The IAEA Safeguards legal framework is multifaceted and consists of a number of elements. It includes:
IAEA safeguards are fundamentally grounded in the provisions of the IAEA Statute.
Article III.A.5 of the Statute authorizes the IAEA to establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that nuclear material, services, equipment, facilities and information made available by the IAEA or at its request or under its supervision or control are not used in such a way as to further any military purpose.
Article III.A.5 also authorizes the IAEA to apply safeguards to any bilateral or multilateral arrangement, at the request of the parties, and to any of the nuclear activities of a State, at that State’s request.
Furthermore, Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires all NNWSs to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the IAEA in accordance with the IAEA Statute and the IAEA's safeguards system.
Pursuant to its Statutory Authority, the IAEA concludes legal agreements with States, and with regional inspectorates, for the application of safeguards. These agreements are of three types:
In addition, these three types of agreements can be complemented with an Additional Protocol. The comprehensive safeguards agreements can also be complemented with the Small Quantities Protocol.