In the final step before removing sanctions, Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), gave a report to the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, summarizing a 12 year study. Iran has always denied having a nuclear weapons program but the report concluded that until 2003, they did have an extensive program to develop nuclear weapons, which continued to a lesser extent until 2009. This was in direct violation of international law. The Board of Governors voted to close the issue and the report was received as a victory by Iran, since the conclusion of the report in no way impedes the removal of sanctions against Iran.
Iranian media quoted Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who lauded the IAEA findings, saying it proved their claims that the program was peaceful.
“This resolution goes far beyond closing the issue of so-called PMD (Possible Military Dimension) and cancels the 12 previous resolutions of the council of governors of the IAEA which seriously restricted our country’s nuclear program.”
This follows a recent test of a medium-range ballistic missile that violated a UN resolution. No repercussions related to the test have been reported.
Despite these violations, sanctions against Iran are on schedule to be lifted next month and Iran will be able to continue its nuclear program, after adhering to certain conditions.
Iran must finish re-purposing its plutonium reactor in Arak, and make accommodations for access to their other nuclear facilities. They must also reduce their stockpiles of nuclear material, a point they have been in violation of in the past by as much as 20%.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry responded to the report with optimism.
“(The report) is consistent with what the United States had long assessed concerning Iran’s past nuclear program,” Kerry said. “This resolution allows the Board to turn its focus now to the full implementation and verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which prohibits the resumption of such nuclear weapons-related activities and provides comprehensive tools for deterring and detecting any renewed nuclear weapons work.”