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The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program.[1] The participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.[2]

After the 1979 revolution, a clandestine nuclear weapons research program was disbanded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who considered such weapons forbidden under Muslim ethics and jurisprudence.[3] Small scale research into nuclear weapons may have restarted during the Iran-Iraq War, and underwent significant expansion after the Ayatollah's death in 1989.[4]

Iran's nuclear program has included several research sites, two uranium mines, a research reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include three known uranium enrichment plants. [5]

Iran's first nuclear power plant, Bushehr I reactor was complete with major assistance of Russian government agency Rosatom and officially opened on 12 September 2011.[6] Iran has announced that it is working on a new 360 MW nuclear power plant to be located inDarkhovin. The Russian engineering contractor Atomenergoprom said the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would reach full capacity by the end of 2012.[7] Iran has also indicated that it will seek more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future.[8]

In November 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors criticized Iran after an IAEA report concluded that before 2003 Iran likely had undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability.[9] The IAEA report details allegations that Iran conducted studies related to nuclear weapons design, including detonator development, the multiple-point initiation of high explosives, and experiments involving nuclear payload integration into a missile delivery vehicle.[10] A number of Western nuclear experts have stated there was very little new in the report, that it primarily concerned Iranian activities prior to 2003, [11] and that media reports exaggerated its significance.[12] Iran rejected the details of the report and accused the IAEA of pro-Western bias.[13] And threatened to reduce its cooperation with the IAEA.[14] [15]


A Briefing on Iran's Nuclear Program