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This analysis summarizes and assesses information in the latest IAEA’s periodic safeguards report, NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the most recent of which was issued on March 5, 2022. The analysis also provides background information on the former Iranian nuclear weapon sites under IAEA investigation.
In an important conclusion, the IAEA reports that Iran violated its safeguards agreement by possessing and processing uranium metal at Lavizan-Shian, a site known as Location 2 in previous IAEA NPT compliance reports (see below). The IAEA report also states that inspectors have no additional questions and this issue “could be considered as no longer outstanding at this stage.“ However, this statement should not be misinterpreted as permanently letting Iran off the hook over Lavizan and undeclared uranium metal; the fundamental finding is that there was a safeguards violation at Lavizan-Shian. The lack of additional IAEA follow-up likely reflects the difficulty of dealing with Iranian non-cooperation and dissembling actions about its past and possibly on-going nuclear weapons program. More than likely, this issue or an equivalent one will come up again.