THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS
BY DR. MOHAMED ELBARADEI
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
March 17, 2003
Our agenda for this meeting covers a broad range of issues, once again touching on all three Agency pillars - technology, safety and verification. I will discuss a number of topics related to each of these pillars, as well as a number of management issues.
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Visit to Iran Last month
I visited the Islamic Republic of Iran, at the invitation of the Government, to discuss its plans for the use of nuclear power as well as information that came to our knowledge last September concerning the development of nuclear fuel cycle facilities in Iran. My colleagues and I were able to visit a number of facilities - including a gas centrifuge enrichment pilot plant at Natanz that is nearly ready for operation, and a much larger enrichment facility still under construction at the same site.
During my visit, I emphasized to the Iranian authorities that it is important for all States, and particularly those with sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities, to be fully transparent in their use of nuclear technology. In this connection I stressed the value of bringing an additional protocol into force as an important tool for enabling the Agency to provide comprehensive assurances. During my meetings with President Khatami and other officials, Iran affirmed its obligations under the NPT to use all nuclear technology in the country exclusively for peaceful purposes, and to follow a policy of transparency. To this end it agreed to amend the Subsidiary Arrangements of its safeguards agreement, thereby committing Iran to provide design information on all new nuclear facilities at a much earlier date. And I was assured that the conclusion of an additional protocol will be actively considered. The Secretariat is currently discussing with the Iranian authorities a number of safeguards issues that need to be clarified, and actions that need to be taken.
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The Agency's verification role is currently in the spotlight, but the state-of-the-art verification regime we are trying to build will be effective only if all Member States fulfil their respective legal obligations. We are continuing to press for a comprehensive and effective nuclear safety regime - but pockets of weakness remain, in both the nuclear and the radiation safety areas. In the nuclear security area, the Secretariat has made intensive efforts to prepare and implement an action plan - which is already making a positive impact - but much remains to be done, including better control of radioactive sources. Nuclear technologies provide significant opportunities for economic and social development - but we need to work together to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of these technologies. In regard to all of our activities, I am reminded of the words of Adlai Stevenson in 1952, "There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls".