facilities in August 2002 (the enrichment facility at Natanz and the Heavy Water Production Plant at Arak), the IAEA has sought to obtain a better understanding of all Iran’s past and current nuclear activities. It has also called on Iran to accept additional safeguards obligations and urged it, as a confidence-building measure, to suspend some of its activities.
As regards the chemical weapons programme launched during the Iran/Iraq War, Iran has subsequently signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (in 1993 and 1997 respectively). Although Iran did not meet the declaration timetable specified by the Convention, it did later declare two former chemical weapons production facilities. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has since verified that this production capability has been eliminated.
As with other cases we have reviewed, we have observed in the case of Iran that British policy is to promote the effective use of international processes. Hence Britain, with France and Germany, played an important role in October 2003 in persuading Iran to respond to the IAEA Board of Governors’ calls on Iran to make a full declaration about its past and current activities, to commit itself to signing an Additional Protocol (and to apply its provisions while moving to ratification), and to suspend all enrichment-related and any reprocessing activities.
There are also clearly outstanding issues about Iran’s activities. Iran has signed an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement and is making additional declarations to the IAEA as a result, but has still not ratified it. Furthermore, negotiations with Iran over the scope and verification of the activities to be suspended have been difficult. Most recently, Iran has decided to resume manufacturing of components and assembly of centrifuge machines under IAEA supervision, having earlier decided voluntarily to suspend them.
2.5 NORTH KOREA
We have focused mainly on the threat that North Korea poses as a proliferator. However, to put North Korean exports in context, we have kept in mind that North Korea itself could pose a nuclear threat not just to its neighbours but increasingly on a global scale. Agreements reached in the 1990s to suspend North Korean plutonium production in return for economic aid recently broke down when the North Koreans, confronted by the US, admitted that they had also embarked on a secret programme to enrich uranium.
In December 2002, under pressure to abandon this programme, North Korea expelled the IAEA inspectors who had been monitoring their suspended plutonium production facilities, and soon after announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The North Koreans probably have enough plutonium from their previous programme to make at least one nuclear weapon. Reprocessing their spent fuel stocks could produce plutonium for still more weapons. Their uranium enrichment programme