The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Wednesday that Iran had an active program to develop a nuclear weapon until the end of 2003, and it said some uncoordinated activities continued until as late as 2009.
“The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009,” the IAEA said in a report.
The report will be presented to the IAEA board on Dec. 15 to determine whether it adequately deals with all outstanding questions about the prior program. Completion of the report is a requirement of the Iran nuclear agreement reached this year, although the accord does not specify any particularly outcome of the agency’s investigation beyond assessing “ambiguities” about past nuclear efforts.
The State Department has forwarded the report to Congress, spokesman Mark Toner said. He noted that the IAEA assessment was “consistent” with a National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 that Iran had stopped its nuclear program in 2003.
The report, which has not been officially released, provided ammunition for all sides in the Iran nuclear debate.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that it closed the books on the entire issue of what are known as “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s prior nuclear activities.
“Therefore, all measures over the past issues have been completely concluded and PMD has been left behind,” Araghchi said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency, which posted the text of the report on its Web site.
The U.S.-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, which uncovered some of the initial information about Iran’s nuclear program more than a decade ago, said that the report “clearly affirms that not all information [the IAEA] was seeking was made available by Tehran.”
Since Iran has said that it never pursued nuclear weapons, the council said, the report makes “palpably clear that the Iranian regime has no intention of coming clean regarding the nature of its program, thus proving Tehran’s intent to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, including the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for Iran’s sharp curtailment of what it says are energy-related nuclear enrichment and other steps, will not begin until the IAEA certifies that Iran has complied with preliminary requirements.
The report, which lists outstanding questions and the extent to which they were answered during the past several months of exchanges with Iran, concluded in many cases that no indications of undeclared nuclear activity were discovered.
Although it found no evidence of current activities, it said that it could not conclusively answer questions about the past.
At the Parchin military installation, where the Iranians allegedly prepared an “explosives firing chamber” in 2000, the IAEA said that a visit to the facility confirmed that the chamber no longer exists.
But it said that “extensive activities” undertaken by Iran at the installation in recent years, including destruction of buildings and landscaping, “seriously undermined” the agency’s ability to determine what existed there before.
The report also said that Iran “conducted computer modeling of a nuclear explosive devise prior to 2004 and 2009” but added that the calculations were “incomplete and fragmented.”