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Reference ID Date Classification Origin
09UNVIEVIENNA540 2009-12-02 17:05 SECRET UNVIE
DE RUEHUNV #0540/01 3361717
R 021717Z DEC 09
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2019 
Classified By: Mark Scheland, Counselor for Nuclear Policy; reasons 1.4 
 (b) and (d) 
1.  (S) Summary: HFAC staffers Richard Kessler and David Fite 
received from IAEA Secretariat November 10 information on the 
Iran case that tracked with the tone of the subsequent 
Director General's reporting on Iran to the Board of 
Governors.  The STAFFDEL heard that contact with Iran over 
"possible military dimensions" of the nuclear program was at 
an "absolute stalemate."  According to Safeguards regional 
division director Herman Nackaerts, IAEA inspectors' first 
visit to the enrichment facility under construction near Qom 
had run predictably but without extraordinary responsiveness 
on Iran's part; the Secretariat was still trying to 
understand the motivation to build the plant as now designed. 
 Nackaerts described the frustrating limitations of Iran's 
cooperation with the Agency, and the STAFFDEL deduced that 
Iranian officials held back because they were uncertain about 
what lines of inquiry the IAEA was best equipped to exploit. 
Questioning then-DG ElBaradei's remark to media that the 
Agency had found "nothing to worry about" in Qom, STAFFDEL 
asked if the Secretariat would report on how it judged the 
plant did or did not fit into Iran's publicly explained 
nuclear program.  Nackaerts expressed appreciation for the 
precision and usefulness of U.S.-supplied information in the 
Qom case and generally. 
2.  (C) Summary contd.: On Syria, Nackaerts said the 
Secretariat had told Damascus its first explanation for the 
presence of anthropogenic uranium at the Miniature Neutron 
Source Reactor was not credible.  Further, the Secretariat 
still could not yet present the case for how what was being 
built at Dair Alzour fit in as "part of a Syrian program or 
part of someone else's program."  On DPRK, IAEA/EXPO's Tariq 
Rauf said the IAEA, when it could, would ultimately have to 
"go back to the early 1990s" to reconstruct accountancy of 
plutonium and could not accept a "political" compromise 
setting material "off to the side."  To get to a finding of 
"no diversion" would take several years and extensive 
resources and forensics. 
3.  (SBU) Contd.:  Treating Technical Cooperation, the 
STAFFDEL received the same briefing on the Safeguards 
Department's project review process and internal database 
that was provided to a GAO review team in 2008.  IAEA 
External Relations Director Rauf asserted, "We are not a 
denial organization."   STAFFDEL related how segments of the 
GAO report had reduced Congressional confidence in the 
efficiency of TC.  U.S. national labs were afforded too 
little time to review projects for our national 
decision-making on their merit and proliferation risk. 
Secretariat also described hindrances it faces in having UN 
and national development officials recognize and integrate 
nuclear applications. 
4.  (SBU) Contd.:  The STAFFDEL also engaged P5-plus-1 heads 
of mission over lunch on the means to draw or impel Iran to 
open up on its nuclear program and on dynamics in Vienna 
between blocs of Member States.  End Summary. 
Fordow/Qom and Iran PMD: Frustration, 
but Good Support from the U.S. 
5.  (U) House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Majority Staff 
Director Richard Kessler and Professional Staff Member David 
Fite (STAFFDEL) spent ninety minutes with IAEA staff on 
November 10.  Principal issues were safeguards verification 
in Iran and Syria, the screening of IAEA Technical 
Cooperation (TC) projects for proliferation risk, and TC 
Department efforts to improve project design and integration 
into national and UN development activities.  STAFFDEL 
affirmed to Secretariat officials that the HFAC under 
Chairman Berman: was strongly supportive of the IAEA; put 
emphasis on counter-proliferation issues in countries of 
concern (indeed, was weighing legislation to impose further 
U.S. sanctions on Iran); had advocated an increase in NADR 
funding for extrabudgetary contributions to the IAEA, 
including for the Safeguards Analytical laboratory; and, 
supported "getting the U.S. up to date" on payment of its 
assessments to the IAEA's regular budget.  Following the 
meeting at the IAEA, STAFFDEL consulted Ambassador and 
Mission staff and had a working lunch with P5-plus-1 heads of 
mission focused on Iran and the dynamics of multilateral 
UNVIE VIEN 00000540  002 OF 005 
diplomacy in Vienna.  STAFFDEL's UNVIE program followed a day 
of consultations with Austrian officials (reftel). 
6.  (SBU) IAEA Safeguards Department Operations B (AOR 
Mideast, South Asia, parts of Europe, the Americas, and all 
nuclear weapons states) Director Herman Nackaerts briefed 
STAFFDEL on the inspection he had led a few weeks before to 
the recently disclosed Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom 
in Iran.  Nackaerts said Iranian officials had been open to 
allowing inspectors access.  The Secretariat was still trying 
to understand, he said, why Iran would build this facility, 
scaled as it was for 3000 centrifuges in contrast to the much 
large Natanz facility.  It was positive, Nackaerts pointed 
out, that Fordow was now under safeguards.  He noted that the 
IAEA had "at least two" safeguards inspectors at work in Iran 
"every day of the year" and would henceforth plan to visit 
Fordow regularly.  Asked how "complete" the plant was or when 
it would be operational, Nackaerts said, "The information we 
got from Member States proved to be very precise" on this 
point.  Asked about permission to take samples at Fordow, 
Nackaerts replied that Iranian officials had permitted the 
inspectors to perform the same safeguards procedures they 
typically undertook at Natanz. 
7.  (S) STAFFDEL asked if the Agency enjoyed full access to 
the Arak IR-40 plant.  Nackaerts related there had been no 
access for a 12-month period but normal access in August and 
October 2009.  However, the Iranians "claim they cannot go 
back on the decision of their parliament, and hence grant the 
IAEA a "visit" but do not call it Design Information 
Verification.  On possible military dimensions (PMD), 
Nackaerts said the Secretariat's approach was to follow lines 
of inquiry that could involve use of nuclear material, for 
example, the documents treating uranium metal or green salt. 
The Iranians, he said in a tone conveying his skepticism, 
asserted the uranium metal document was "mistakenly" included 
in a packet of information they received from the AQ Khan 
network but was nothing Iran had asked for or used.  The 
"green salt" documentation Iran dismissed as a forgery. 
Indeed, Nackaerts went on, Iran replied basically on the form 
of documents, not on their substance.  The Secretariat had 
not been "impressed" by the 117-page rejoinder Iran had 
provided to the initial presentation of PMD documentation. 
It had told Iran the information hung together too much for 
it all to have bee fabricated and asked that, if some of the 
documentation were "doctored," Iranian officials should show 
the Secretariat "where the truth ends."  Since August 2008, 
(when Ahmadinejad personally shut off Nackaerts's previously 
approved visit to workshops indicated in the documentation), 
Nackaerts concluded, there remained a high-level decision not 
to cooperate.  STAFFDEL member Fite took from this that the 
Iranians were holding back "because they don't know where any 
opening will lead."  Nackaerts agreed, saying they knew that 
every question they answered would bring another question. 
8.  (S) Fite alluded to then-DG ElBaradei's remarks of a few 
days before in U.S. media to the effect that the inspectors 
had found "nothing to worry about" in Fordow.  Acknowledging 
the practical meaning of this remark -- that there were no 
centrifuges or nuclear material present -- Fite nevertheless 
regretted the headline and asked if the DG's formal report to 
Board members (Note: subsequently released as GOV/2009/74, 
deresticted by the Board November 27, and available to the 
public at would deal with how Qom fits or does 
not fit into Iran's explained nuclear program.  Nackaerts 
replied, "We will identify the issues we're working."  He 
went on that understanding the timeline of Fordow's 
development was hindered by Iran's practice never to involve 
people who really know the facts or the government's 
intentions in discussion with the Agency.  The officials with 
whom inspectors meet clearly are "steered" by unseen 
observers, who send notes to the Iranian interlocutors during 
meetings.  Iran recorded the meetings, he added, but did not 
permit the IAEA to do so.  Further, the Secretariat never 
received original design documents, but ones produced for the 
Secretariat that were technically true to the facilities they 
found upon inspection.  Against this Iranian practice, 
Nackaerts added, the Secretariat received very precise 
information from Member States that helped inspectors decide 
what to ask about.  The organization of this information was 
good and, while the Agency was satisfied, it had inquired if 
more information could be shared with the Agency, "not 
necessarily for release to Iran," he said. 
Syria Stalemate 
UNVIE VIEN 00000540  003 OF 005 
9.  (SBU) The Syria case, Nackaerts said, was starting to 
look like Iran in that the government provided "good 
cooperation" on some areas but presented a "stalemate" on 
others.  The Secretariat challenged Syria's proposed 
explanation for the presence of uranium at Dair Alzour/Al 
Kibar (i.e., that Israeli depleted uranium munitions could be 
the source), but the inquiry was at a roadblock.  Syrian 
officials had been told their first explanation for 
anthropogenic uranium at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor 
(MNSR) was not credible, and the Agency had inquired what 
nuclear material Syria could have had that was not previously 
declared.  Overall, the IAEA still "did not understand" 
(meaning, it could not yet present the solid case for) how 
Dair Alzour fit in as part of a Syrian nuclear program "or 
part of someone else's program." 
Return to DPRK? 
Safeguards in India? 
10.  (SBU) Asked how quickly IAEA inspectors could resume 
work in North Korea if re-admitted by the government, Tariq 
Rauf of IAEA External Relations and Policy Coordination 
(EXPO) observed that the last resumption had taken a week 
(for technical set-up, re-activation of cameras, etc.). 
Safeguards Operations A division had a program set out for 
what steps to undertake "under circumstances the DPRK may let 
us back in."  Rauf continued that the Agency would to go back 
to the early 1990s' plutonium revelation to reconstruct 
material accountancy.  When most recently in the DPRK, the 
IAEA had been monitoring facility shutdown processes but not 
implementing NPT safeguards on DPRK material.  The Agency 
could "not accept" political compromises that would set some 
nuclear material "off to the side".  Then-DG ElBaradei had 
called for implementation of the Additional Protocol in DPRK, 
but even if Pyongyang cooperated fully it would take several 
years and much in the way of resources and forensics to be 
able to get to a finding of "no diversion." 
11.  (SBU) Asked about progress toward safeguards 
implementation in India, Rauf confirmed the GOI had submitted 
a "formal list" of facilities that was not a document the 
Agency would characterize as a formal declaration under its 
safeguards agreement.  India was under no mandatory timeline 
to make its declaration as it was not an NPT signatory. 
(Comment: Rauf's characterization was flat wrong.  Mission 
had learned from the Safeguards Department three weeks before 
this meeting that India had officially "notified" two new 
facilities (Raps 5 and 6) under its 2008 safeguards 
agreement, that surveillance systems had been installed, and 
the facilities were under safeguards.  End Comment.) 
Scrutinizing and Promoting 
IAEA Technical Cooperation 
12.  (U) Renaud Chatelus of the Safeguards Division of 
Information Management (SGIM) acquainted STAFFDEL with IAEA 
screening of Technical Cooperation (TC) projects for their 
potential to afford access to sensitive technologies. 
Grounded in a 1979 Agency Information Circular, INFCIRC/267, 
the practice is to focus on projects related to enrichment, 
heavy water production, reprocessing of spent fuel, and 
plutonium or mixed oxide fuel.  Chatelus said SGIM reviewed 
projects submitted, project approved, individual procurement 
actions, and overall implementation of projects.  Reviews are 
conducted completely in-house, he said in reply to a 
question.  Using the same PowerPoint slides that were 
presented to a GAO review team in 2008, Chatelus illustrated 
with screen shots from the Agency's staff access-only 
database the system of flagging projects for: compliance with 
INFCIRC 267, compliance with INFCIRC 540 (Additional 
Protocol), transfer of "sensitive items" on the Nuclear 
Suppliers Group or dual-use lists, general interest, or 
possible relation to a safeguarded facility.  In subsequent 
discussion of the impact of screening and Member States' 
sense of entitlement to TC, EXPO's Tariq Rauf affirmed, "We 
are not a denial organization." 
13.  (U) STAFFDEL member Fite observed that segments of the 
GAO report treating transfers to state sponsors of terrorism 
as well as on program management had reduced Congressional 
confidence about TC.  Fite said he had approached 
Appropriations staff about using a supplemental funding bill 
UNVIE VIEN 00000540  004 OF 005 
to resolve slow U.S. payment of assessments and do more for 
the Agency, but was rebuffed because the GAO report on TC had 
"poisoned the waters."  Apart from political objections to 
certain TC recipients benefitting from U.S. funding, he 
added, a persisting "Achilles heel" was that U.S. national 
labs were afforded too little time to review projects for our 
national decision-making on their merit and proliferation 
risk.  TC Department representative Johannes Seybold replied 
that the Agency aimed to provide Member States six weeks time 
for review, but was also at the mercy of requesting states 
providing the relevant project information.  Just the 
compendium of project titles and short descriptions became a 
very thick document in each biennial cycle, Seybold went on, 
and the Agency was "struggling" with some Member States' 
national policies to be able to go beyond this level of 
14.  (U) STAFFDEL's meeting with Secretariat officials 
concluded in an exchange with Seybold, TC's section head for 
strategy and partnerships, about the IAEA's awkward position 
in development efforts coordinated by the UN or by developing 
countries' national institutions.  Seybold laid out the 
following.  The IAEA's cooperation with TC recipient states 
occurs through National Liaison Officers, generally in the 
atomic energy commission or government ministry responsible 
for nuclear power or radiological sources.  Generally, 
neither the IAEA nor the corresponding national entity is a 
participant in UN development team or host government 
deliberations about development in the recipient country. 
Two-thirds of TC projects address development issues for 
which the IAEA is not the responsible lead agency in the UN 
system, e.g., water quality and availability, food security, 
climate.  In many cases, national authorities and the UN team 
responsible for these areas in a given country lack awareness 
of IAEA capabilities, and/or they maintain a distance from 
things "nuclear."  Seybold related Agency efforts to 
integrate with these authorities through the UNDAF (UN 
Development Assistance Framework) process and other 
partnering efforts.  STAFFDEL expressed encouragement for 
bringing nuclear applications to greater impact in the 
development field. 
P5-plus-1 Ambassadors Regret Iranian Paralysis 
on TRR; Depict Grim Dynamic with G-77/NAM 
--------------------------------------------- - 
15.  (C) STAFFDEL was the guests of honor at lunch hosted by 
the Ambassador with his counterparts from China, Germany, 
Russia, and the UK and the French Charge d'Affaires.  Kessler 
and Fite laid out HFAC's interest and Chairman Berman's 
supportive posture toward the Agency, as they had for 
Secretariat staff.  Opening discussion of Iran, UK Ambassador 
Simon Smith said the Iranian answer on the ElBaradei-brokered 
deal on refueling the Tehran research reactor (TRR) "had to 
be 'yes' or 'no,' not waffling" as it had been.  German 
Ambassador Ruediger Luedeking posited that the U.S. 
Administration had confounded Iranian internal processes and 
the latest EU3 proposal had "cornered" Iran.  Agreeing that 
Iran faced an imperative between "yes" and "no," Luedeking 
observed, "they can't answer."  HFAC Staff Director Kessler 
noted the committee had tried to follow up a Larijani 
approach conveyed one year before for a meeting with Chairman 
Berman, but found that the Iranians backed off. 
16.  (C) Russian Ambassador Alexander Zmeyevskiy asserted 
that confidentiality was a major concern for Iran.  He noted 
its TRR counter-proposals, either to keep its LEU on its 
territory under IAEA safeguards until released in exchange 
for fuel rods, or to swap outgoing LEU piecemeal for incoming 
fuel assemblies.  Moving beyond the TRR issue, UK Ambassador 
said he was severely disappointed that Member States had been 
unable to "apply consequences for the breaking of rules" of 
the organization.  We needed to convince some other Member 
States, he continued, that tolerating rule breaking as on Qom 
and Code 3.1 (of the Subsidiary Arrangement of Iran's 
Safeguards Agreement) risked bringing the organization into 
discredit.  STAFFDEL member Fite asked if Iran's Arab 
neighbors were among the problem interlocutors in Vienna; he 
asserted that officials of Arabian Peninsula countries told 
the Congress they see Iran as an "existential threat."  While 
they may seek the cover of international signals or sanctions 
imposed by others, they say they do want action against Iran. 
17.  (C) Segueing from Iran to DPRK, Chinese Ambassador Hu 
Xiaodi said the main difference between the cases was that 
progress with DPRK had been achieved when the North Koreans 
UNVIE VIEN 00000540  005 OF 005 
wanted something specific, whereas he (Hu) had never heard 
Iranian officials say that they wanted a settlement, or that 
they wanted anything specific.  Although we did not at 
present know "how" to reach a deal with Iran, Hu concluded, 
we were not in the worst situation, in which Iran explicitly 
does want something -- nuclear weapons.  Asked if he 
genuinely thought the DPRK would give up its weapons program 
for aid, Hu said "hope" (as opposed to "think.")   Ambassador 
Davies seriously questioned that Pyongyang would give up a 
weapons capability in exchange for a significant material 
improvement in our relations, as the government would likely 
calculate it had been its possession of weapons that won the 
18.  (SBU) Ambassador turned the discussion to the dynamic 
between groups of Member States, as illustrated in the 
ongoing discussion of a Technical Cooperation project to 
advance IAEA use of "results based management."  The German 
Ambassador observed that NAM positions on many issues were 
characterized by "myths" and they were clearly being dictated 
by Iran and Egypt.  Ambassador Davies asked if the dynamic 
was further charged by states beginning to suspect that the 
U.S. seriously intends to strengthen the Agency in all its 
functions -- with the uncertain shifts in practice and 
distribution of resources and clout that could mean. 
STAFFDEL lead Kessler said the Congressional perception was 
one of a "lightning change" from the last Administration to 
the present one in U.S. approaches to the IAEA, to 
development assistance globally, and to multilateralism. 
German Ambassador agreed and said this was a complication for 
NAM states that know they are the immobile ones now.  Yet, TC 
was a "sacred cow" and the NAM's impulse was to reject 
"illegitimate intrusion" into its distribution. 
19.  (SBU) French Charge Philippe Merlin discouraged STAFFDEL 
from expecting diplomatic gains, say in the NPT review, 
through greater generosity on IAEA peaceful use programs. 
"TC is the price we pay," he said, for developing countries' 
acquiescence toward the safeguards regime, the thing we 
really want.  Fite asked if a reasoned discussion with 
development officials in capitals about making TC deliver 
more impact could translate into different instructions to 
the obstreperous missions in Vienna.  German Ambassador took 
the view that any effort to change TC would be seen in 
capitals as "per se bad."  It was more advisable to advocate 
to NAM states what their own interests in the safeguards 
regime were.  UK Ambassador agreed there were no points to be 
scored by asking NAM capitals about TC effectiveness; he 
added that the UK Government "doesn't give two hoots" about 
TC, given the small funding level (from the UK Energy 
Ministry) in comparison to Britain's official development 
assistance.  TC was, also in the UK view, the price we pay 
for the IAEA we want. 
20.  (U) STAFFDEL did not review this report.