Iran

Iran acceded to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS) in 1970.   In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (a group opposed to the post-1979 regime) revealed two undeclared nuclear sites under-construction: a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and a heavy water facility in Arak.   By failing to declare these facilities, Iran violated the terms of its NPT safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Since then...

Iran acceded to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS) in 1970.   In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (a group opposed to the post-1979 regime) revealed two undeclared nuclear sites under-construction: a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and a heavy water facility in Arak.   By failing to declare these facilities, Iran violated the terms of its NPT safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Since then, IAEA reports have raised persistent concerns that Iran's nuclear programme is being configured to create a nuclear weapons option, despite Iran’s repeated assurances that it seeks uranium enrichment and other fuel cycle capabilities solely for peaceful purposes, principally nuclear energy.  Iran has been subject to regular reports by the IAEA Director General to the Board of Governors, one of the most recent of which, in November 2011 (GOV/2011/65), highlighted additional developments that appear to be nuclear weapons-related.

As reported by the Acronym Institute since 2000, Iran's nuclear programme continues to cause serious international concerns. It is subject to several sanctions-imposing UN Security Council Resolutions including 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1929 (2010) and 1984 (2011).  In 2009 a further nuclear fuel facility was revealed, at Fordow near Qom, and in 2010 Iran announced its intention to construct ten further uranium-enrichment facilities, thereby increasing IAEA concerns.  Although the Obama Administration made early pledges of "vigorous" and "direct" nuclear diplomacy with Iran, US and EU approaches between 2009 and 2013 tended only to harden support for the Iranian government’s stance that the NPT entitles Iran to develop all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes.  During this period, unattributed criminal actions, such as cyber attacks (e.g. the Stuxnet computer virus) and assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists, gave rise to a growing tide of populist calls in Iran to pull out of the NPT.  Talks between the P5 + 1 (France, Germany, China, Russia, the UK and the US, also called the EU-3 + 3) stalled during 2011 and although they were resumed in 2012, speculations by Israeli media that Israel might attempt to halt the Iranian nuclear programme by bombing its facilities merely added to the impasse.

There was little sign of a breakthrough until June 2013 which saw the election of reformist politician Hassan Rouhani as President of Iran.  A subsequent visit by Rouhani to New York for the UN General Assembly, during which he broke a 34-year taboo by speaking on the phone to Barack Obama, was followed in October 2013 by a successful round of talks between the P5+1 and the new Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.  A third round of talks in November 2013 resulted in an interim agreement - the 'Joint Plan of Action' - which exchanged curbs on Iran's nuclear programme with partial sanctions relief.  At the time of writing, talks focused on securing a long-term agreement between the P5+1 and Iran were continuing, with the intention of having an agreement in place towards the end of July 2014.

Iran has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  It is one of 8 of the 44 "Annex 2" states that must sign and ratify before the CTBT can formally enter into force.  Iran is a state party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and is a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).  As at January 2012, Iran has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty.  It is a member of the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD).  It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

17 June 2015

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Spokesman for Iran's Guardian Council (GC) said the body, along with the parliament, has the power to authorize adoption of any binding treaty, including a possible final deal on the country's nuclear program or the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-...

22 April 2015

Iran has continued to meet its commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a confidential United Nations nuclear agency report seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was not enriching uranium above...

6 April 2015

An outline agreement on the future shape of Iran's nuclear programme has been reached after marathon talks with six major powers in Switzerland.

Under the deal, Iran will reduce its uranium enrichment capacity in exchange for phased sanctions relief.

US President Barack Obama...

15 January 2013

The Winter 2012-2013 edition of Proliferation in Parliament offers a review of news, debates and developments in the UK Parliament and Government on issues relating to nuclear weapons, disarmament and proliferation.  It is published in January 2013 following the Christmas...

11 September 2012

This is the Summer 2012 edition of the Acronym Institute newsletter Proliferation in Parliament.  It offers a review of news, debates and developments in the UK Parliament and Government on issues relating to nuclear weapons,...

30 August 2011

Proliferation in Parliament offers a review of news, debates and developments in the UK Parliament and Government on issues relating to nuclear weapons, disarmament and proliferation.

The Summer 2011 edition, compiled by...

9 May 2012

Sitting in room M2 in the Vienna International Centre on Monday listening to cluster 2 statements on non-proliferation, I was struck by how little the positions on safeguards have moved since the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

But despite the sense of déjà vu as delegations from different...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
23 May 2010

The second phase of the NPT Review Conference has come to an end. None of the reports has been adopted by consensus as there are still a handful of outstanding areas of disagreement and certain delegations are holding onto their national positions for as long as they possibly can.  The...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
18 May 2010

As Main Committee II and the subsidiary bodies on institutional issues (SB3) and practical disarmament (SB1) ploughed on with negotiations over text,  I was planning to devote today’s blog...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
3 May 2013

The core purpose of the NPT was security and the prevention of nuclear war, but the  esoteric diplomacy of the current regime has become too far removed from the dangerous and messy world of today’s nuclear risks and ambitions. Rebecca Johnson reports at the close of the NPT meeting...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
1 May 2013

In a dramatic act that signalled its frustration with the “unilateral postponement” of an agreed 2012 Conference on the Middle East, Ambassador...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
6 August 2012

On August 6, 1945, the first uranium bomb was exploded above Hiroshima with the force of 15,000 tons of TNT. A total of 140,000 people died that year as a result of the blast and fireball that engulfed the city, falling debris, and the radioactive fallout. Three days later, Nagasaki was...

3 March 2015

Mr John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of progress in the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Mr Philip Hammond: We have made some progress in recent...

27 October 2014
Mr Philip Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy in the P5+1 talks is on Iran's capability to build a nuclear weapon.


Mr Tobias Ellwood: The UK is committed to ensuring that Iran...

16 October 2014
Paul Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what restrictions are in place on trade with, and exports to, Iran; what changes there have been in such restrictions in the last two years; what his policy is on amending the current...
Author(s): Negotiators for P5+1 & Iran
24 November 2013

Preamble

The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that
would ensure Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no
circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any...

Author(s): G8 Foreign Ministers
11 April 2013

The G8 Foreign Ministers have issued a joint statement following their meeting on 10 and 11 April 2013 in London.

Introduction
G8 Foreign Ministers met in London on 10-11 April. The G8 represents a group of nations with a broad range of global interests and with...

Author(s): Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General
24 November 2012

I reaffirm my firm resolve and commitment together with the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, in consultation with the States of the region, to convene a conference, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of...

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