Updated February 2022
The Additional Protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its task of confirming that states are using nuclear material for solely peaceful purposes. The Additional Protocol is a voluntary agreement and each agreement is independently constructed between a state and the IAEA. Enforcement, however, is the responsibility of the participating states, not the IAEA.
The model Additional Protocol was adopted May 15, 1997.
In response to attempts by Iraq and North Korea to obtain Weapons of Mass Destruction in the early 90s, the IAEA created a new, more intrusive standard for monitoring and verifying that a state’s nuclear program is for solely peaceful purposes. Signing the Additional Protocol is voluntary, though the IAEA highly recommends all signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ratify an Additional Protocol agreement. States ratify Additional Protocol agreements in order to strengthen the non-proliferation regime or to satisfy requirements imposed by other states in return for peaceful nuclear cooperation.
As of December 2021, 152 states have signed an Additional Protocol agreement and 138 of them have implemented the agreement.
Iran’s History with the Additional Protocol:
Iran negotiated an Additional Protocol agreement with the IAEA in 2003, which was signed but never ratified. Though never ratified, Iran implemented the Additional Protocol from 2003 to 2006 before announcing it would no longer implement the agreement. In January 2016, Iran provisionally implemented its Additional Protocol in accordance with the terms of the Iran Deal. However, Iran suspended implementation of the Additional Protocol in February 2021—at the direction of its parliament—following almost three years of unilateral maximum pressure sanctions imposed by the United States.
Specifics of the Additional Protocol:
More Information: information on all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle
- In addition to the required declarations for nuclear fuel and fuel‐cycle activity, states will provide information on nuclear-related activities including fissile material production, fuel-cycle research, and nuclear waste.
- State must report all trade of items listed on a “Trigger List” for nuclear weapons research and development.
More Access: complementary access to nuclear and suspected nuclear facilities
- Includes complementary (pre-approved) access to any facility, declared or not, on short notice to investigate suspicious nuclear activity.
- Streamlined credential process (within one month) to ensure inspectors receive “multiple entry/exit” visas for at least one year.
- Environmental sampling at declared and undeclared sites, not confined to specific facilities.
With a Deal:
Under the final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran, Iran will implement its Additional Protocol agreement, which has no sunset clauses.
Without a Deal:
Inspectors would lose access to Iran’s facilities and nuclear materials, providing a better opportunity for Iran to covertly build a nuclear weapon.
While some aspects of the Additional Protocol are present in the Framework Agreement, (monitoring fissile material stockpiles from cradle to grave, inspections, information regarding fuel cycle research), the signing of the Additional Protocol represents the continuation of these monitoring and verification provisions long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented. If ratification is realized under a revived nuclear deal (as was agreed to in 2015), the increased access to facilities (both declared and not) and information provided in perpetuity by the IAEA’s Additional Protocol will provide hedges against nuclear proliferation that will abide long after the JCPOA lapses.