Beyond the latest issue of nuclear safeguards in Iran, how many times has the IAEA reported cases to the UN Security Council?

On 4 February 2006 the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution requesting the IAEA Director General to report all IAEA documents relating to the implementation of safeguards in Iran to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Article XII of the IAEA statute requires Agency inspectors to report non-compliance with safeguards agreements to the Director General who passes on the report to the Board of Governors. The Board is then required to call upon the recipient State to remedy the non-compliance and also report the non-compliance to all Agency members, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. See the Iran coverage for more information.

Previous cases of IAEA reports to the Security Council include:
Israel – 1981. On 7 June 1981 Israel attacked the Tamuz Nuclear reactor in Iraq based on the suspicion that it was being used for nuclear weapons research. The reactor was under IAEA safeguards. The attack drew harsh international criticism and the Director General of IAEA; Mr. Sigvard Eklund issued a statement on 9 June 1981 to the IAEA Board stating that the Agency had not found any activity in Iraqi reactors; which suggested non-compliance with the NPT. Following the DG’s statement, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution on 12 June 1981 on the military attack and its implications for the Agency. On 19 June 1981, DG Eklund made another statement at the 2288th meeting of the UNSC. The UNSC Resolution 487 was passed on 19 June 1981. It called upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and established that Iraq was entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it had suffered.

Iraq – 1991. Iraq was the first State party to the NPT found to have violated its safeguards agreement with the IAEA by not declaring and submitting nuclear material activities to the Agency’s inspections. Agency teams began investigating Iraq’s nuclear capabilities in May 1991 as requested by UN Security Council Resolution 687. The resolution was aimed at eliminating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. It expressly called on the Agency to inspect known or suspected nuclear sites in Iraq and to develop a comprehensive plan for future monitoring and verification of Iraq’s nuclear programme. Consequently, the IAEA Board of Governors declared Iraq in violation of its safeguards agreement on 18 July 1991. It condemned the Government of Iraq for not submitting nuclear material and facilities to Agency inspections. The Agency forwarded its findings on Iraq to the United Nations Security Council. See the Iraq coverage for more information.

Romania – 1992. Romania agreed to put its nuclear facilities and nuclear research centres under full IAEA control in 1991. It also agreed to comprehensive inspections of all its facilities. In April-May 1992, 470 grams of plutonium were discovered in a secret laboratory of the Atomic Energy Institute in the city of Pitesti. Romania invited the IAEA to conduct a special inspection to resolve the matter, which had taken place under the Ceausescu regime. At its session on 17 June 1992, the IAEA Board of Governors agreed to report the matter to the UN Security Council and identified steps for strengthened verification of Romania’s nuclear programme.

North Korea – 1993, 1994, 2003. North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) acceded to the NPT on 12 December 1985 but did not complete a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Under Article III of the NPT, North Korea had 18 months to conclude such an arrangement. On 30 January 1992, six years after signing the NPT, North Korea finally concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Following ratification of the agreement, Pyongyang allowed the IAEA inspectors access to seven sites and some 70 grams of plutonium. In September 1992 IAEA inspectors discovered discrepancies in North Korea’s report on its nuclear programme. On 9 February 1993 North Korea refused an Agency request to inspect two sites believed to store nuclear waste.

  • On 1 April 1993, the IAEA reported to the Security Council that North Korea was in non-compliance with its safeguards agreements. It also announced that it could no longer guarantee that North Korean nuclear material was not being diverted for military purposes.
  • On 21 March 1994, while responding to North Korea’s refusal to allow the inspection team to inspect a plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, the IAEA Board of Governors approved a resolution calling on North Korea to “immediately allow the IAEA to complete all requested inspection activities and to comply fully with its safeguards agreements.”
  • On 12 February 2003, while responding to North Korea’s rejection of the November 2002 and January 2003 IAEA resolutions, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution declaring Pyongyang in “further non-compliance” with its obligations under the NPT. The Board reported the matter to the UN Security Council, in accordance with the Agency mandate.

For more information, see the DPRK coverage.

Libya – 2004. On 10 March 1994 the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution finding Libya in non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement. However, it also praised Libya’s subsequent cooperation and dismantlement efforts. The IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei informed the Board on March 8 that Libya had been actively cooperating with the Agency’s efforts to investigate its nuclear activities. Consequently, the resolution requested the Director General to report Libya’s non-compliance to the UN Security Council “for information purposes only.” For more information, see the Libya coverage.

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