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Iran Signs Additional Protocol on Nuclear Safeguards

Signing Ceremony

Signing Ceremony at the IAEA. (Credit: D. Calma / IAEA)

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On 18 December 2003, Ambassador Salehi of Iran and the Director General of the IAEA signed an Additional Protocol to Iran's NPT safeguards agreement, granting Agency inspectors greater authority in verifying the country's nuclear programme. Iran has stated that it is acting in accordance with the Protocol's provisions, pending the Protocol's formal entry into force. The Additional Protocol requires States to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities and grants the Agency broader rights of access to sites in the country.

Since February 2003, the IAEA has been heavily engaged in the verification of the Iranian programme and its history. As IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported to the Agency's Board in November 2003, the IAEA's ability to reach a conclusion on the nature of Iran's nuclear programme and the correctness and completeness of Iran's declaration of its nuclear activities will very much depend on the Agency being allowed by Iran to implement in full the verification measures provided for in the safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol that Iran has now concluded with the IAEA - and on Iran's pursuing a policy of full transparency and co-operation.

In his report to the Board at that time, Dr. ElBaradei stated that "Iran has committed itself to a policy of full disclosure and has decided, as a confidence building measure, not only to sign the Additional Protocol, making way for more robust and comprehensive inspections, but also to take the important step of suspending all enrichment related and reprocessing activities and to accept IAEA verification of this suspension. These are positive and welcome steps which I very much hope will be sustained."

The Director General is scheduled to provide his next report, on the implementation of Agency safeguards in Iran, to the IAEA Board of Governors in February 2004, prior to the Board's next meeting in March.