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Nuclear Nonproliferation

Understanding the U.S. Compliance Certification and Why It Matters to the Iran Nuclear Deal

Under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), the president must issue a certification to Congress every 90 days that is tied to Iran’s performance under the multilateral nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Failure to issue the certification gives Congress the option to introduce legislation reimposing U.S. sanctions waived or suspended under the JCPOA on an expedited schedule. Since taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump issued certifications, albeit reluctantly, as required by INARA on April 18 and July 17. However, it appears increasingly...

Don’t Abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal

September 2017
By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director

Although his administration is already struggling with one major nonproliferation challenge—North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile capabilities—President Donald Trump soon may initiate steps that could unravel the highly successful 2015 Iran nuclear deal, thereby creating a second major nonproliferation crisis.

Blowing up the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers and the European Union, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, would be irrational and counterproductive, but it can be prevented.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the two top members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, attend a hearing on July 29, 2014, on the nuclear talks with Iran. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)If Trump backs out of the accord and tries to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions absent clear evidence of Iranian violations, the United States would be blamed, international support for new sanctions would be soft or non-existent, and Iran could choose to exceed the limits set by the deal.

Members of Congress and parties to the agreement can and should be prepared to head off such an outcome, which could unfold in one of two ways.

First, Trump is clearly pushing his advisers to find a reason to deny certification that Iran is in compliance with the agreement under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. Under that law, the administration must certify every 90 days that Iran is fully implementing the nuclear deal and that suspension of sanctions is “appropriate and proportionate” to the measures taken by Iran. Failure to issue the certification would open the door for Congress, under expedited procedures, to introduce legislation to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran.

In July, Trump said that “if it was up to me, I should have had [Iran] noncompliant 180 days ago.” He said he would be “surprised” if Iran was in compliance at the next certification deadline in mid-October.

Thus far, however, reporting from the U.S. intelligence community, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the other parties to the agreement make it clear that Iran is meeting its many commitments. But given that the certification involves subjective judgments outside the four corners of the nuclear deal, Trump may choose, for political reasons, not to make the certification.

Before enabling any Trump move to undermine the nuclear deal by advancing legislation to reimpose sanctions, Congress must demand to see the evidence behind any allegation of Iranian noncompliance, consider whether the intelligence community concurs, and, if there is a true compliance dispute, call on the White House to use the eight-member body known as the Joint Commission to exhaust all options to resolve the matter quickly.

If Trump cannot produce solid evidence of an Iranian violation, Congress does not have to and should not vote to reimpose nuclear sanctions.

Even if Congress takes the bait, the other parties should continue to abide by their commitments under the agreement. On Aug. 27, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said if Washington withdraws but the five other parties remain committed, Tehran would remain committed. European entities, which would be subject to secondary U.S. sanctions, can and should take precautions to insulate their commercial and financial dealings from such U.S. penalties.

Second, the United States is pressing the IAEA to demand inspections at sensitive sites in the hope of provoking a refusal that would justify a finding of noncompliance. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is already insinuating that because the IAEA has not inspected “numerous undeclared sites,” we cannot be sure Iran is not already violating the agreement.

Under the agreement, the IAEA can request access to any site if there is a specific concern about illicit or undeclared materials and activities. If the IAEA requests information or access and remains unsatisfied with Iran’s response, five of the eight members of the Joint Commission can vote on actions to resolve the concern, including authorizing access that Iran would be required to provide.

It is essential that the IAEA continue to be vigilant, and Iran should cooperate fully with all IAEA requests for information and access in a timely manner. But given Trump’s stated opposition to the agreement, the new push by Washington for the agency to seek access to undeclared sites should be treated with special caution.

The Iran nuclear deal is a clear net plus for U.S. and global security. It has dramatically reduced the proliferation risk posed by Iran’s nuclear program and mandates unprecedented monitoring and transparency measures to deter and promptly detect any violation. It promises to block Iran’s pathways to development of nuclear weapons for a decade or more. There is no realistic option for scrapping the agreement and negotiating a “better deal.”

The smarter approach would be to continue to implement and vigorously enforce the multilateral nuclear deal and seek to build global support for the widespread adoption of its most innovative verification and nonproliferation measures.

The monthly “Focus” editorials from Arms Control Today are available for reprint on a non-exclusive basis
with permission from the Arms Control Association and link to the original publication online.


If Trump cannot produce solid evidence of an Iranian violation, Congress does not have to and should not vote to reimpose nuclear sanctions.

Nuclear Security Summit at a Glance

August 2017

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: August 2017

The nuclear security summit initiative was announced in an April 2009 speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, in which he pledged to hold a global summit on nuclear security in 2010 as part of an effort to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The broad goal of the summit process is to address the threat of nuclear terrorism by minimizing and securing weapons-usable civilian nuclear materials, enhancing international cooperation to prevent the illicit acquisition of nuclear material by non-state actors such as terrorist groups and smugglers, and taking steps to strengthen the global nuclear security system. The nuclear security summit focus remained on nuclear material in the civil sphere and did not address the security of military nuclear material.

There were four summits in total: in Washington, D.C. in 2010, Seoul, South Korea in 2012, the Hague, Netherlands in 2014 and Washington, D.C. again in 2016.

Each summit produced a consensus communiqué that reaffirmed the broad goals of the summit process and encouraged states to take actions, such as ratifying key treaties or minimizing stockpiles of weapons-usable materials. These voluntary, caveated recommendations were enhanced by individual state-specific commitments made at each summit. These pledges, known as “house gifts,” included actions such as repatriating weapons-usable materials, holding trainings for nuclear security personnel, updating national laws and regulations, and taking steps to combat illicit trafficking. At each subsequent summit, states reported on the progress made toward fulfilling these commitments. All 53 participating states made national pledges at at least one summit.

Beginning at the 2012 summit in Seoul, groups of countries offered multinational commitments, known as “gift baskets” that targeted key areas of nuclear security. In 2012, 13 joint statements were offered. That number increased to 14 in 2014, with some gift baskets building off of 2012 statements and others targeting new areas. In 2016, states produced 21 gift baskets.

Of the 53 countries to participate in the 2012 summit, 48 participated in at least one joint statement in 2012.

At the last summit in 2016, countries agreed to five action plans for international organizations to take forward the work of the summits beyond their conclusion. 

Nuclear Security Summits Quick Links
Washington, 2010 Seoul, 2012Hague, 2014 Washington, 2016


Washington 2010

The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C. from April 12-13, 2010. Forty-seven national delegations as well as the heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union attended. With 38 of the 47 participating countries represented at the head of state or head of government level, the gathering was the largest of its kind hosted by a U.S. President since 1945.

The summit produced the first of four communiqués, the summit’s only work plan, and the first national commitments or house gifts.


  • Recognizes that highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium require special precautions and encourages the conversion of reactors from HEU to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and minimization of use of HEU, where feasible.
  • Reaffirms the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise to carry out its activities.
  • Recognizes the continuing role of nuclear industry in nuclear security.
  • Supports the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of States to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technology and will facilitate international cooperation in the field of nuclear security.

Washington Work Plan 

The Work Plan lays out the specific steps for realizing the goals of the Communiqué, including ratification and implementation of international treaties; support for Security Council Resolution 1540; conversion of civilian facilities from HEU to non-weapons-useable materials; research on new nuclear fuels; detection methods and forensic technologies; development of corporate and institutional cultures that prioritize nuclear security; education and training; and joint exercises among law enforcement and customs officials to enhance nuclear detection opportunities.

Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)

Thirty countries announced 67 specific measures they planned to implement to support the goals of the summit. Prior to the 2012 Seoul summit, approximately 80 percent of these commitments were completed. For an accounting of the implementation of the 2010 national commitments, see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of National Commitments, March 2012.

Some of the national commitments include:

  1. Belgium, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom will convert a HEU research reactor to LEU.
  2. Canada will return a large amount of spent HEU fuel from their medical isotope production reactor to the United States and fund HEU removals from Mexico and Vietnam.
  3. Kazakhstan, Mexico and Ukraine will eliminate remaining HEU. Ukraine committed to eliminate half of its HEU by the year’s end.
  4. Norway will contribute $3.3 million over the next four years to the IAEA nuclear security fund.
  5. Russia committed to sign the Plutonium Disposition protocol to  end plutonium production and to contribute to IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund.

See a full list of national commitments here.

  Seoul 2012

From March 26-27, 2012, 53 heads of state along with representatives from the UN, IAEA, EU and INTERPOL gathered for the second nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea. Participating countries included the 47 countries that attended the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit plus Azerbaijan, Denmark, Gabon, Hungary, Lithuania, and Romania.

The scope of the 2012 agenda was expanded to include discussions on the security of radiological sources and the interface between nuclear security and safety, a concern highlighted by the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

In additional to the consensus communiqué and national commitments, or house gifts, states also introduced joint proposals, or gift baskets for the first time in 2012. All states also submitted voluntary progress reports on their national commitments from 2010.


  • Reaffirms the fundamental responsibility of States to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, including through the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT); reiterates broader participation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction; continued support of UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1977.
  • Encourages States to minimize the use of HEU, where feasible, and to convert reactors from HEU to LEU fuel; urges states to secure nuclear materials and radioactive materials through proper transportation, accounting, consolidation and storage practices; emphasizes the need to develop national capabilities to combat illicit nuclear trafficking through utilizing nuclear forensics, investing in the promotion of a strong nuclear security culture, and preventing non-state actors from obtaining sensitive information.
  • Encourages efforts to control radioactive material, including through IAEA measures such as the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and the Guidance on the Import and Expert of Radioactive Sources.
  • Urges states in a position to do so to accelerate their domestic approval of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM, seeking to bring the Amendment into force by 2014
  • Encourages states in a position to do so, by the end of 2013, to announce voluntary specific actions intended to minimize the use of HEU.

Selected Accomplishments

  1. Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam joined the GINCT.
  2. Czech Republic, Mexico, Vietnam converted their research reactors using HEU fuel to LEU fuel.
  3. Ukraine completed the removal of all HEU stockpiles.
  4. Kazakhstan secured spent nuclear fuel, which contained enough HEU and plutonium to make several hundred nuclear weapons by moving them to a new long-term storage facility.
  5. Russia and the United States down-blended HEU equivalent to around 3,000 nuclear weapons to LEU. 

Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)

  1. Armenia, Brazil, Canada, France, Georgia, Italy, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Vietnam committed to ratify the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM.
  2. Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria will establish nuclear security support centers.
  3. Italy will repatriate excess HEU and plutonium to the U.S. by the 2014 summit.
  4. Pakistan will open Nuclear Security Training Centers to act as a regional and international hub and deploy Special Nuclear Material Portals on key exit and entry points to counter the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.
  5. Singapore committed to establish a national nuclear forensics laboratory by 2013.

Joint Commitments (Gift Baskets)

  1. Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States committed to continue to cooperate to secure the former Semipalatinsk test site.
  2. Indonesia and 17 others agreed to draw up a National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security to help states align domestic laws with international treaties and regulations that address nuclear security. 
  3. Twenty-three states collaborated to develop International Network for Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres (NSSCs) to develop highly trained nuclear security personnel, and provide technical and scientific support for nuclear security technical systems and to detect nuclear security events. 
  4. France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to hold working group meetings, the first one in 2013, to address nuclear transport security issues. 
  5. Chile, Nigeria, Morocco, Poland, Republic of Korea, Thailand and the United States hosted regional outreach meetings to discuss nuclear security challenges and promote the continuation of outreach efforts. 
  6. Russia and the United States explained the contributions of the GICNT to nuclear security, including through the creation of the Nuclear Detection Working Group, chaired by the Netherlands. 
  7. Canada, Mexico and the United States announced a collaborative effort to convert Mexico’s research reactor from HEU to LEU. 
  8. Belgium, France, the Republic of Korea and the United States declared a joint project to use high-density LEU fuel production technology to convert research reactors from HEU to LEU. 
  9. Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands reaffirmed their commitment to convert “production industries to non-HEU-based processes by 2015, subject to regulatory approvals” and the United States agreed to supply those countries with HEU target material for the “uninterrupted production of medical isotopes... while achieving the goal of HEU minimalization.”
  10. Nineteen states pledged to build national capacities to counter nuclear smuggling, to pass new laws against nuclear smuggling by the 2014 summit, to share information on nuclear smuggling with partner countries and to make resources available for counter smuggling projects. 
  11. Germany and 24 other states described the threat posed by radioactive material and encouraged states to ratify or accede to the ICSANT and establish national registers of high-activity radioactive sources. 
  12. Thirty-one states committed to enhance nuclear information security, including by conducting national assurance exercises, and developing government processes to control the export of nuclear information. 
  13. France, the United States and the United Kingdom committed to“strengthen worldwide preparedness to contend with the threat of nuclear terrorism.” 

For a report on progress on these commitments, see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Progress Report, July 2013.

The Hague 2014

On March 24-25, 2014, all 53 countries and four international organizations who met in 2012 reconvened for the third nuclear security summit in the Hague, Netherlands.

The Netherlands laid out several goals for the summit, including; reducing stockpiles of nuclear materials, improving the security of nuclear and radioactive sources, increasing coordination with the nuclear industry, and improving international cooperation.

Leaders also participated in a scenario-based policy exercise, during which they had the opportunity to think through responses to a radioactive device, and held a discussion on the future of the summit process.


  • Identifies a range of voluntary measures States may consider taking to show that they have established effective security of their nuclear materials and facilities while protecting sensitive information. Such measures include exchanging good practices, inviting IAEA review and advisory services and following through on recommendations, further developing training of personnel involved in nuclear security.
  • Supports a more intensive dialogue between operators and government bodies, including the national regulator, which should be functionally independent, with a view to improving nuclear security regulations and regulatory effectiveness.
  • Encourages states to take effective risk mitigation measures to ensure that the systems and networks of nuclear facilities are appropriately secured from cyber attack.

Selected Accomplishments

  1. Belgium, Canada, and France completed steps necessary to ratify the 2005 amendment to the CPPNM.
  2. Germany hosted the Wiesabaden Conference in 2012 and 2013 to strengthen the partnership between government and industry. In 2013, the conference focused on UNSCR 1540 implementation.
  3. Italy returned 20 kilograms of HEU and plutonium in coordination with the IAEA and the United Kingdom. 
  4. The United Arab Emirates signed an Integrated master Working Plan with the IAEA to enhance the partnership between the IAEA and the UAE.
  5. The United States and Russia successfully completed the HEU Purchase Agreement under which 500 metric tons of Russian weapons-origin HEU- the equivalent for approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads - was converted into LEU and used in U.S. power reactors to produce 10 percent of all U.S. electricity during the past 15 years.

Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)

  1. Belgium, Italy and Japan made commitments to remove excess HEU and plutonium.
  2. Denmark committed an additional 8 million Danish Krona (about $1.3 million) to the IAEA.
  3. Finland committed to host the next plenary meeting of the GICNT.
  4. Hungary will host an event of the GICNT on nuclear forensics libraries in the fall of 2014 in Budapest.
  5. Poland committed to eliminate the last of its HEU from its territory by 2016.

Joint Statements (Gift Baskets)

The gift baskets from the 2014 summit built on several of the subjects from the 2012 summit. The new gift baskets to the 2014 summit are listed below.

  1. Twelve states marked the elimination of HEU from their borders. 
  2. The Netherlands headed a new gift basket on nuclear forensics, including a platform for sharing best practices in the event of a nuclear or radiological incident. 
  3. Thirty-two states reiterated their support for the full and universal implementation of UNSCR 1540 and agreed to consider hosting regional capacity building events to support UNSCR 1540. 
  4. Thirteen states agreed to participate in a workshop by the next nuclear security summit to detect and remove nuclear and radiological materials that are out of regulatory control from the global supply chain. 
  5. The United States, South Korea, and the Netherlands led a joint statement supported by 32 additional states that committed participants to meet the intent of IAEA recommendations for nuclear security and take further steps to provide assurance of sound nuclear security practices. 

For more information on these commitments see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Assessment of Joint Statements, March 2014.

For a report on progress on these commitments see: The Nuclear Security Summit: Progress Report on Joint Statements, March 2015.

Washington 2016

The fourth and final summit took place in Washington, D.C. from March 31-April 1, 2016. Of the 53 states and four international organizations that attended the 2012 and 2014 summits, all attended except Russia.

For more information, see The Nuclear Security Summit: Accomplishments of the Process, March 2016. 


  • Welcomes the imminent entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the CPPNM and Facilities and encourage further ratifications.
  • Seeks to maintain the international network of officials and government experts who have supported the Summit process and to incorporate the broader community of States, as well as encourage the continued engagement of relevant partners in nuclear industry and civil society.
  • Resolves to implement the attached Action Plans, in support of the international organizations and initiatives to which we respectively belong (the United Nations, the IAEA, INTERPOL, the GICNT, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction), to be carried out on a voluntary basis and consistent with national laws and respective international obligations.

Selected Accomplishments

  1. The 2005 amendment to the CPPNM received the necessary ratifications to enter into force. 
  2. China converted a research reactor from HEU to LEU in March 2016.
  3. Egypt held training courses on the security of research reactors and associated facilities.
  4. Georgia:  With the support of the IAEA, adopted an Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan through 2019.
  5. New Zealand enacted the Radiation Safety Act (2016) to better address the safety of nuclear and radioactive material. 

Selected National Commitments (House Gifts)

  1. Argentina committed to eliminate its HEU, making Latin America and the Caribbean the first regional HEU-free region.
  2. Egypt committed $10 million to establish a nuclear counterterrorism center at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
  3. Lithuania committed to welcome the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service Mission (IPPAS) in 2017.
  4. Morocco agreed to establish the “Moroccan Agency for Safety and Security in Nuclear and Radiological Fields.”
  5. South Africa committed to finalize the establishment of a nuclear forensics facility. 

Joint Statements (Gift Baskets)

Gift Baskets continued to build on proposals from previous years. For a complete list of 2016 Gift Baskets, see here. Proposals unique to 2016 are listed below.

  1. Seventeen states developed a “Consolidated National Nuclear Security Report” as a suggested reporting template. 
  2. Twenty-nine states agreed to participate in two workshops on cyber security in 2016. 
  3. Twenty-seven states agreed to establish national measure to mitigate insider threats in nuclear and radiological security programs. 
  4. Eighteen states noted the progress on towards establishing an IAEA LEU Bank with Kazakhstan and looked forward to its full-scale implementation.
  5. Twenty-three states committed to improve national detection practices to combat the trafficking of nuclear materials. 
  6. Forty states agreed to establish a Nuclear Security Contact Group and to designate an official to participate in the contact group in order to sustain activity on nuclear security after the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. 

Action plans

The final nuclear security summit established five action plans for international organizations to take forward the work of the summits.

  1. United Nations Action Plan 
  2. IAEA Action Plan 
  3. International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) Action Plan 
  4. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) Action Plan 
  5. Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction Action Plan 
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UN Security Council Resolutions on Iran

August 2017

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: August 2017

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted seven resolutions as part of international efforts to address Iran’s nuclear program, although only one is in effect today. When Iran and the P5+1 reached a comprehensive nuclear deal on July 14, 2015, the UN Security Council endorsed the deal and put in place measures to lift UN sanctions that targeted Iran's nuclear program. The resolution, 2231,retained some restrictions on ballistic missile activities and arms sales. It was passed on July 20, 2015 by a unanimous vote.

The central demand in the first six resolutions was that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program, as well as undertake several confidence-building measures outlined in a February 2006 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolution - including reconsidering the construction of its heavy-water reactor and ratifying the IAEA Additional Protocol. The council initially laid out these calls in a nonbinding Security Council presidential statement adopted in March 2006. (See ACT, April 2006.)

Almost all the resolutions were adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, making most of the provisions of the resolutions legally binding on Iran, or all UN member states. Four of them included a series of progressively expansive sanctions on Iran and or Iranian persons and entities. The sanctions represented one track in a “dual-track approach” pursued by the permanent five members of the council and Germany (the so-called P5+1), to address Iran’s nuclear program. The other track involved a series of proposals to reach a negotiated settlement. (See History of Proposals on the Iranian Nuclear Issue.) Details on the first six resolutions can be found below the information for Resolution 2231.

UN Security Council Resolutions Quick Links

Resolution 1696 (2006)

Resolution 1737 (2006)

Resolution 1747 (2007)

Resolution 1803 (2008)

Resolution 1835 (2008)

Resolution 1929 (2010)

Resolution 2231 (2015)

Security Council Resolution 2231

On July 20, 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2231. 

The full text of Resolution 2231 is available here. 

Resolution 2231's Principal Provisions

This resolution endorsed the comprehensive nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) reached between Iran and the P5+1 on July 14, 2015, and laid the groundwork for the Security Council to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran when Tehran completed key steps under the deal that restricted its nuclear activities. Iran met the requirements in January 16, 2016.

Resolution 2231 retains the arms embargo on Iran for five years after implementation and the sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program for eight years. Both could be lifted earlier if the IAEA reaches a determination about Iran’s nuclear program known as the Broader Conclusion. These sanctions are "nuclear-related" as they were put in place under Resolution 1929. Iran is also “called upon” not to undertake activities on ballistic missiles designed to be nuclear-capable.

The resolution requests that if states engage in the sale of dual-use materials to Iran, they use the procurement channel application process set up by the JCPOA to regulate Iran's imports of these materials.

Resolution 2231 also requests that the IAEA undertake the necessary monitoring and verification to implement the deal.

Resolution 2231's Monitoring Mechanisms

The resolution also puts in place language laying out the procedure to reimpose UN sanctions.

The Security Council resolution requests reports from the IAEA on implementation of the deal and the agency's efforts to reach a broader conclusion about Iran's nuclear program. The Resolution also requests reports every six months from the UN Secretary General on implementation of Resolution 2231. 

Prior UN Security Council Resolutions

Security Council Resolution 1696

On July 31, 2006, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1696 under Article 40 of the UN Charter. Fourteen countries voted in favor of the resolution; only Qatar voted against it.

The full text of Resolution 1696 is available here.

Resolution 1696’s Principal Provisions

In Resolution 1696, the council called on Tehran to suspend its enrichment program and verify its compliance with the IAEA Board of Governor’s requirements. It encouraged Iran to take these steps as confidence building measures.

The resolution expressed the council’s “intention…to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations” if Iran did not cooperate. However, such measures would not be adopted automatically. The resolution underlined that the council must undertake “further decisions…should such additional measures be necessary.”

The first Security Council resolution to address the Iranian nuclear program, Resolution 1696 did not contain sanctions, but was the basis for future sanctions resolutions Specifically it:

  • Demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA.
  • Called on states to follow their existing domestic law and international law to “exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, good and technology that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programmes.”

The resolution warned Iran that its failure to comply by August 31, 2006 could result in punitive Security Council measures, such as economic sanctions.

Resolution 1696’s Monitoring Mechanisms

The resolution called for a report from the Director General of the IAEA by August 31 on Iran’s compliance with this resolution.

Security Council Resolution 1737

On December 23, 2006, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1737 unanimously under Article 41 of the UN Charter in response to Iran’s failure to comply with Resolution 1696.

The full text of Resolution 1737 is available here.

Resolution 1737’s Principal Provisions

The resolution echoed the principal provisions of Resolution 1696, requiring Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, and to take other confidence-building measures. In addition, Resolution 1737:

  • Obligated Iran to suspend work on its heavy-water reactor projects rather than just reconsider them.
  • Called on Iran to ratify the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.

Resolution 1737’s Sanctions

The resolution imposed sanctions against both the state of Iran and Iranian individuals and entities deemed to be providing support for Iran’s proliferation-related activities.

Resolution 1737 decided that all states should:

  • Prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of designated nuclear and ballistic missile-related goods to Iran to ensure that Iran cannot employ the designated goods in its enrichment-related, reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities, or its development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.
  • Refrain from providing technical or financial assistance, training, or resources related to certain nuclear and ballistic missile-related goods.
  • Refrain from importing designated nuclear and ballistic missile-related items from Iran.

Three provisions in Resolution 1737 targeted Iranian individuals and entities by calling on states to:

  • Exercise vigilance regarding the entry into their territory of individuals engaged in Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile activities.
  • Freeze the funds, financial assets, and economic resources of designated individuals who are involved with Iran’s nuclear programs.
  • Preventing the “specialized teaching or training of Iranian nationals” of subjects that would enhance Iran’s nuclear goals.

The resolution did permit states to export nuclear and ballistic missile-related goods that are not itemized in the resolution’s control lists if: certain guidelines were followed, end-user controls were put in place, and the 1737 Committee was notified. It was also necessary for states to notify the IAEA to export certain nuclear and ballistic missile-related materials to Iran.

Resolution 1737’s Monitoring Mechanisms

Resolution 1737 set out numerous measures to monitor compliance with the resolution. In paragraph 18 it established a Committee (known as the 1737 Committee) to oversee the implementation of the resolution’s key provisions. A subsequent paragraph required states to furnish reports to the Committee detailing their compliance with the resolution.

In addition, the Director General of the IAEA was required to report to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the Security Council within 60 days of the resolution being issued on whether Iran had suspended its enrichment and heavy water-related activities. The UNSC then reviewed Iran’s actions based on the findings of that report. It was then incumbent upon the council to decide to either suspend or terminate the resolution’s sanctions if Iran complied with them. In the event that Iran had not complied with the sanctions, the Security Council was empowered to adopt further measures as it saw fit.

Security Council Resolution 1747

On March 24, 2007, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1747 unanimously under Article 41 of the UN Charter.

The full text of Resolution 1747 is available here.

Resolution 1747’s Principal Provisions

This resolution was adopted as a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the previous two resolutions. It called on Iran to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors and outlined in Resolution 1737 to verify that its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes. Resolution 1747 also encourages Iran to consider the June 2006 proposals to reach a long-term comprehensive agreement with the P5+1.

Resolution 1747’s Sanctions

The resolution repeated and enhanced some of the key sanctions from Resolution 1737 while also introducing some new measures.

Resolution 1747 enhanced its predecessor’s sanctions by:

  • Calling on states to exercise “restraint” (in addition to the “vigilance” called for in 1737) regarding the entry of persons into their territory associated with Iran’s nuclear program. Resolution 1747 added further names to the list of individuals entering their territory who must be reported to the 1737 Committee.
  • Requiring states to freeze the “funds, other financial assets and economic resources” of 28 additional individuals and entities.
  • Expanding the list of items prohibited for export to or import from Iran to include any arms or related material.

Resolution 1747 also introduced the following new sanctions:

  • Called on states to “exercise vigilance and restraint” in the supply, sale, or transfer of major military weapons systems and related material to Iran, as well as the provision of any technical assistance, financial assistance, or other service related to the provision of these items.
  • Called on states and international financial institutions “not to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, and concessional loans” with the Iranian government unless for humanitarian or developmental purposes.

Resolution 1747’s Monitoring Mechanisms

Like its predecessor, all states were required to report to the 1737 Committee within 60 days of Resolution 1747’s adoption on the steps taken to implement it. Also within 60 days, the Director General of the IAEA was instructed to furnish a report on Iran’s compliance with the resolution to both the IAEA Board of Governors and to the Security Council.

Security Council Resolution 1803

On March 3, 2008, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1803 with 14 of the council’s 15 members voting in favor. Indonesia abstained from the vote stating that it “remain[ed] to be convinced of the efficacy of adopting additional sanctions” against Iran.

The full text of Resolution 1803 is available here.

Resolution 1803’s Principal Provisions

This resolution was adopted as a response to Iran’s decision not to comply with any of the previous resolutions. It reiterates the council’s desire that Iran halt its enrichment program and urges Iran to comply with the IAEA.

Resolution 1803’s Sanctions

Resolution 1803 enhanced the previous sanctions on individuals and entities involved with Iran’s nuclear program by:

  • Augmenting the list of people that states must report to the 1737 Committee if they enter their territory.
  • Requiring states, for the first time, to “prevent the entry into or transit through their territories” of designated individuals involved in pursuing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
  • Expanding the number of individuals subjected to frozen funds, financial assets, and economic resources.

Resolution 1803 also outlines sanctions that apply directly to the Iranian state, by:

  • Broadening the scope of restrictions on the supply, sale, or transfer of nuclear and ballistic missile-related items to Iran established in Resolution 1737 and setting down new provisions to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program.
  • Calling on states to be vigilant “in entering new commitments for public provided financial support for trade with Iran,” lest such support be used by Iran to pursue its nuclear weapons ambitions.
  • Calling on states to “exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions in their territories with all banks domiciled in Iran,” to prevent such activities from enhancing Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Calling on states to inspect cargo going to or from Iran on aircraft and vessels owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting the cargo consists of goods prohibited under resolutions 1737, 1747, or 1803.

Resolution 1803’s Monitoring Mechanisms

Like its predecessors, Resolution 1803 set out a number of reporting mechanisms that states and the Director General of the IAEA were to fulfill to monitor compliance with this resolution. Echoing previous resolutions, Resolution 1803 required states to file reports with the 1737 Committee within 60 days of being issued, detailing the steps taken to implement the resolution.

It also requested the Director General of the IAEA to submit a report to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the Security Council within 90 days of the resolution’s adoption, stating the extent to which Iran had complied with Resolutions 1737, 1747 and 1803. Upon receiving the Director General’s report, the Security Council was empowered to suspend, terminate or extend the sanctions in place against Iran as deemed appropriate.

Resolution 1803 extended the 1737 Committee’s scope from overseeing the implementation of only Resolution 1737 to also overseeing the implementation of Resolutions 1747 and 1803. 

This resolution also introduced a requirement that states must report to the Security Council when they inspect the cargo of an Iranian aircraft or vessel. The report must be filed within five working days of the inspection and it must detail “the grounds for the inspection, as well as information on its time, place circumstances, results and other relevant details.”

Security Council Resolution 1835

Resolution 1835 was unanimously adopted on September 27, 2008.

The full text of Resolution 1835 is available here. 

Resolution 1835’s Principal Provisions

In contrast to its predecessors, Resolution 1835 was not adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, nor did it set out new provisions that Tehran was required to comply with. Instead, it simply reaffirmed the four previous resolutions, as well as a statement made by the Security Council’s President on March 29, 2006. It then reaffirmed the council’s commitment “to an early negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Resolution 1835’s Sanctions

This resolution did not outline new sanctions against Iran.

Resolution 1835’s Monitoring Mechanisms

This resolution did not outline new monitoring mechanisms.

Security Council Resolution 1929

On June 9, 2010, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1929, with 12 countries voting in favor, Brazil and Turkey voting against, and Lebanon abstaining.

The full text of Resolution 1929 is available here.

Resolution 1929’s Principal Provisions

The resolution reiterated the UNSC’s demands from previous resolutions that Iran halt all enrichment activity and other activities related to nuclear weapons development.

Resolution 1929’s Sanctions

This resolution, the sixth round of sanctions against Iran, included:

  • Banning Iran from investing in nuclear and missile technology abroad, including investment in uranium mining. 
  • Establishing a complete arms embargo on Iran, banning the sale of “battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems” to Iran.
  • Prohibiting Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles. The resolution requires states to take necessary measures to prevent technology relevant to ballistic missiles from reaching Iran.  It also updates the list of items banned for transfer to and from Iran. 

Resolution 1929 also subjected Iran to a new inspection regime designed to detect and stop Iranian smuggling.  States are:

  • Called upon to inspect vessels on their territory that are suspected of carrying Iranian prohibited cargo, and are expected to comply with these rules on the high seas, including disposing of confiscated Iranian prohibited cargo. 
  • Required to refuse services to ships that are not in compliance with these sanctions.

Lastly, this resolution included financial sanctions targeting Iran’s ability to finance proliferation activities by:

  • Subjecting three companies related to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, 15 IRGC-related companies and 40 other Iranian companies to an asset freeze.

Further, states were:

  • Requested to report any circumventing of sanctions by Iran. 
  • Required to obligate their citizens and corporations to “exercise vigilance” when doing business with Iran or Iranian entities that contribute to proliferation efforts. 
  • Called upon to limit their interactions with Iranian financial institutions.

Resolution 1929’s Monitoring Mechanisms

Resolution 1929 requested that the Secretary-General create a panel of eight experts to “assist the Committee in carrying out its mandate” and “make recommendations on actions the Council, or the Committee or State, may consider to improve implementation of the relevant measures.”

It “urge[d]” states and relevant UN bodies to comply with the recommendations of the Panel of Experts and “call[ed] upon” states to submit a report 60 days after the adoption of the resolution on how they plan to comply with the sanctions regime.  It also requested a report within 90 days of the resolution’s adoption from the IAEA on whether Iran had complied with the demands of this and previous resolutions.

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Iran’s Simorgh Rocket Test in Perspective

Iran announced Thursday it had launched a Simorgh rocket space-launch vehicle (SLV) from the Imam Khomeini National Space Station. Although Iranian state media claimed a successful launch, no independent sources have confirmed this assertion. The rocket launch comes amid escalatory rhetoric between Tehran and Washington surrounding the future of the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Last week, the State Department certified Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, as required by Congress every 90 days. Nevertheless, President Trump recently told The Wall...

IAEA Investigations of Iran's Nuclear Activities

July 2017

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: July 2017

Ali Akbar Salehi (left), the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA, sign a framework agreement in Tehran on November 11, 2013. (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first publicly outlined its concerns about Iranian activities related to the development of a nuclear weapon in an annex to its November 2011 quarterly report on Iran's nuclear program. The report laid out 12 main areas for investigation, discussed in detail below. These issues became known as the possible military dimensions, or PMDs, of Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA’s concerns about these activities pre-dated the public report, and little progress was made to resolve these issues until 2013. 

In November 2013, Iran and the IAEA announced a Joint Framework for Cooperation in which Iran agreed to take several steps to address the IAEA’s concerns, including providing information and access to research reactors and production plants. The IAEA added additional steps in 2014. Before Iran completed all of the steps, the 2013 Framework for Cooperation was superseded by the 2015 Roadmap for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program, which required Iran to provide information on all the concerns the IAEA had identified in the 2011 report.

The 2015 Roadmap was announced concurrently with the nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States). Sanctions relief in the nuclear deal was contingent upon Iran cooperating with the agency’s investigation. The IAEA released its assessment to conclude the Roadmap process in December 2015. 

2015 Roadmap for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program 

The July 14, 2015 Roadmap laid out a schedule for Iran to address the IAEA’s concerns and the agency to complete its investigation.

The IAEA announced on August 15, 2015 that Iran met the first deadline for providing documents and written explanations to the agency's questions regarding the 12 main areas for investigation as outlined in the November 2011 annex. The agency submitted follow-up questions to Iran on September 9, and on September 20, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Deputy Director General Tero Varjoranta traveled to Tehran to discuss the investigation and visit the Parchin site. They confirmed that environmental samples were taken at Parchin for analysis in IAEA labs. On October 15, 2015, the deadline for additional responses, the IAEA confirmed that Iran had responded to its follow-up questions and completed all activities under the roadmap.

The completed assessment, released on December 2, 2015, concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003, including a coordinated “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” but did not divert nuclear material from its civilian nuclear program as part of its weaponization efforts.

The report found that although Tehran’s organized nuclear weapons program ended in 2003, some activities continued through 2009. According to the assessment, the “activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.” The agency said it found “no credible indications” that nuclear material was diverted to the weapons program or that any undeclared activities have taken place since 2009.

In several areas, like nuclear testing preparations and fuzing, arming, and firing a payload, the IAEA did not receive any new information. In other areas, such as Iran’s work at a uranium mine, the IAEA assessed that Tehran’s activities were consistent with its declaration to the IAEA. However, the IAEA assessed that Iran’s program structure, computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device, and certain types of experiments with detonators were part of a nuclear weapons development program prior to 2003.

Mark Toner, deputy spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, said on December 2 that the IAEA’s conclusion is “consistent with what the United States has long assessed with high confidence.”

Following a meeting on December 15, 2015, the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors voted unanimously to close the investigation into Iran's past weaponization work while continuing to report on Iran's implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal with the P5+1.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi said that Iran "disagreed" with some of the agencies findings, arguing that the “scientific studies of dual-use technologies have always been for peaceful civilian or conventional military uses” rather than nuclear weapons work, he said.

The full text of the "road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program" is available here. Highlights of the IAEA's findings in each of the 12 areas are below:

  1. Program management structure: The IAEA assessed that, prior to 2003, Iran had an organized structure “suitable for the coordination of a range of activities relevant” to nuclear weapons design. The activities that continued beyond 2003 were not a coordinated program.
  2. Procurement activities: The IAEA had “indications” that Tehran attempted to purchase items relevant to developing a nuclear weapon prior to 2007 and information that Iran purchased materials for its fuel cycle activities through companies not affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Iran admitted to looking into procuring a high speed camera for conventional purposes, but said it ultimately did not do so.
  3. Nuclear material acquisition: The IAEA assessed that the Gchine uranium mine, previously thought to be a potential source of uranium for undeclared nuclear activities between 2000-2003, would not have produced any substantial amounts of nuclear material before 2006. The IAEA found that the activities at the mine were consistent with Iran’s explanations and declarations. Overall, the IAEA assessed that “any quantity of nuclear material” that would have been available for the nuclear weapons development program “would have been within the uncertainties associated with nuclear material accountancy and related measurements.”
  4. Nuclear components for an explosive device: The IAEA had evidence that Tehran had access to documentation on the conversion of uranium compounds to uranium metal, which is part of the weaponization process, and made progress on reducing a uranium compound into a metal form. Tehran denied that it conducted any metallurgical work for weapons purposes. The IAEA’s final assessment found no indication of Iran conducting activities related to the uranium metal document.
  5. Detonator development: The IAEA assessed that Iran’s work on explosive bridgewire detonators have “characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device.” The agency found that some of Iran’s explanations, that the detonators were developed as a safer alternative because of explosive accidents, were “inconsistent” and “unrelated” to the IAEA’s timeframe for detonator development.
  6. Initiation of high explosives and associated experiments: Iran admitted to the IAEA in August and September 2015 that it conducted work on certain types of explosives, but had a “technical requirement for the development” of multipoint initiation explosive technology for conventional weaponry. The IAEA noted that there are non-nuclear weapons applications for the development, but assessed that the work was “relevant to a nuclear explosive device.”
  7. Hydrodynamic experiments: As part of its investigation over the past several months, IAEA officials were able to visit Parchin, a military site where the agency suspected that Tehran conducted hydrodynamic tests in an explosive chamber. Since the IAEA requested access in 2012, Iran conducted extensive construction and renovations. Tehran said in September 2015 discussions with the IAEA that one of the main buildings in question was used for storing chemicals for the production of explosives. Environmental sampling at the site found “chemically man-made particles of uranium” but did not indicate that it was used for long-term storage of chemicals as Iran claimed. The IAEA assessed that its satellite imagery analysis and environmental sampling “does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building” and that Iran’s activities at the site impeded the agency’s investigation. The IAEA did not draw a definite assessment as to what occurred at Parchin.
  8. Modelling and calculations: The IAEA assessed that Iran conducted modelling and calculations related to nuclear explosive configurations prior to 2004 and between 2005-2009. During the agency’s investigation between August-October 2015, Iran maintained that it was not in a position to discuss its work on hydrodynamic modelling because it was for conventional military purposes and not an IAEA concern. The IAEA noted in its report that there are conventional applications for such modelling, and that the calculations derived from the modelling were incomplete and fragmented, but assessed overall that Iran conducted computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device between 2005-2009.
  9. Neutron initiator: The IAEA’s evidence indicated that Iran continued work on neutron initiators after 2004, although the agency assessed prior to the July 2015 agreement with Iran that some of the indicators that Iran undertook work on generating neutrons through shock-compression was “weaker than previously considered.” Iran provided the IAEA with information about its neutron research and let the IAEA visit a research intuition in October 2015. Iran maintained that its research in the area was not related to “shock-driven neutron sources.”
  10. Conducting a test: The IAEA noted it has not received any additional information regarding Tehran's plans to conduct a nuclear test since its November 2011 report. The IAEA noted in the November 2011 report that Iran may have undertaken “preparatory experimentation” relevant to a nuclear weapons explosive device and obtained a document on the safety arrangements for explosive nuclear testing.
  11. Integration into a missile delivery vehicle: The IAEA assessed that two of the workshops it identified in 2011 as producing components and mock up parts for engineering of a Shahab-3 (Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile) re-entry vehicle for a nuclear warhead exist, and that the capabilities are “consistent with those described” in documentation provided to the agency on Tehran’s work on a re-entry vehicle.
  12. Fuzing, arming, and firing system: The IAEA report noted in the Final Assessment report that it had not received any new information since the November 2011 report on development of a prototype firing system for a Shahab-3 payload that would allow the missile’s payload to safely re-enter the atmosphere and then explode above a target or upon impact.

2013 Joint Statement on Framework for Cooperation

Prior to reaching the July 2015 roadmap, the IAEA and Iran had taken some steps to clarify the outstanding issues between 2013-2014. 

Under the November 11, 2013 Framework for Cooperation, Iran and the IAEA committed to resolve the agency's concerns through a step-by-step process to address all of the outstanding issues. An annex to the framework laid out the first six actions that Iran pledged to take within three months (see details below).

On February 9, 2014, Iran and the IAEA announced a further seven actions that Iran would take by May 15, 2014 (see details below). Iran completed the initial two sets of actions within the time period specified, all of which fall into one of the 12 main areas of investigation. In June 2014, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that the agency would not issue an assessment on any action until the investigation was completed and the agency could assess the information gathered as a system.

A May 20, 2014 meeting resulted in an agreement on an additional 5 actions to be taken by August 25, 2014 (see details below). Iran completed three of the five actions by the end of August 2014. Two remaining issues related to nuclear weapons development remained unresolved. Iran and the IAEA met several times throughout the spring, and in its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development. Before all of these actions were completed, this agreement was superseded by the July 2015 Roadmap. 

The full text of the initial Framework for Cooperation and its accompanying annex is available here. The detailed steps taken under the original framework are laid out below.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by February 11, 2014


Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Gchine mine in Bandar Abbas.


Iran facilitated IAEA access to the Gchine uranium mine on January 29, 2014.

Provide mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Heavy Water Production Plant.


The IAEA visited the Heavy Water Production Plant at the Arak site on December 8, 2013.

Provide information on all new research reactors.


In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Provide information with regard to the identification of 16 sites designated for the construction of nuclear power plants.


In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Clarification of the announcement made by Iran regarding additional enrichment facilities.


In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Further clarification of the announcement made by Iran with respect to laser enrichment technology.


In a February 9 joint statement, the IAEA and Iran announced that Iran completed the actions agreed to on November 11.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by May 15, 2014


Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Saghand mine in Yazd.


An IAEA team was provided access to the Saghand mine on a May 5-6 visit to Iran.

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and managed access to the Ardakan concentration plant.


An IAEA team was provided access to the Ardakan plant on a May 6 visit to Iran.

Submission of an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor (Heavy Water Reactor at Arak).


In its March 20 report on the Joint Plan of Action, the IAEA noted that Iran completed an updated DIQ for the agency on February 12. Iran provided follow-up information in response to the agency's questions about the DIQ on March 29.

Taking steps to agree with the Agency on the conclusion of a Safeguards Approach for the IR 40 Reactor.


Iran and the IAEA met on May 5 to continue work on the safeguards for the IR-40 reactor at Arak. The approach is not yet completed.

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and arranging for a technical visit to Lashkar Ab’ad Laser Centre.


The agency was able to visit the center on March 12.

Providing information on source material, which has not reached the composition and purity suitable for fuel fabrication or for being isotopically enriched, including imports of such material and on Iran’s extraction of uranium from phosphates.


Iran provided this information to the IAEA in an April 29 letter.

Providing information and explanations for the Agency to assess Iran’s stated need or application for the development of Exploding Bridge Wire detonators.


Iran provided the IAEA with information on the detonators at a meeting on April 26 and in subsequent letters on April 30 and an additional May 20 meeting.

Iranian Actions to be Completed by August 25, 2014


Exchanging information with the Agency with respect to the allegations related to the initiation of high explosives, including the conduct of large scale high explosives experimentation in Iran.

In its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development.

(While Iran did not complete this activity on schedule, it was resolved by Aug. 15, 2015 as part of the new July 14, 2015 roadmap)

Providing mutually agreed relevant information and explanations related to studies made and/or papers published in Iran in relation to neutron transport and associated modelling and calculations and their alleged application to compressed materials.


In its May 29, 2015 quarterly report, the IAEA noted that Iran shared information on one of the outstanding issues related to nuclear weapons development.

(While Iran did not complete this activity on schedule, it was resolved by Aug. 15, 2015 as part of the new July 14, 2015 roadmap)

Providing mutually agreed information and arranging a technical visit to a centrifuge research and development centre.


According to the Sept. 5 IAEA quarterly report, IAEA inspectors were able to visit this facility on Aug. 31.

Providing mutually agreed information and managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities.


The Sept. 5 IAEA quarterly report said that the agency was able to access these sites Aug. 18-20.

Concluding the safeguards approach for the IR-40 reactor.


The agency and Iran completed the safeguards approach on Aug. 31, six days after the Aug. 25 deadline.

Note: this factsheet was previously titled "Implementation of the Iran-IAEA Framework for Cooperation"

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Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons


This treaty prohibits the use, threat of use, development, production, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, transfer, stationing and installment of nuclear weapons or assistance with any prohibited activities. 


The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons prohibits the use, threat of use, development, production, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, transfer, stationing and installment of nuclear weapons or assistance with any prohibited activities. It requires states-parties to declare if they once had or currently have nuclear weapons and if there are nuclear weapons on their territory. It requires states-parties that currently have nuclear weapons to destroy them and those that have nuclear weapons on their territory to remove them. States-parties must also provide victim assistance to those impacted by nuclear weapon use and testing and environmental remediation assistance to areas impacted by nuclear weapon use and testing.

Opened for Signature: September 20, 2017

Entry into Force: Pending

Official Text: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tpnw/text

Status and Signatories: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tpnw

ACA Backgrounder: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/nuclearprohibition



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Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZ) At a Glance

July 2017

Press Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: July 2017

What is a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone?

A nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) is a specified region in which countries commit themselves not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. Five such zones exist today, with four of them spanning the entire Southern Hemisphere. The regions currently covered under NWFZ agreements include: Latin America (the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga), Southeast Asia (the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok) Africa (the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba) and Central Asia (the 2006 Treaty of Semipalatinsk).


Initial efforts to create an area free of nuclear weapons began in the late 1950s with several proposals to establish such a zone in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland offered the first proposal-named the Rapacki Plan after the Polish foreign minister-in 1958. The Rapacki Plan sought to initially keep nuclear weapons from being deployed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, and East Germany, while reserving the right for other European countries to follow suit. The Soviet Union, Sweden, Finland, Romania, and Bulgaria also floated similar proposals. All these early efforts, however, floundered amidst the U.S.-Soviet superpower conflict, although the Rapacki Plan would serve as a model to the nuclear-weapon-free zones that were eventually set up in other regions of the globe.

Article VII of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, affirms the right of countries to establish specified zones free of nuclear weapons. The UN General Assembly reaffirmed that right in 1975 and outlined the criteria for such zones. Within these nuclear-weapon-free zones, countries may use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Protocol for Nuclear Weapon States

Each treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone includes a protocol for the five nuclear-weapon states recognized under the NPT-China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States-to sign and ratify. These protocols, which are legally binding, call upon the nuclear-weapon states to respect the status of the zones and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against treaty states-parties. Such declarations of non-use of nuclear weapons are referred to as negative security assurances. For more information, see Nuclear Declaratory Policy and Negative Security Assurances.

However, the five nuclear-armed countries have at times signed and ratified a NWFZ protocol and declared conditions reserving the right to use nuclear weapons in certain scenarios against parties to a nuclear-weapon-free zone. For instance, the United States signed the protocol for the African nuclear-weapon-free zone in April 1996 with a declaration that it would reserve the right to respond with all options, implying possible use of nuclear weapons, to a chemical or biological weapons attack by a member of the zone. None of the nuclear-weapon states have signed the relevant protocol for the treaty creating a zone in Southeast Asia because of concerns that it conflicts with the right of their ships and aircraft to have freedom of movement in international waters and airspace and problems with the definitions of territory, since includes exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. The other three zones do not explicitly rule out the transit of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon states through the zones, and the general practice of nuclear-weapon states is not to declare whether nuclear weapons are aboard their vessels.

In addition to nuclear-weapon-free zones, there are treaties and declarations, which are not covered by this fact sheet, banning the deployment of nuclear weapons in Antarctica, Mongolia, on the seabed, and in outer space.

Basic Elements of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaties

Duration: The treaties are to remain in force indefinitely. Yet, each treaty includes a withdrawal option for states-parties. With the exception of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which simply requires three months' advance notice before a withdrawal can take effect, all the NWFZ treaties require 12 months' advance notice for a state-party to end its treaty obligations.

Conditions: None of the treaties can be subjected to conditions by its non-nuclear-weapon states-parties.

Verification: Each state-party adopts comprehensive safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which verifies that states-parties are not pursuing nuclear weapons illicitly. The Central Asian NWFZ goes a step further in requiring that states in the region adopt the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which provides for expanded monitoring.

Territory Covered: Each zone applies to the entire territories of all of its states-parties. Territory is understood to include all land holdings, internal waters, territorial seas, and archipelagic waters. The Latin American treaty also extends hundreds of kilometers from the states-parties' territories into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but the nuclear-weapon states, citing their freedom at sea, assert that this does not apply to their ships and aircraft that might be carrying nuclear weapons. A dispute also exists over the inclusion of the Chagos Archipelago, which includes the U.S. military base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as part of the proposed African nuclear-weapon-free zone. Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom recognizes Diego Garcia as being subject to the Pelindaba Treaty.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Opened for signature: February 14, 1967
Entered into force: October 23, 2002[1]




Antigua and Barbuda

October 11, 1983

October 11, 1983


September 27, 1967

January 18, 1994


November 29, 1976

April 26, 1977


October 18, 1968

April 25, 1969


February 14, 1992

November 9, 1994

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

February 14, 1967

February 18, 1969


May 9, 1967

January 29, 1968


February 14, 1967

October 9, 1974


February 14, 1967

August 4, 1972

Costa Rica

February 14, 1967

August 25, 1969


March 25, 1995

October 23, 2002


May 2, 1989

June 4, 1993

Dominican Republic

July 28, 1967

June 14, 1968


February 14, 1967

February 11, 1969

El Salvador

February 14, 1967

April 22, 1968


April 29, 1975

June 20, 1975


February 14, 1967

February 6, 1970


January 16, 1995

January 16, 1995


February 14, 1967

May 23, 1969


February 14, 1967

September 23, 1968


October 26, 1967

June 26, 1969


February 14, 1967

September 20, 1967


February 15, 1967

October 24, 1968


February 14, 1967

June 11, 1971


April 26, 1967

March 19, 1969


February 14, 1967

March 4, 1969

Saint Kitts and Nevis

February 18, 1994

April 18, 1995

Saint Lucia

August 25, 1992

June 2, 1995

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

February 14, 1992

February 14, 1992


February 13, 1976

June 10, 1977

Trinidad and Tobago

June 27, 1967

December 3, 1970


February 14, 1967

August 20, 1968

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

February 14, 1967

March 23, 1970

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 



States Ratified

Protocol I

Jurisdictional responsibility

France, United Kingdom, United States

Protocol II

Negative security assurances

China, France, United Kingdom, United States, Soviet Union[2]

The Treaty of Rarotonga (South Pacific)

Opened for signature: August 6, 1985
Entered into force: December 11, 1986





August 6, 1985

December 11, 1986

Cook Islands

August 6, 1985

October 28, 1985


August 6, 1985

October 4, 1985


August 6, 1985

October 28, 1986


July 17, 1986

April 13, 1987

New Zealand

August 6, 1985

November 13, 1986


August 6, 1985

May 12, 1986

Papua New Guinea

September 16, 1985

September 15, 1989


August 6, 1985

October 20, 1986

Solomon Islands

May 29, 1987

June 27, 1989


August 2, 1996

December 18, 2000


August 6, 1985

January 16, 1986


September 16, 1995

February 9, 1996

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 



States Ratified

Protocol I*

Prohibition on the manufacture, stationing and testing of any nuclear explosive device

France, United Kingdom

Protocol II

Negative security assurances

China, France, United Kingdom, Soviet Union[2]

Protocol III

Ban on nuclear testing in nuclear-weapon-free zone

Soviet Union[2]

*(open only to France, the United Kingdom and the United States)

The Treaty of Bangkok (Southeast Asia)

Opened for signature: December 15, 1995
Entered into force: March 27, 1997




Brunei Darussalam

December 15, 1995

November 22, 1996


December 15, 1995

March 27, 1997


December 15, 1995

April 10, 1997

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

December 15, 1995

July 16, 1996


December 15, 1995

October 11, 1996


December 15, 1995

July 17, 1996


December 15, 1995

June 21, 2001


December 15, 1995

March 27, 1997


December 15, 1995

March 20, 1997


December 15, 1995

November 26, 1996

Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 

  • None. Five nuclear weapons states and ASEAN members met in July 2012 to sign the treaty protocol. The treaty commission, however, postponed the signing of the protocol until November, requesting more time to review reservations that several of the NWS indicated that they would attach during ratification.

The Treaty of Pelindaba (Africa)

Opened for signature: April 11, 1996
Entered into force: July 15, 2009





April 11, 1996

February 11, 1998


April 11, 1996

June 20, 2014


April 11, 1996

September 4, 2007


June 9, 1998

June 16, 1999

Burkina Faso

April 11, 1996

August 27, 1998


April 11, 1996

July 15, 2009


April 11, 1996

September 28, 2010

Cape Verde

April 11, 1996


Central African Republic

April 11, 1996



April 11, 1996

January 18, 2012


April 11, 1996

July 24, 2012


January 27, 1997

November 26, 2013

Cote D’Ivoire        

April 11, 1996

July 28, 1999

Democratic Republic of the Congo

April 11, 1996



April 11, 1996



April 11, 1996


Equatorial Guinea


February 19, 2003


April 11, 1996



April 11, 1996

March 13, 2008


April 11, 1996

June 12, 2007


April 11, 1996

October 16, 1996


April 11, 1996

June 27, 2011


April 11, 1996

January 21, 2000


April 11, 1996

January 4, 2012


April 11, 1996

January 9, 2001


April 11, 1996

March 14, 2002


July 9, 1996



April 11, 1996

May 11, 2005



December 23, 2003


April 11, 1996

April 23, 2009


April 11, 1996

July 22, 1999


April 11, 1996

February 24, 1998


April 11, 1996

April 24, 1996


April 11, 1996

August 28, 2008


April 11, 1996

March 1, 2012


April 11, 1996

February 22, 2017


April 11, 1996

June 18, 2001


April 11, 1996

February 1, 2007

Sao Tome & Principe

July 9, 1996



April 11, 1996

October 25, 2006


July 9, 1996

May 23, 2014

Sierra Leone

April 11, 1996



February 23, 2006


South Africa

April 11, 1996

March 27, 1998


April 11, 1996



April 11, 1996

July 17, 2000


April 11, 1996

July 18, 2000


April 11, 1996

October 7, 2009


April 11, 1996


United Republic of Tanzania

April 11, 1996

June 19, 1998


April 11, 1996

April 6, 1998


April 11, 1996

April 6, 1998

 Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 



States Ratified

Protocol I

Negative security assurances

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

Protocol II

Ban on nuclear testing in zone

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

Protocol III*

Jurisdictional responsibility


*(open only to France and Spain)

Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty

Opened for signature: September 8, 2006
Entered into force: March 21, 2009 





September 8, 2006

February 19, 2009


September 8, 2006

July 27, 2007


September 8, 2006

January 13, 2009


September 8, 2006

January 17, 2009


September 8, 2006

May 10, 2007

 Protocol ratification by nuclear-weapon states: 



States Ratified

Protocol I*

Negative security assurances

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom

*United States signed but has not ratified


1. The treaty specified that the full zone would not enter into force until it was ratified by all states within the zones. That did not occur until Cuba ratified the treaty in 2002. However, the treaty permitted individual states to waive that provision and declare themselves bound by the treaty, which many did beginning in 1968.

2. Russia is recognized as inheriting the Soviet Union's treaty commitments.

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

Subject Resources:

Fact Sheet Categories:

PRESS RELEASE: Iran Nuclear Deal Still Working Effectively



Statement from Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy

For Immediate Release: July 13, 2017

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 102; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107 

(Washington, D.C.)—Two years ago on July 14, six world powers and Iran finalized an historic nuclear agreement with Tehran that removed the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. The nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has proven to be a nonproliferation success. The agreement has significantly restricted Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed an intrusive monitoring and verification regime. The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran no longer looms over the international community.
Despite the success of the deal, some policymakers in Washington are recklessly urging the Trump administration to abandon the agreement on the basis of inaccurate claims that Tehran is violating the accord. Six reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency demonstrate that Iran is meeting its commitments and the Trump administration certified in April that Iran is living up to its end of the deal.
Before taking unilateral steps that risk the success of the agreement, Washington should carefully consider the consequences. Abandoning an agreement that is verifiably blocking Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons is irresponsible and dangerous. It would further destabilize the region, and could open the door to a nuclear-armed Iran or increase the prospect of a costly war in the Middle East. Additionally, pulling out of a multilateral agreement that benefits international security sends the message to U.S. allies and partners that Washington cannot be trusted to follow through on its commitments.
Given the current instability in the Middle East, it is now more vital than ever that Washington continue to support the nuclear deal with Iran and look for options to build on the agreement. Full implementation of the accord benefits U.S. national security and international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Resources and Factsheets:


Statement from Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Amendment on CTBTO Funding Would Undermine Global Test Ban



Volume 9, Issue 4, July 2017

Unfortunately, a small but influential group of Republican lawmakers are seeking to cut U.S. funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and undermine international support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the global nuclear test moratorium.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation on Feb.7 to “restrict” funding for the CTBTO.

The House approved the language as an amendment by Wilson to the National Defense Authorization Act; the Senate will consider a similar amendment from Sen. Cotton when it considers the NDAA later this week.*

The amendment purports not to restrict U.S. funding specifically for the CTBTO's International Monitoring System, but in practice any significant reduction in U.S. technical and financial support for the CTBTO would:

  • adversely impact the organization’s ability to operate and maintain existing nuclear test monitoring stations. This is due to the fact that a wide range of organization’s personnel and assets directly or indirectly support the IMS. This includes staff time and technical support for the International Data Centre in Vienna, which processes information provided by IMS operations; and
  • prompt other states to restrict their funding for the CTBTO or possibly withhold data from CTBTO monitoring stations that are based in their territory, thus undermining the capabilities of the system to detect and deter clandestine nuclear testing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini during the April 2017 G7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]The Wilson amendment would run counter to the policy position articulated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who joined with his G7 foreign ministerial counterparts to extoll the value of the CTBTO in their April joint communique on nonproliferation and disarmament. They said in part:

We believe that all States should maintain all existing voluntary moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, and those States that have not instituted such moratoria should do so. The verification regime being established by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, in particular the International Monitoring System and International Data Centre, has proven its effectiveness by providing substantive and reliable data on the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea. We strongly encourage all interested States to complete the IMS as a matter of priority.

The proposed Wilson amendment also seeks to undermine the U.S. obligation—as a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty—not to conduct nuclear test explosions. The amendment calls on Congress to declare that the September 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2310 does not “obligate…nor does it impose an obligation on the United States to refrain from actions that would run counter to the object and purpose” of the CTBT, which President Bill Clinton signed in 1996.

Contrary to what the Cotton-Wilson bill implies, Resolution 2310 (which was endorsed by 42 states, including Israel) does not impose any new obligations on the United States. Rather, it:

  • encourages states to “provide the support required” to the CTBTO and the IMS, and urges states to refrain from nuclear testing and urges those states that have not ratified to do so; and
  • also takes note of a September 15 joint statement by the five permanent Security Council members that formally “recognized” that a nuclear explosion would “defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT.” 

The G7 Foreign Minsters’ April 11 Joint Communique—endorsed by Tillerson—also “recalls" UN Security Council Resolution 2310 as an important contribution to the effort to ensure all states that have signed the CTBT do not go back on their promise not to conduct nuclear weapon test explosions. 

However, if Congress were to assert that the United States is not required to respect our obligations as a CTBT signatory not to conduct nuclear test explosions, it would signal to other states that that the United States may be seeking to back out of its commitment to a global and verifiable nuclear test ban and is considering the resumption of nuclear testing.

That’s not a smart move. With North Korea threatening to conduct a sixth nuclear test explosion, it is essential that the United States reinforce, not undermine, the global nuclear testing taboo

Backing off the United States' historically strong commitment to halting nuclear testing by any country at this time could trigger a dangerous chain reaction by other nuclear-armed states and would run afoul of key U.S. allies who strongly oppose nuclear testing and who support the CTBT. U.S. financial support to the CTBTO is critical to detect and deter nuclear weapons testing and it enhances national and international security—and should not be subjected to the restrictions proposed in the Wilson amendment.—DARYL G. KIMBALL, executive director

*This sentence was updated July 17, 2017 to reflect that the House amendment by Wilson was adopted by a voice vote.


Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation on Feb.7 to “restrict” funding for the CTBTO. The bill will be offered as a floor amendment by Wilson to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is being considered this week.


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