Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Board of Governors

Date: 8 November 2011

Restricted Distribution
Original: English


For official use only

Item 5(c) of the provisional agenda

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Report by the Director General



Possible Military Dimensions to Iran’s Nuclear Programme

1. This Annex consists of three Sections: Section A, which provides an historical overview of the Agency’s efforts to resolve questions about the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, in particular regarding concerns about possible military dimensions; Section B, which provides a general description of the sources of information available to the Agency and its assessment of the credibility of that information; and Section C, which reflects the Agency’s analysis of the information available to it in the context of relevant indicators of the existence or development of processes associated with nuclear-related activities, including weaponization.

A. Historical Overview

2. Since late 2002, the Director General has reported to the Board of Governors on the Agency’s concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. Such concerns coincided with the appearance in open sources of information which indicated that Iran was building a large underground nuclear related facility at Natanz and a heavy water production plant at Arak.1

3. Between 2003 and 2004, the Agency confirmed a number of significant failures on the part of Iran to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the processing and use of undeclared nuclear material and the failure to declare facilities where the nuclear material had been received, stored and processed.2 Specifically, it was discovered that, as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, Iran had used undeclared nuclear material for testing and experimentation in several uranium conversion, enrichment, fabrication and irradiation activities, including the separation of plutonium, at undeclared locations and facilities.3

4. In October 2003, Iran informed the Director General that it had adopted a policy of full disclosure and had decided to provide the Agency with a full picture of its nuclear activities.4 Following that announcement, Iran granted the Agency access to locations the Agency requested to visit, provided information and clarifications in relation to the origin of imported equipment and components and made individuals available for interviews. It also continued to implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, to which it agreed in February 2003, which provides for the submission of design information on new nuclear facilities as soon as the decision to construct or to authorize construction of such a facility is taken.5 In November 2003, Iran announced its intention to sign an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement (which it did in December 2003 following Board approval of the text), and that, prior to its entry into force, Iran would act in accordance with the provisions of that Protocol.6

5. Between 2003 and early 2006, Iran submitted inventory change reports, provided design information with respect to facilities where the undeclared activities had taken place and made nuclear material available for Agency verification. Iran also acknowledged that it had utilized entities with links to the Ministry of Defence in some of its previously undeclared activities.7 Iran acknowledged that it had had contacts with intermediaries of a clandestine nuclear supply network in 1987 and the early 1990s, and that, in 1987, it had received a handwritten one page document offering assistance with the development of uranium centrifuge enrichment technology, in which reference was also made to a reconversion unit with casting equipment.8 Iran further acknowledged that it had received a package of information related to centrifuge enrichment technology that also included a 15 page document (hereafter referred to as the “uranium metal document”) which Iran said it did not ask for and which describes, inter alia, processes for the conversion of uranium fluoride compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components.9

6. The Agency continued to seek clarification of issues with respect to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, particularly in light of Iran’s admissions concerning its contacts with the clandestine nuclear supply network, information provided by participants in that network and information which had been provided to the Agency by a Member State. This last information, collectively referred to as the “alleged studies documentation”, which was made known to the Agency in 2005, indicated that Iran had been engaged in activities involving studies on a so-called green salt project, high explosives testing and the re-engineering of a missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a new payload.10 All of this information, taken together, gave rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.

7. In August 2007, Iran and the Agency agreed on “Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues” (generally referred to as the “work plan”) (INFCIRC/711). By February 2008, the four items identified in the work plan as “past outstanding issues”, and the two items identified as “other outstanding issues”, had been determined by the Agency to be either closed, completed or no longer outstanding11. The remaining issues which needed to be clarified by Iran related to the alleged studies, together with other matters which had arisen in the course of resolving the six other issues and which needed to be addressed in connection with the alleged studies, specifically: the circumstances of Iran’s acquisition of the uranium metal document, procurement and research and development (R&D) activities of military related institutes and companies that could be nuclear related; and the production of nuclear equipment and components by companies belonging to defence industries.12

8. Between February and May 2008, pursuant to the work plan, the Agency shared with Iran information (including documentation) on the alleged studies, and sought clarifications from Iran.13 In May 2008, Iran submitted to the Agency a 117 page assessment of that information. While Iran confirmed the veracity of some of the information which the Agency had shared with it (such as acknowledgement of names of people, places and organizations), Iran’s assessment was focused on deficiencies in form and format, and dismissed the allegations as having been based on “forged” documents and “fabricated” data.14

9. The Agency continued to receive additional information from Member States and acquired new information as a result of its own efforts. The Agency tried without success to engage Iran in discussions about the information, and finally wrote to Iran in October 2010 to inform it about this additional information.15

10. Between 2007 and 2010, Iran continued to conceal nuclear activities, by not informing the Agency in a timely manner of the decision to construct or to authorize construction of a new nuclear power plant at Darkhovin16 and a third enrichment facility near Qom (the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant).17,18 The Agency is still awaiting substantive responses from Iran to Agency requests for further information about its announcements, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, that it had decided to construct ten additional enrichment facilities (the locations for five of which had already been identified)19 and that it possessed laser enrichment technology.20

11. The Agency has continued to receive, collect and evaluate information relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. As additional information has become available to the Agency, the Agency has been able, notwithstanding Iran’s lack of engagement, to refine its analysis of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.21

B. Credibility of Information

12. As indicated in paragraph 6 above, among the information available to the Agency is the alleged studies documentation: a large volume of documentation (including correspondence, reports, view graphs from presentations, videos and engineering drawings), amounting to over a thousand pages. The information reflected in that documentation is of a technically complex and interconnected nature, showing research, development and testing activities over time. It also contains working level correspondence consistent with the day to day implementation of a formal programme. Consistent with the Agency’s practice, that information has been carefully and critically examined. The Agency has also had several meetings with the Member State to clarify the information it had provided, to question the Member State about the forensics it had carried out on the documentation and the information reflected in it, and to obtain more information on the underlying sources.

13. In addition to the alleged studies documentation, the Agency has received information from more than ten Member States. This has included procurement information, information on international travel by individuals said to have been involved in the alleged activities, financial records, documents reflecting health and safety arrangements, and other documents demonstrating manufacturing techniques for certain high explosive components. This information reinforces and tends to corroborate the information reflected in the alleged studies documentation, and relates to activities substantially beyond those identified in that documentation.

14. In addition to the information referred to in paragraphs 12 and 13 above, the Agency has acquired information as a result of its own efforts, including publications and articles acquired through open source research, satellite imagery, the results of Agency verification activities and information provided by Iran in the context of those verification activities.22 Importantly, the Agency has also had direct discussions with a number of individuals who were involved in relevant activities in Iran, including, for example, an interview with a leading figure in the clandestine nuclear supply network (see paragraph 35 below). The information obtained by the Agency from the discussions with these individuals is consistent with the information provided by Member States, and that acquired through its own efforts, in terms of time frames and technical content.

15. As indicated in paragraph 8 above, Iran has acknowledged certain information reflected in the alleged studies documentation. However, many of the answers given by Iran to questions posed by the Agency in connection with efforts to resolve the Agency’s concerns have been imprecise and/or incomplete, and the information has been slow in coming and sometimes contradictory. This, combined with events such as the dismantling of the Lavisan-Shian site in late 2003/early 2004 (see paragraph 19 below), and a pattern of late or after the fact acknowledgement of the existence of previously undeclared parts of Iran’s nuclear programme, have tended to increase the Agency’s concerns, rather than dispel them.

16. As indicated above, the information consolidated and presented in this Annex comes from a wide variety of independent sources, including from a number of Member States, from the Agency’s own efforts and from information provided by Iran itself. It is overall consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved and time frames. Based on these considerations, and in light of the Agency’s general knowledge of the Iranian nuclear programme and its historical evolution, the Agency finds the information upon which Part C of this Annex is based to be, overall, credible. C. Nuclear Explosive Development Indicators

17. Within its nuclear programme, Iran has developed the capability to enrich uranium to a level of up to 20% U-235, declared to be for use as fuel in research reactors. In the absence of any indicators that Iran is currently considering reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel to extract plutonium,23 the Agency has, to date, focused its analysis of Iran’s nuclear programme on an acquisition path involving high enriched uranium (HEU). Based on indicators observed by the Agency in connection with Iran’s nuclear activities, the Agency’s work has concentrated on an analysis pertinent to the development of an HEU implosion device.

C.1. Programme management structure

18. The Agency has been provided with information by Member States which indicates that the activities referred to in Sections C.2 to C.12 were, at least for some significant period of time, managed through a programme structure, assisted by advisory bodies, and that, owing to the importance of these efforts, senior Iranian figures featured within this command structure. From analysis of this information and information provided by Iran, and through its own endeavours, the Agency has been able to construct what it believes to be a good understanding of activities undertaken by Iran prior to the end of 2003. The Agency’s ability to construct an equally good understanding of activities in Iran after the end of 2003 is reduced, due to the more limited information available to the Agency. For ease of reference, the figure below depicts, in summary form, what the Agency understands of the programme structure, and administrative changes in that structure over the years. Attachment 1 to this Annex provides further details, derived from that information, about the organizational arrangements and projects within that programme structure.

Depiction of IAEA understandimg of the programme structure, and administrative changes in that structure over the years

19. The Agency received information from Member States which indicates that, sometime after the commencement by Iran in the late 1980s of covert procurement activities,24 organizational structures and administrative arrangements for an undeclared nuclear programme were established and managed through the Physics Research Centre (PHRC), and were overseen, through a Scientific Committee, by the Defence Industries Education Research Institute (ERI), established to coordinate defence R&D for the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Iran has confirmed that the PHRC was established in 1989 at Lavisan-Shian, in Tehran. Iran has stated that the PHRC was created with the purpose of “preparedness to combat and neutralization of casualties due to nuclear attacks and accidents (nuclear defence) and also support and provide scientific advice and services to the Ministry of Defence”. Iran has stated further that those activities were stopped in 1998.25 In late 2003/early 2004, Iran completely cleared the site.26

20. According to information provided by Member States, by the late 1990s or early 2000s, the PHRC activities were consolidated under the “AMAD Plan”. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (Mahabadi) was the Executive Officer of the AMAD Plan, the executive affairs of which were performed by the “Orchid Office”.27 Most of the activities carried out under the AMAD Plan appear to have been conducted during 2002 and 2003.

21. The majority of the details of the work said to have been conducted under the AMAD Plan come from the alleged studies documentation which, as indicated in paragraph 6 above, refer to studies conducted in three technical areas: the green salt project; high explosives (including the development of exploding bridgewire detonators); and re-engineering of the payload chamber of the Shahab 3 missile re-entry vehicle.

22. According to the Agency’s assessment of the information contained in that documentation, the green salt project (identified as Project 5.13) was part of a larger project (identified as Project 5) to provide a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment programme. The product of this programme would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead which was the subject of the missile re-entry vehicle studies (identified as Project 111). As of May 2008, the Agency was not in a position to demonstrate to Iran the connection between Project 5 and Project 111. However, subsequently, the Agency was shown documents which established a connection between Project 5 and Project 111, and hence a link between nuclear material and a new payload development programme.

23. Information the Agency has received from Member States indicates that, owing to growing concerns about the international security situation in Iraq and neighbouring countries at that time, work on the AMAD Plan was stopped rather abruptly pursuant to a “halt order” instruction issued in late 2003 by senior Iranian officials. According to that information, however, staff remained in place to record and document the achievements of their respective projects. Subsequently, equipment and work places were either cleaned or disposed of so that there would be little to identify the sensitive nature of the work which had been undertaken.

24. The Agency has other information from Member States which indicates that some activities previously carried out under the AMAD Plan were resumed later, and that Mr Fakhrizadeh retained the principal organizational role, first under a new organization known as the Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT)28, which continued to report to MODAFL, and later, in mid-2008, as the head of the Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT) in Tehran.29 The Agency has been advised by a Member State that, in February 2011, Mr Fakhrizadeh moved his seat of operations from MUT to an adjacent location known as the Modjeh Site, and that he now leads the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research.30 The Agency is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapon programme.

C.2. Procurement activities

25. Under the AMAD Plan, Iran’s efforts to procure goods and services allegedly involved a number of ostensibly private companies which were able to provide cover for the real purpose of the procurements. The Agency has been informed by several Member States that, for instance, Kimia Maadan was a cover company for chemical engineering operations under the AMAD Plan while also being used to help with procurement for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).31

26. In addition, throughout the entire timeline, instances of procurement and attempted procurement by individuals associated with the AMAD Plan of equipment, materials and services which, although having other civilian applications, would be useful in the development of a nuclear explosive device, have either been uncovered by the Agency itself or been made known to it.32 Among such equipment, materials and services are: high speed electronic switches and spark gaps (useful for triggering and firing detonators); high speed cameras (useful in experimental diagnostics); neutron sources (useful for calibrating neutron measuring equipment); radiation detection and measuring equipment (useful in a nuclear material production environment); and training courses on topics relevant to nuclear explosives development (such as neutron cross section calculations and shock wave interactions/hydrodynamics).

C.3. Nuclear material acquisition

27. In 2008, the Director General informed the Board that: it had no information at that time — apart from the uranium metal document — on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon or of certain other key components, such as initiators, or on related nuclear physics studies,33 and that it had not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies.34

28. However, as indicated in paragraph 22 above, information contained in the alleged studies documentation suggests that Iran was working on a project to secure a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment programme, the product of which would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead which was the subject of the missile re-entry vehicle studies. Additional information provided by Member States indicates that, although uranium was not used, kilogram quantities of natural uranium metal were available to the AMAD Plan.

29. Information made available to the Agency by a Member State, which the Agency has been able to examine directly, indicates that Iran made progress with experimentation aimed at the recovery of uranium from fluoride compounds (using lead oxide as a surrogate material to avoid the possibility of uncontrolled contamination occurring in the workplace).

30. In addition, although now declared and currently under safeguards, a number of facilities dedicated to uranium enrichment (the Fuel Enrichment Plant and Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz and the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom) were covertly built by Iran and only declared once the Agency was made aware of their existence by sources other than Iran. This, taken together with the past efforts by Iran to conceal activities involving nuclear material, create more concern about the possible existence of undeclared nuclear facilities and material in Iran.

C.4. Nuclear components for an explosive device

31. For use in a nuclear device, HEU retrieved from the enrichment process is first converted to metal. The metal is then cast and machined into suitable components for a nuclear core.

32. As indicated in paragraph 5 above, Iran has acknowledged that, along with the handwritten one page document offering assistance with the development of uranium centrifuge enrichment technology, in which reference is also made to a reconversion unit with casting equipment, Iran also received the uranium metal document which describes, inter alia, processes for the conversion of uranium compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components.

33. The uranium metal document is known to have been available to the clandestine nuclear supply network that provided Iran with assistance in developing its centrifuge enrichment capability, and is also known to be part of a larger package of information which includes elements of a nuclear explosive design. A similar package of information, which surfaced in 2003, was provided by the same network to Libya.35 The information in the Libyan package, which was first reviewed by Agency experts in January 2004, included details on the design and construction of, and the manufacture of components for, a nuclear explosive device.36

34. In addition, a Member State provided the Agency experts with access to a collection of electronic files from seized computers belonging to key members of the network at different locations. That collection included documents seen in Libya, along with more recent versions of those documents, including an up-dated electronic version of the uranium metal document.

35. In an interview in 2007 with a member of the clandestine nuclear supply network, the Agency was told that Iran had been provided with nuclear explosive design information. From information provided to the Agency during that interview, the Agency is concerned that Iran may have obtained more advanced design information than the information identified in 2004 as having been provided to Libya by the nuclear supply network.

36. Additionally, a Member State provided information indicating that, during the AMAD Plan, preparatory work, not involving nuclear material, for the fabrication of natural and high enriched uranium metal components for a nuclear explosive device was carried out.

37. As the conversion of HEU compounds into metal and the fabrication of HEU metal components suitable in size and quality are steps in the development of an HEU nuclear explosive device, clarification by Iran is needed in connection with the above.

C.5. Detonator development

38. The development of safe, fast-acting detonators, and equipment suitable for firing the detonators, is an integral part of a programme to develop an implosion type nuclear device. Included among the alleged studies documentation are a number of documents relating to the development by Iran, during the period 2002–2003, of fast functioning detonators, known as “exploding bridgewire detonators” or “EBWs” as safe alternatives to the type of detonator described for use in the nuclear device design referred to in paragraph 33 above.

39. In 2008, Iran told the Agency that it had developed EBWs for civil and conventional military applications and had achieved a simultaneity of about one microsecond when firing two to three detonators together,37 and provided the Agency with a copy of a paper relating to EBW development work presented by two Iranian researchers at a conference held in Iran in 2005. A similar paper was published by the two researchers at an international conference later in 2005.38 Both papers indicate that suitable high voltage firing equipment had been acquired or developed by Iran. Also in 2008, Iran told the Agency that, before the period 2002–2004, it had already achieved EBW technology. Iran also provided the Agency with a short undated document in Farsi, understood to be the specifications for a detonator development programme, and a document from a foreign source showing an example of a civilian application in which detonators are fired simultaneously. However, Iran has not explained to the Agency its own need or application for such detonators.

40. The Agency recognizes that there exist non-nuclear applications, albeit few, for detonators like EBWs, and of equipment suitable for firing multiple detonators with a high level of simultaneity. Notwithstanding, given their possible application in a nuclear explosive device, and the fact that there are limited civilian and conventional military applications for such technology, Iran’s development of such detonators and equipment is a matter of concern, particularly in connection with the possible use of the multipoint initiation system referred to below.

C.6. Initiation of high explosives and associated experiments

41. Detonators provide point source initiation of explosives, generating a naturally diverging detonation wave. In an implosion type nuclear explosive device, an additional component, known as a multipoint initiation system, can be used to reshape the detonation wave into a converging smooth implosion to ensure uniform compression of the core fissile material to supercritical density.39

42. The Agency has shared with Iran information provided by a Member State which indicates that Iran has had access to information on the design concept of a multipoint initiation system that can be used to initiate effectively and simultaneously a high explosive charge over its surface.40 The Agency has been able to confirm independently that such a design concept exists and the country of origin of that design concept. Furthermore, the Agency has been informed by nuclear-weapon States that the specific multipoint initiation concept is used in some known nuclear explosive devices. In its 117 page submission to the Agency in May 2008, Iran stated that the subject was not understandable to Iran and that Iran had not conducted any activities of the type referred to in the document.

43. Information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. According to that information, during that experiment, the internal hemispherical curved surface of the high explosive charge was monitored using a large number of optical fibre cables, and the light output of the explosive upon detonation was recorded with a high speed streak camera. It should be noted that the dimensions of the initiation system and the explosives used with it were consistent with the dimensions for the new payload which, according to the alleged studies documentation, were given to the engineers who were studying how to integrate the new payload into the chamber of the Shahab 3 missile re-entry vehicle (Project 111) (see Section C.11 below). Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan.

44. The Agency has strong indications that the development by Iran of the high explosives initiation system, and its development of the high speed diagnostic configuration used to monitor related experiments, were assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable in these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career with this technology in the nuclear weapon programme of the country of his origin. The Agency has reviewed publications by this foreign expert and has met with him. The Agency has been able to verify through three separate routes, including the expert himself, that this person was in Iran from about 1996 to about 2002, ostensibly to assist Iran in the development of a facility and techniques for making ultra-dispersed diamonds (“UDDs” or “nanodiamonds”), where he also lectured on explosion physics and its applications.

45. Furthermore, the Agency has received information from two Member States that, after 2003, Iran engaged in experimental research involving a scaled down version of the hemispherical initiation system and high explosive charge referred to in paragraph 43 above, albeit in connection with non-nuclear applications. This work, together with other studies made known to the Agency in which the same initiation system is used in cylindrical geometry, could also be relevant to improving and optimizing the multipoint initiation design concept relevant to nuclear applications. 46. The Agency’s concern about the activities described in this Section derives from the fact that a multipoint initiation system, such as that described above, can be used in a nuclear explosive device. However, Iran has not been willing to engage in discussion of this topic with the Agency.

C.7. Hydrodynamic experiments

47. One necessary step in a nuclear weapon development programme is determining whether a theoretical design of an implosion device, the behaviour of which can be studied through computer simulations, will work in practice. To that end, high explosive tests referred to as “hydrodynamic experiments” are conducted in which fissile and nuclear components may be replaced with surrogate materials.41

48. Information which the Agency has been provided by Member States, some of which the Agency has been able to examine directly, indicates that Iran has manufactured simulated nuclear explosive components using high density materials such as tungsten. These components were said to have incorporated small central cavities suitable for the insertion of capsules such as those described in Section C.9 below. The end use of such components remains unclear, although they can be linked to other information received by the Agency concerning experiments involving the use of high speed diagnostic equipment, including flash X ray, to monitor the symmetry of the compressive shock of the simulated core of a nuclear device.

49. Other information which the Agency has been provided by Member States indicates that Iran constructed a large explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments. The explosives vessel, or chamber, is said to have been put in place at Parchin in 2000. A building was constructed at that time around a large cylindrical object at a location at the Parchin military complex. A large earth berm was subsequently constructed between the building containing the cylinder and a neighbouring building, indicating the probable use of high explosives in the chamber. The Agency has obtained commercial satellite images that are consistent with this information. From independent evidence, including a publication by the foreign expert referred to in paragraph 44 above, the Agency has been able to confirm the date of construction of the cylinder and some of its design features (such as its dimensions), and that it was designed to contain the detonation of up to 70 kilograms of high explosives, which would be suitable for carrying out the type of experiments described in paragraph 43 above.

50. As a result of information the Agency obtained from a Member State in the early 2000s alleging that Iran was conducting high explosive testing, possibly in association with nuclear materials, at the Parchin military complex, the Agency was permitted by Iran to visit the site twice in 2005. From satellite imagery available at that time, the Agency identified a number of areas of interest, none of which, however, included the location now believed to contain the building which houses the explosives chamber mentioned above; consequently, the Agency’s visits did not uncover anything of relevance.

51. Hydrodynamic experiments such as those described above, which involve high explosives in conjunction with nuclear material or nuclear material surrogates, are strong indicators of possible weapon development. In addition, the use of surrogate material, and/or confinement provided by a chamber of the type indicated above, could be used to prevent contamination of the site with nuclear material. It remains for Iran to explain the rationale behind these activities.

C.8. Modelling and calculations

52. Information provided to the Agency by two Member States relating to modelling studies alleged to have been conducted in 2008 and 2009 by Iran is of particular concern to the Agency. According to that information, the studies involved the modelling of spherical geometries, consisting of components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression, for their neutronic behaviour at high density, and a determination of the subsequent nuclear explosive yield. The information also identifies models said to have been used in those studies and the results of these calculations, which the Agency has seen. The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the Agency. It is therefore essential that Iran engage with the Agency and provide an explanation.

53. The Agency obtained information in 2005 from a Member State indicating that, in 1997, representatives from Iran had met with officials from an institute in a nuclear-weapon State to request training courses in the fields of neutron cross section calculations using computer codes employing Monte Carlo methodology, and shock wave interactions with metals. In a letter dated 14 May 2008, Iran advised the Agency that there was nothing to support this information. The Agency has also been provided with information by a Member State indicating that, in 2005, arrangements were made in Iran for setting up projects within SADAT centres (see Section C.1 and Attachment 1), inter alia, to establish a databank for “equation of state” information42 and a hydrodynamics calculation centre. The Agency has also been provided with information from a different Member State that, in 2005, a senior official in SADAT solicited assistance from Shahid Behesti University in connection with complex calculations relating to the state of criticality of a solid sphere of uranium being compressed by high explosives.

54. Research by the Agency into scientific literature published over the past decade has revealed that Iranian workers, in particular groups of researchers at Shahid Behesti University and Amir Kabir University, have published papers relating to the generation, measurement and modelling of neutron transport.43 The Agency has also found, through open source research, other Iranian publications which relate to the application of detonation shock dynamics to the modelling of detonation in high explosives, and the use of hydrodynamic codes in the modelling of jet formation with shaped (hollow) charges. Such studies are commonly used in reactor physics or conventional ordnance research44, but also have applications in the development of nuclear explosives.

C.9. Neutron initiator

55. The Agency has information from a Member State that Iran has undertaken work to manufacture small capsules suitable for use as containers of a component containing nuclear material. The Agency was also informed by a different Member State that Iran may also have experimented with such components in order to assess their performance in generating neutrons. Such components, if placed in the centre of a nuclear core of an implosion type nuclear device and compressed, could produce a burst of neutrons suitable for initiating a fission chain reaction. The location where the experiments were conducted was said to have been cleaned of contamination after the experiments had taken place. The design of the capsule, and the material associated with it, are consistent with the device design information which the clandestine nuclear supply network allegedly provided to Iran.

56. The Agency also has information from a Member State that work in this technical area may have continued in Iran after 2004, and that Iran embarked on a four year programme, from around 2006 onwards, on the further validation of the design of this neutron source, including through the use of a nonnuclear material to avoid contamination.

57. Given the importance of neutron generation and transport, and their effect on geometries containing fissile materials in the context of an implosion device, Iran needs to explain to the Agency its objectives and capabilities in this field.

C.10. Conducting a test

58. The Agency has information provided by a Member State that Iran may have planned and undertaken preparatory experimentation which would be useful were Iran to carry out a test of a nuclear explosive device. In particular, the Agency has information that Iran has conducted a number of practical tests to see whether its EBW firing equipment would function satisfactorily over long distances between a firing point and a test device located down a deep shaft. Additionally, among the alleged studies documentation provided by that Member State, is a document, in Farsi, which relates directly to the logistics and safety arrangements that would be necessary for conducting a nuclear test. The Agency has been informed by a different Member State that these arrangements directly reflect those which have been used in nuclear tests conducted by nuclear-weapon States.

C.11. Integration into a missile delivery vehicle

59. The alleged studies documentation contains extensive information regarding work which is alleged to have been conducted by Iran during the period 2002 to 2003 under what was known as Project 111. From that information, the project appears to have consisted of a structured and comprehensive programme of engineering studies to examine how to integrate a new spherical payload into the existing payload chamber which would be mounted in the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile.

60. According to that documentation, using a number of commercially available computer codes, Iran conducted computer modelling studies of at least 14 progressive design iterations of the payload chamber and its contents to examine how they would stand up to the various stresses that would be encountered on being launched and travelling on a ballistic trajectory to a target. It should be noted that the masses and dimensions of components identified in information provided to the Agency by Member States that Iran is alleged to have been developing (see paragraphs 43 and 48 above) correspond to those assessed to have been used in Project 111 engineering studies on the new payload chamber.

61. During these studies, prototype components were allegedly manufactured at workshops known to exist in Iran but which Iran refused the Agency permission to visit. The six engineering groups said to have worked under Project 111 produced many technical reports, which comprise a substantial part of the alleged studies documentation. The Agency has studied these reports extensively and finds that they are both internally consistent and consistent with other supporting information related to Project 111.

62. The alleged studies documentation also shows that, as part of the activities undertaken within Project 111, consideration was being given to subjecting the prototype payload and its chamber to engineering stress tests to see how well they would stand up in practice to simulated launch and flight stresses (so-called “environmental testing”). This work would have complemented the engineering modelling simulation studies referred to in paragraph 60 above. According to the information reflected in the alleged studies documentation, within Project 111, some, albeit limited, preparations were also being undertaken to enable the assembly of manufactured components.

63. Iran has denied conducting the engineering studies, claiming that the documentation which the Agency has is in electronic format and so could have been manipulated, and that it would have been easy to fabricate.45 However, the quantity of the documentation, and the scope and contents of the work covered in the documentation, are sufficiently comprehensive and complex that, in the Agency’s view, it is not likely to have been the result of forgery or fabrication. While the activities described as those of Project 111 may be relevant to the development of a non-nuclear payload, they are highly relevant to a nuclear weapon programme.

C.12. Fuzing, arming and firing system

64. The alleged studies documentation indicates that, as part of the studies carried out by the engineering groups under Project 111 to integrate the new payload into the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile, additional work was conducted on the development of a prototype firing system that would enable the payload to explode both in the air above a target, or upon impact of the re-entry vehicle with the ground. Iran was shown this information, which, in its 117 page submission (referred to above in paragraph 8), it dismissed as being “an animation game”.

65. The Agency, in conjunction with experts from Member States other than those which had provided the information in question, carried out an assessment of the possible nature of the new payload. As a result of that assessment, it was concluded that any payload option other than nuclear which could also be expected to have an airburst option (such as chemical weapons) could be ruled out. Iran was asked to comment on this assessment and agreed in the course of a meeting with the Agency which took place in Tehran in May 2008 that, if the information upon which it was based were true, it would constitute a programme for the development of a nuclear weapon. Attachment 2 to this Annex reproduces the results of the Agency’s assessment as it was presented by the Secretariat to the Member States in the technical briefing which took place in February 2008.

Attachment 1: List of Departments, Projects and Centres
Attachment 2: Analysis of Payload

1 GOV/2003/40, para. 3.
2 GOV/2003/40, para. 32; GOV/2003/75, para. 48; GOV/2004/83, paras 85–86; GOV/2005/67, para. 4.
3 GOV/2003/75, Annex 1; GOV/2004/83, paras 85–86.
4 GOV/2003/75, paras 13 and 15.
5 GOV/2003/40, para. 6. Iran stopped implementing the modified Code 3.1 in March 2007 (GOV/2007/22, para. 12).
6 GOV/2003/75, para. 18. The Additional Protocol was approved by the Board of Governors on 21 November 2003, and signed on behalf of Iran and the Agency on 18 December 2003 (GOV/2004/11, para. 5). In February 2006, Iran notified the Agency that it would no longer implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol (GOV/2006/15, para. 31).
7 GOV/2004/11, para. 37.
8 Iran has stated that the intermediaries offered the reconversion unit with casting equipment on their own initiative, not at the request of the AEOI. Iran also stated that it did not receive the reconversion unit (GOV/2005/67, para. 14).
9 GOV/2005/87, para. 6; GOV/2007/58, para. 25. Pakistan confirmed, in response to an Agency inquiry, that an identical document existed in Pakistan (GOV/2008/15, para. 24).
10 GOV/2006/15, para. 38.
11 GOV/2007/58, paras 18, 23, 25; GOV/2008/4, paras 11, 18, 24, 34.
12 GOV/2008/15, paras 14–15, 25.
13 GOV/2008/15, para. 16.
14 GOV/2008/38, para. 15.
15 GOV/2010/62, paras 34–35.
16 GOV/2008/38, para. 11.
17 GOV/2009/74, paras 7–17.
18 GOV/2010/10, para. 31; GOV/2010/28, para. 31; GOV/2010/46, para. 31.
19 GOV/2010/10, para. 33. In August 2010, Iran informed the Agency that the construction of one of these facilities was to start at the end of the current Iranian year (March 2011) or the beginning of the next year (GOV/2010/46, para. 33).
20 GOV/2010/46, para. 18.
21 GOV/2011/54, para. 43.
22 Further specific examples are described below in Section C of this Annex.
23 Nevertheless, there are, and have been in the past, activities in Iran relevant to the production of plutonium.
24 GOV/2004/83; GOV/2003/75, Annex 1.
25 At which time, according to Iran, the centre was changed to the Biological Studies Centre. Iran also stated that, in 2002, the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) was also located at that site, and that, although some of the biological activities continued there, the main objective was to use the capabilities of universities in Iran (in particular at the Malek Ashtar University near Esfahan) for the education and R&D needs of the Ministry of Defence (GOV/2004/83, paras 100–101).
26 According to Iran, the site was cleared in 2003/2004 in order to return the land to the local municipality (GOV/2004/60, paras 42–46; GOV/2004/83, paras 96–105).
27 Possibly so named because one of the locations used by the AMAD Plan was on Orchid Street in Tehran.
28 The information indicates that SADAT consisted of at least seven centres, each responsible for carrying out specific R&D work. The activities were established as overt work applicable to conventional military activities, some with possible nuclear applications. The work in the SADAT Centres drew on resources at Iranian universities which had laboratories available to them and students to do the research.
29 The information indicates that, in his new role, Mr Fakhrizadeh merged the SADAT Centres into complexes within MUT, known as “Pardis Tehran”.
30 Known from its Farsi initials as “SPND”.
31 GOV/2008/4, para. 32; GOV/2006/15, para. 39.
32 GOV/2008/4, para. 40.
33 GOV/2008/15, para. 24.
34 GOV/2008/38, para. 21.
35 The same network was also the source of an unsolicited offer to Iraq in 1990 for the provision of information dealing with centrifuge enrichment and nuclear weapon manufacturing (GOV/INF/1998/6, Section B.3).
36 GOV/2004/11, para. 77; GOV/2004/12, paras 30–32.
37 GOV/2008/15, para. 20.
38 The authors of the papers have affiliations to Malek Ashtar University and the Air Defence Industries Group of Tehran.
39 “Supercritical” density is one at which fissionable material is able to sustain a chain reaction in such a manner that the rate of reaction increases.
40 GOV/2008/15, Annex, Section A.2, Document 3.
41 Hydrodynamic experiments can be designed to simulate the first stages of a nuclear explosion. In such experiments, conventional high explosives are detonated to study the effects of the explosion on specific materials. The term “hydrodynamic” is used because material is compressed and heated with such intensity that it begins to flow and mix like a fluid, and “hydrodynamic equations” are used to describe the behaviour of fluids.
42 An “equation of state” is a thermodynamic equation describing the state of matter under a given set of physical conditions (such as temperature, pressure, volume or internal energy).
43 The modelling of neutron transport refers to the study of the motions and interactions of neutrons with materials which are used to see where they are and in what direction and at what speed they are going.
44 For example, the shaped (hollow) charge studies said by Member States to have been carried out by the Centre for Research and Development of Explosion and Shock Technology, also known as “METFAZ”, have conventional military applications (such as for developing armour piercing projectiles), but can also be used to develop computer codes which can then be adapted to model nuclear explosives.
45 GOV/2008/15, para. 22.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list