IAEA PMD REPORT OUT. Official Copy and Initial Legal ObservationsPosted: December 2, 2015
Here it is, folks:
I’m still reading over it myself, but here’s the punchline from the Summary section:
The Agency assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003. The Agency also assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities. The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.
The Agency has found no credible indications of the diversion of nuclear material in connection with the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.
I’ll have more to say on this in the coming days, and will try to get some technical folks to do guest posts. But my first reaction from a legal perspective is:
1. The IAEA has in effect now given its opinion that Iran has not violated NPT Article II through any of the alleged PMD activities, because none of the assessed activities can be said to rise to the prohibited level of the manufacture or other acquisition of a nuclear explosive device.
2. Since the IAEA has now assessed that none of the alleged PMD activities involved the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful to military uses, it has in effect determined that none of these activities constituted a violation of Iran’s safeguards obligations. As Article 1 of Iran’s comprehensive safeguards agreement makes explicit, the IAEA’s safeguards activities in Iran are implemented “for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
3. This second subject, regarding the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful to military uses, is in fact the only subject that the IAEA had any legal authority to investigate and assess.