published by the IAEA in November 2011. That analysis indicated that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device......”
  • “Prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme” and “some activities may still be ongoing.....”
  • On 18 November 2011 the IAEA adopted a resolution which “expressed deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of a possible military dimension.....”
  • There is an “urgent” need for Iran to provide “clarification” regarding these issues, “including access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran.....”