In a Note Verbale of August 1, 2005, Iran informed
the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had decided to resume uranium-conversion
activities – voluntarily suspended by Iran almost two years before – at the
Uranium Conversion Facility at Esfahan.
In October 2003, Iran had entered into negotiations with France, Germany and
the United Kingdom with the explicit expectation of obtaining transparent cooperative
access to European nuclear and other advanced technologies.
To further the negotiations with the Europeans, Iran agreed to sign and immediately
adhere to an Additional Protocol to its IAEA Safeguards Agreement.
Iran also extended its voluntary suspension of all uranium-enrichment related
activities taken almost a year ago "as a confidence building measure" to include
uranium-conversion activities, and invited the IAEA to monitor the suspensions.
Since the activities Iran was resuming at Esfahan had been and would continue
to be subject to IAEA Safeguards, Iran requested the Agency "to be prepared
for the implementation."
In response, the IAEA informed Iran that the IAEA would need to install additional
surveillance equipment at the input and output stages of certain process lines.
"To ensure continuity of knowledge, it is essential that Iran refrain from removing
the Agency's seals and from moving any nuclear material at UCF until such time
as the surveillance equipment is installed and the Agency has verified the material."
So, Iran waited until 8 August to begin feeding uranium ore concentrate into
the first phase of the Uranium Hexafluoride production process. And waited until
10 August to remove the IAEA seals on the Uranium Tetrafluoride previously produced.
When this resumption of Safeguarded activity was duly reported by Director-General
ElBaradei to the IAEA Board of Governors, some Board members reportedly announced
their intention to refer these perfectly legal IAEA Safeguarded activities to
the UN Security Council for "possible disciplinary action."
Now, according to the IAEA Statute, the Director-General and his designated
inspectors "shall have access at all times to all places" in an IAEA member
state as necessary "to account for [Safeguarded] source and special fissionable
materials" and "to determine whether there is compliance with the undertaking
against use in furtherance of any military purpose."
In the performance of their duties, "the Director-General and the staff shall
not seek or receive instructions from any source external to the Agency."
Furthermore, each IAEA member "undertakes to respect the international character
of the responsibilities of the Director-General and the staff and shall not
seek to influence them in the discharge of their duties."
When IAEA inspectors do determine that safeguarded materials have been used
"in furtherance of any military purpose," they "shall" report such
"non-compliance" to the Director-General who "shall" thereupon transmit the
report to the Board of Governors.
As of this writing, IAEA inspectors have made no such report to ElBaradei about
Iran. In fact, more than a year ago, ElBaradei reported to the Board that "all
the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore
such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."
ElBaradei publically asked himself these questions; "Have we seen any proof
of a weapons program? Have we seen undeclared [uranium] enrichment?"
ElBaradei's answer, then and now, is "There is none of that."
So, as a result of more than two years of go-anywhere see-anything inspections,
not only has the IAEA failed to find any evidence that safeguarded materials
were being "in furtherance of any military purpose." Contrary to what
various unnamed "US officials" and "European diplomats" have alleged, the IAEA
has not even uncovered uranium-enrichment related activities that should have
been "declared" but weren't.
Now, bear in mind that the IAEA is not a party to the negotiations that
had been taking place between Iran and the Europeans.
But, Iran suggested the Europeans ask the IAEA to develop "technical,
legal and monitoring modalities" for Iran's enrichment program above and
beyond those required under their Additional Protocol with the IAEA,
to be monitored by the IAEA, to provide "objective guarantees" to
the Europeans that all Iran's nuclear programs would remain exclusively for
The Europeans declined the suggestion.
Finally, on March 23, 2005, Iran offered a collection of "objective guarantees"
which included a "limitation of the extent of the enrichment program to solely
meet the contingency fuel requirements of Iran's power reactors."
Note that Iran is unlikely to have any such requirements for at least a decade.
Nevertheless, the Europeans didn't even bother to respond to the Iranian offer.
Is their failure to negotiate in good faith what the Europeans want referred
to the Security Council?