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[Page 335]

115. National Security Decision Memorandum 2921


  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Administrator, Energy Research and Development Administration


  • U.S.–Iran Nuclear Cooperation

The President has reviewed the study directed by NSSM 219 and has noted the comments and recommendations of the agencies.2 The President has decided that in negotiating an Agreement on Cooperation in the Civil Uses of Atomic Energy with the Government of Iran, the U.S. shall:

—Permit U.S. material to be fabricated into fuel in Iran for use in its own reactors and for pass-through to third countries with whom we have Agreements.

—Agree to set the fuel ceiling at a level reflecting the approximate number of nuclear reactors planned for purchase from U.S. suppliers. We would, as a fallback, be prepared to increase the ceiling to cover Iran’s full nuclear requirement under the proviso that the fuel represents Iran’s entitlement from their proposed investment in an enrichment facility in the U.S. Any additional entitlement could be disposed of by Iran without importing the material into that country through sales from the United States to appropriate third countries with whom the U.S. has bilateral Agreements for Cooperation.

—Continue to require U.S. approval for reprocessing of U.S. supplied fuel, while indicating that the establishment of a multinational reprocessing plant would be an important factor favoring such approval. [Page 336]As a fallback, we could inform the Government of Iran that we shall be prepared to provide our approval for reprocessing of U.S. material in a multinational plant in Iran if the country supplying the reprocessing technology or equipment is a full and active participant in the plant, and holding open the possibility of U.S. participation. The standard provision requiring mutual agreement as to safeguardability shall apply. An expression of U.S. willingness to explore cooperation in establishing such a facility at an appropriate time should Iran so desire, may be made.3

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, National Security Decision Memoranda and National Security Study Memoranda, Box 1, NSDM 292. Secret. A copy was sent to the Director of Central Intelligence.
  2. The undated NSSM 219 study noted that the key provision at issue on nuclear cooperation with Iran was the U.S. “right to determine where any plutonium produced through the use of U.S. materials and equipment can be reprocessed, fabricated or stored.” The study presented five options: 1) to insist upon this right; 2) to indicate willingness to approve if Iran constructed a safeguarded multinational plant; 3) to retain the U.S. right of veto over reprocessing but drop the multilateral condition and approve Iranian reprocessing in a safeguarded facility; 4) to drop the U.S. veto over reprocessing if assured that it would be performed in a multinational regional facility; and 5) to accord Iran the same right to reprocess given all other nations save Israel and Egypt. (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files, Box 34, NSSM 219) NSSM 219 is Document 113.
  3. Subsequent to a meeting of the Verification Panel on April 19, Elliott had sent Kissinger an action memorandum recommending this position, which had the approval of all agencies. (Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files, Box 34, NSSM 219) The record of the meeting of the Verification Panel is ibid., Box 4, Verification Panel Meeting, 4/19/75—Non-Proliferation.