Shane Hensinger Case Study Design – The Intent of Iran’s Nuclear Program INTS 4735 Josef Korbel School

of International Studies – University of Denver

Abstract................................................................................3 Introduction..........................................................................3 Literature Review................................................................4
Information provided by a governmental source:............................................................5 Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence Council, National Intelligence Estimate: Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities..................5 IAEA, Information Circular: Communication dated 4 September 2009 received from the Resident Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency regarding the implementation of safeguards in Iran.....................................................................6 Information provided by a non-governmental source:.....................................................6 Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Front and Center; Iran’s Nuclear Program: Time to Negotiate.........................................................................................6 Institute of Science and International Security, Nuclear Iran: Not Inevitable: Essential Background and Recommendations for the Obama Administration............7 Arms Control Association, Chronology of Libya’s Disarmament and Relations with the United States..........................................................................................................8 The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Carrots for Iran? Lessons from Libya............................................................................................................................9 Institute for Science and International Security; Misconceptions about Iran’s Nuclear Program........................................................................................................10

Libya and Pakistan as a Multiple Case-Study...................10 Conclusion.........................................................................12 Works Cited.......................................................................14

2

Abstract
This case-study design is intended to present an introduction to the nature of the Iranian nuclear program – peaceful intent or non-peaceful intent. Using materials from a range of sources and a multiple case study looking at states which have developed nuclear weapons and those that have abandoned their nuclear weapons programs, the goal is to provide illumination into the intent of the Iranian nuclear program.

Introduction
Over the past five years many in the global community have expressed increasing concern over the intent of Iran’s nuclear program. Reams of data from many different sources, governmental as well as from non-governmental, have provided a wide range of differing conclusions on the intent of the Iranian nuclear program.

As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Iran is entitled to have a peaceful nuclear program (Text of the NPT). For the intents and purposes of this case-study design the research question is in the intent of Iran’s nuclear program. Numerous statements from Iran’s government pledge that Iran is pursuing an exclusively peaceful program. Statements from NGOs, intelligence agencies of various states (including the United States) and organs of the United Nations indicate that Iran has been duplicitous in its presentations on its nuclear program and has attempted to evade the controls of the NPT and its enforcing arm – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The implication of evasiveness on Iran’s part is that Iran if seeking to defy the IAEA then it has something to hide – which would be pursuing a nonpeaceful nuclear program.

3

The intent of Iran’s nuclear program is the essential research question in this case-study design. Using data provided by governmental and non-governmental sources this design will attempt to lay out the intentions of the Iranian government’s nuclear program using the framework provided by the NPT, including the inspections regime, as well as declarations by Iran and the intelligence reports and analysis of other states

The use of “intent” is intended to place a framework around the Iranian nuclear program which will define the intended outcome of the program. A nuclear program can be defined as having two purposes – peaceful (designed for research or the production of power) or military (designed for the accumulation of the nuclear by-products necessary to create a nuclear weapon).

The framework of the NPT is designed to allow the IAEA an unencumbered view into the state’s program in order to monitor its intent. States which allow an unencumbered inspections regime by the IAEA are considered to be in compliance with the protocols of the NPT and thus are not suspected of intending to pursue a non-peaceful nuclear program. States which do not, in this case Iran, are considered to be contravening the NPT and thus are under suspicion of pursuing a nuclear program for non-peaceful means. Iran’s intent will be illuminated by its compliance with demands from the IAEA and the United Nations Security Council as well as the analysis by the intelligence agencies of different states and NGOs as laid out in the literature review to follow.

Literature Review
The literature review portion of this case-study design will be broken out into two categories in order to allow a differentiation between sources:

4

1. Information provided by a governmental source (Iran, UN, US) 2. Information provided by an NGO or think-tank Each piece of literature used for this case-study design provides information designed to help clarify the intent of the Iranian nuclear program. In addition each piece of literature helps provide an framework for WHY Iran has chosen to either continue to not continue its nuclear weapons program.

Information provided by a governmental source:
Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence Council, National Intelligence Estimate: Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities
The unclassified portion of the United States National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities” attempted to answer 5 key questions, the first of which directly relates to the purposes of this project:

1. “What are Iran’s intentions toward developing nuclear weapons?”
The Estimate then provides an “explanation of estimative language” which gives a range from “remote” to “almost certainly” in relation to the assessments made by the National Intelligence Council concerning the Iranian nuclear program.

The report judges with “high confidence” that “Iran halted its nuclear weapons program” in fall 2003 and with “moderate to high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons” (Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities).

The report states that pressure from the international community is what led to the suspension of a nascent Iranian nuclear program, indicating that Iran uses a “cost-benefit approach rather than a

5

rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs” (Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities). This indicates that the leadership in Iran, at least according to American intelligence estimates, is guided by rationality vs. irrationality in the choices it is making regarding its foreign policy as influenced by outside actors.

IAEA, Information Circular: Communication dated 4 September 2009 received from the Resident Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency regarding the implementation of safeguards in Iran.
In September 2009 the Representative of the Iran to the IAEA provided a response to the IAEA’s last report on the implementation of safeguards designed to prevent the divergence of Iran’s nuclear materials from peaceful to non-peaceful purposes.

In this report Iran notes its cooperation with the IAEA in improved safety measures at its Natanz enrichment facility and the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, its cooperation with unannounced inspections, the agency’s verification of the “non-diversion of declared nuclear materials in Iran and the agency’s note of “no indications of ongoing reprocessing related activities” (IAEA 3).

Iran continues to claim that it is in compliance with IAEA demands for inspections and that it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons.

Information provided by a non-governmental source:
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Front and Center; Iran’s Nuclear Program: Time to Negotiate.
The Center for Arms Control and Negotiation makes very clear in its report on Iran’s nuclear program that it feels Iran does not pose a threat to the United States, that it will be “more than a decade” until Iran can develop nuclear weapons and that resolving the nuclear dispute should involve only negotiation and diplomacy and not the use of force.

6

In its report the Center asks, in reference to US intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, “how credible is the intelligence?” It answers this question by saying that US intelligence on Iran “is as bad or worse than it was in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion” (Iran’s Nuclear Program).

The report goes on to state that only through the use of diplomacy involving the P5+1 (Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States), the IAEA and the United Nations Security Council can Iran’s nuclear program be constrained. Military force, as the US practiced in Iraq, is not a viable option (Iran’s Nuclear Program).

Institute of Science and International Security, Nuclear Iran: Not Inevitable: Essential Background and Recommendations for the Obama Administration
Iran’s nuclear program has advanced due to disorganization in the P5+1. While Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon it is “within striking distance of breakout capability” (the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon). The Institute of Science and International Security (ISS) recommends a roadmap to resolving the issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Increase sanctions Hold direct talks Recommit to incentive package Seek improved transparency from Iran Take steps towards diplomatic relations Engage Russia and China Support regional arms control and security arrangements Establish regional constraints on nuclear energy Oppose a military solution

ISS offers a look at the nuclear histories of Pakistan and South Africa as possible predictors of Iran’s possible moves in the future. In this portion of the report it is emphasized that “once the goalposts are set that enrichment is acceptable, as in the case of Pakistan, it is near impossible to move them” (Albright 15).

7

ISS judges it “enormously difficult” for any intelligence agency to predict whether Iran’s nuclear program has resumed “nuclear weaponization activities since 2003” (Albright 15). Despite the judgment of the United States in 2007 that Iran halted nuclear weaponization in 2003 ISS concludes that “halting work in 2003 would not cause a significant delay in actually building a nuclear weapon at the appropriate time, once Iran had accumulated enough highly enriched uranium and made a decision to build a nuclear weapon” (Albright 15).

Arms Control Association, Chronology of Libya’s Disarmament and Relations with the United States.
The case of Libya’s nuclear program provides an interesting parallel with that of Iran’s. The Arms Control Association lays out a chronology of Libya’s nuclear program including dates of sanctions imposed in response to Libya’s sponsorship of terrorism – this is important because it appears sanctions were instrumental in convincing Libya to stop sponsoring terrorism and give up its nuclear weapons program.

• •

• • • •
• • •


1975: Libya Ratifies the NPT (Crail 1) 1978 – 1981: Libya purchases 2,000 tons of lightly processed uranium from Niger. Soviet Union completes a 10 megawatt nuclear research reactor in Libya (Crail 1). 1979: US places Libya on list of countries sponsoring terrorism. 1980: Libya completes safeguard agreement with IAEA and enter into force. Safeguard agreement is designed to allow inspections to verify non-weaponization intent of nuclear program. Libya subsequently violates agreement and pursues “clandestine nuclear activities related to both uranium enrichment and plutonium separation” (Crail 1). 1986: US imposes additional sanctions on Libya (Crail 1). 1988 – 1989: Libyan agents bomb US and French airliners resulting in the deaths of more than 400 people (Crail 2). 1992: UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Libya as a result of its sponsorship of terrorism (Crail 2). 1993: Sanctions are tightened by the UN Security Council and include arms and air travel restrictions (Crail 2). 1995: Libya makes “strategic decision to invigorate its nuclear weapons program” (Crail 2). 1996: US tightens sanctions against Libya including penalties on any companies investing more than $40 million in Libya’s oil industry (Crail 2). 1999: Libya hand over suspects in earlier plane bombings and discuss with the US giving up its chemical weapons program. In response Security Council suspends sanctions. (Crail 2) 2000: US Intelligence estimates Libya is taking steps to “reinvigorate” its chemical weapons program (Crail 2). 2001: Libyan agents convicted of earlier airplane bombings. US accuses Libya, by name, of attempting to produce biological weapons (Crail 2).

8

• • •

2002: US sanctions tightened further, threshold for imposition of sanctions on companies investing in Libyan oil industry lowered to $20 million (Crail 2). 2003: US invades Iraq, less than a month after invasion Libyan officials approach the British about eliminating their WMD programs, US subsequently offers to resume full diplomatic relations with Libya if it “comes clean” on it’s WMD program (Crail 2) 2004: German and Italian authorities inspect and seize ship carrying prohibited centrifuges for uranium enrichment to Libya. Subsequently Libya publically renounces its WMD program. US, British and IAEA officials verify dismantlement of Libyan WMD program. US resumes diplomatic relations with Libya (Crail 3).

While Libya did sign IAEA safeguard accords it managed to evade detection by the IAEA of attempts to weaponize its program. This is a cautionary note that no safeguards regime is foolproof. “The factors that induced Libya to give up its weapons programs are debatable. Bush administration officials have emphasized the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as the October 2003 interdiction of a ship containing nuclear-related components destined for Libya, as key factors in Libya’s decision. But outside experts argue that years of diplomatic efforts were more important” (Crail 1).

Looking at the chronology of events surround Libya’s program one can see that throughout the years covered there was consistent pressure applied to Libya by the US and the international community as a result of its policy of supporting international terrorism. We can also see that Libya, despite its claims to the contrary and including its signing of the NPT, was actively engaged in an attempt to develop a weaponized nuclear program.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Carrots for Iran? Lessons from Libya.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy argues that Libya gave up its weapons program in exchange for normalization of relations with the United States. Stating “Sticking to your guns works” the Institute urges a steadfast policy of sanctions and the willingness to use force (as

9

demonstrated by the US invasion of Iraq) towards Iran will eventually produce the same results as produced by US policy towards Libya (Clawson).

Institute for Science and International Security; Misconceptions about Iran’s Nuclear Program
There are a multitude of misconceptions about Iran’s nuclear program and its intentions.

I. Iran’s IAEA safeguards violations were minor breaches and fully in the past. “Iran’s
violation of its obligations under the verification requirements of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is one of most significant breaches of this treaty” (Albright 1) II. All of Iran’s nuclear facilities are under safeguards or monitoring, or alternatively the IAEA has found no evidence that Iran has any secret nuclear facilities “Many [of Iran’s] key nuclear activities and facilities are not under any type of IAEA monitoring. This lack of Iranian transparency poses one of the most difficult challenges to determining whether Iran has undeclared nuclear activities and materials and is conducting nuclear weapons work” (Albright 1) III. Iran is full in compliance with its safeguard obligations. “Even under the relatively minimal requirements agreed under INFCIRC/153 and its implementing agreements, Iran has refused multiple IAEA requests to verify design information for the Arak heavy water reactor and its associated facilities currently under construction” (Albright 1) IV. Iran would need to conduct a full-scale nuclear test in order to build a nuclear weapon. “Developing an implosion-type nuclear weapon can be done without needing a full-scale test.” “Most states pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program have sought to avoid the need for full-scale testing (South Africa, Pakistan)” (Albright 1) V. Iran does not currently posses nuclear weapons capability “Iran’s gas centrifuge program is currently large enough to provide Iran several ways to produce weapon-grade uranium. The time needed to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon is measured in months or a few years at most” (Albright 1)

Libya and Pakistan as a Multiple Case-Study
The previous literature review section looked at a number of different elements of Iran’s nuclear program in order to judge intent. Different hypothesis from different actors offered differing conclusions – the United States judged, with reasonable certainty, that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons. Iran itself stated it was not developing nuclear weapons. ISIS stated that Iran’s breaches of its obligations under the NPT were serious and concluded that Iran could be developing nuclear weapons.

10

The case of the Libyan WMD program provides a useful comparison for the current case of Iran. Libya, as Iran, is a signatory to the NPT. Libya also breached its obligations under the NPT and developed a parallel nuclear weapons development program while at the same time assuring the world community and the IAEA that it was pursuing exclusively peaceful methods of nuclear research (Crail 1). Libya availed itself of the same suppliers used by Iran (the Khan network operating from Pakistan) to supply its illegal and parallel program. The issue explored in this case-study design is intent. States have an obligation under international law to abide by treaties to which they are signatories and both Iran and Libya are signatories to the NPT. Duplicitous actions are therefore taken as signs of intent to evade the rules and restrictions imposed by the treaty. Past cases of states which were signatories to the NPT, namely the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Libya, which have attempted to evade the rules have shown those states were intent on pursuing nuclear weapons programs. Yet Libya eventually chose to abandon its nuclear weapons program while the DPRK withdrew from the NPT and exploded a nuclear weapon some time later.

The case of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program provides a second example with which we can contrast Iran’s program and its intent. Pakistan was not a member of the NPT (while Iran is) which means there was less room for the international community to pressure Pakistan – that burden mainly fell on the United States. The US pressured Pakistan and convinced France not to sell Pakistan a nuclear reactor but Pakistan, led by its chief weapons scientist A.Q. Khan, managed to steal plans from the Netherlands and built its own reactor (Albright 15). After this the US “essentially gave up trying to end Pakistan’s uranium enrichment program and accepted its existence” (Albright 15). By accepting Pakistan’s enrichment program the US essentially gave

11

Pakistan a green light to continue producing the supplies of enriched uranium necessary to produce a weapon.

The two examples looked at so far, Libya and Pakistan, are instructive in that they teach us the following about a state which is attempting to evade IAEA safeguards, as in the case of Libya, or which has begun a nuclear enrichment program outside the NPT regime, as in the case of Pakistan:

• • •

Once a state is given the message that an enrichment program is acceptable it is impossible to get it to stop. Pakistan is a prime example (Albright 16). Consistently applied international pressure can be effective in convincing a regime to halt or abandon its weapons program entirely (Albright 16). States which maintain hidden weapons enrichment sites, secret uranium mining facilities or secret research facilities are doing so because they have something to hide. The cases of the DPRK, Libya and Pakistan are all instructive in this regard (Albright 16).

Conclusion
This case study is designed to research the question of the intent of Iran’s nuclear program using analysis from the intelligence gathered by governmental agencies and by NGOs. The literature review section utilized statements from the Iranian government, the IAEA and the United States government as well as reports written by numerous non-governmental sources.

To test the hypothesis of the case study multiple cases were chosen of states which have previously been in violation of the NPT (Libya) as well as contravening the laws of the United States regarding nuclear proliferation (Pakistan). Both states were chosen to allow a comparison between a state which ended up abandoning its nuclear weapons program (Libya) and one which went on to develop nuclear weapons (Pakistan). Utilizing this case-study design will allow a

12

researcher to move closer to developing hypotheses on the intent of Iran’s nuclear program using historical multiple case-studies as well as the current literature available on this subject.

13

Works Cited
Albright, David, and Jacqueline Shire. "Misconceptions about Iran’s Nuclear Program." Nucleariran. ISIS, 8 July 2009. Web. 8 Nov. 2009. <http://isis-online.org/>. Albright, David, Jacqueline Shire, Paul Brannan, and Andrea Scheel. Nuclear Iran: Not Inevitable. Rep. Washington, DC: Institute for Science and International Security, 2009. Print. Bollfrass, Alex. "Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Iran." Country Resources. Arms Control Association, 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://armscontrol.org/>. Clawson, Patrick. Carrots for Iran? Lesson from Libya. Issue brief no. 928. Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2005. Print. Clawson, Patrick. Influencing Iran's Nuclear Activities through Major Power Cooperation. Issue brief no. 936. Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2004. Print. Crail, Peter. "Chronology of Libya's Disarmament and Relations with the United States." Arms Control Association: the authoritative source on arms control. Arms Control Association, 1 May 2008. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://armscontrol.org/>. Crail, Peter. "Iran?s Outstanding Nuclear Issues at a Glance." Arms Control Association: the authoritative source on arms control. Arms Control Association, 14 July 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://armscontrol.org/>. Current Status of Iran's Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Program. Issue brief. Washington, DC: The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, 2009. Print. IAEA. Communication dated 4 September 2009 received from the Resident Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency regarding the implementation of safeguards in

14

Iran. IAEA: Documents and Reports. IAEA, 7 Sept. 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/2009/infcirc768.pdf>. Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities. Issue brief. Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council, 2007. Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities. National Intelligence Council, Nov. 2007. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf>. Iran's Nuclear Program: Time to Negotiate. Issue brief. Washington, DC: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, 2007. Print. "Text of the NPT." Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). United Nations, 2002. Web. 7 Nov. 2009. <http://www.un.org/Depts/dda/WMD/treaty/>.

15

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful