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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The IAEA continues its nuclear
safety-related activities with Iran in anticipation of the
start-up of the Bushehr nuclear power reactor. The Iranian
Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA) requested a safety peer
review mission from the IAEA in mid 2008 (ref A). INRA
prepared a self-assessment in advance of the mission, per
IAEA guidance, and the IAEA performed a preparatory mission
in Tehran in July 2009. The IAEA mission itself is scheduled
to take place February 20 ) March 2, 2010. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Msnoff met recently with David Graves, an AmCit
working in the Regulatory Activities Section of the IAEA's
Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, who is in charge
of the Iranian Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS)
mission. Graves reports that INRA prepared its
self-assessment preceding the mission in accordance with IAEA
guidance. Iran submitted the self-assessment to the IAEA for
review in April 2009. He stated that the document was weak
technically (i.e., brief, not fulsome and not technically
detailed) but said such low quality is very common for a
developing Member State that is new to nuclear power and the
IRRS process. He said this self-assessment did not stand out
as any worse than some of the others he had reviewed, and the
IAEA met with INRA officials in Vienna in April 2009 to
discuss improvements to the assessment.

3. (C) Graves led a preparatory mission to Tehran in July

2009. He was accompanied by the IRRS team leader, Ms. Olina
Mykolaichuk, who is head of the Ukrainian regulatory body,
and Mr. Jean-Paul Samain, from the Belgian regulatory body.
The purpose of the trip was to review the revised safety
assessment and discuss preparations for the upcoming IRRS
mission. Typically these preparatory meetings are only two
days, but this mission extended to four. Graves stated that
this extra time was needed because there had been a change in
the head of the safety department in INRA. The new head, Mr.
Kamarn Sepanloo, was not familiar with the process and much
of the information that was covered in the April meeting had
to be reviewed.



4. (C) The IRRS mission will be conducted February 20 to
March 2, 2010. Graves will be the only IAEA member of the
peer review team. There will be 8 other team members, coming
from the regulatory bodies in Ukraine, Belgium, Czech
Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland.

5. (C) Graves stated that INRA was pushing for there to be a
Russian on the team. However, Graves felt because the
Russians were so heavily involved in the building and
prospective operation of the Bushehr facilities, that they
would be biased. Graves argued that this should be a truly
independent peer review.

6. (C) IAEA,s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) has been pushing
the Regulatory Affairs Section to incorporate a
representative from OLA on IRRS missions. Until recently,
the eighth member of the Iran IRRS team was supposed to come
from OLA. This would have been the first mission in which
OLA participated. However, recently the OLA officer backed
out. Graves did not know why OLA backed out or why the
office did not find a replacement. Graves is now looking
instead for a replacement from Slovakia. (COMMENT: UNVIE
will seek further insight from OLA as to their posture toward



7. (C) IAEA encourages all Member States that receive an IRRS
mission to allow the IAEA to make the report of the mission
available to other Member States. This is one of the
advantages to having the missions -- so that other countries
can learn best practices. Graves stated he is encouraging
Iran to allow for release of its report. Iranian officials,
however, made no commitment and stated that they did not plan
to make any decision in this regard until after the report
was finalized.

8. (C) COMMENT: Iran will certainly gauge whether the final
IRRS report is positive for Iran before considering whether
to release it publicly. It is likely that a Slovakian
representative will participate in the Iranian IRRS. Both
Graves and IAEA TC Program manager Fathi Kangi have indicated
that the recent European Commission interpretation of the
EU-imposed sanctions in light of Iran's violation of its IAEA
and UNSC obligations (ref A) did not prohibit participation
in an IRRS mission. END COMMENT.