Statement by Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith: International Patience over Iran’s Nuclear Intentions Running Out

February 8, 2010

Australia and the international community remain deeply concerned about the nature and intent of Iran's nuclear program.

President Ahmadinejad's call on 7 February for Iran to begin enriching uranium to 20 per cent is a serious provocation and would be a further clear breach of UN Security Council resolutions.

The international community has consistently called for Iran to uphold its non-proliferation obligations and act in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

These concerns were formally registered most recently in the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 27 November 2009 Board of Governor's resolution. Australia and the international community remain committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

The Australian Government welcomed talks in October last year between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (Permanent Five plus Germany).

Australia also regarded the IAEA's proposal to exchange Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) for processed fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor as a historic opportunity to reverse its path of confrontation with the international community. But Iran's continued provocations and refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue risks testing the patience of the international community. We urge Iran to accept the Tehran Research Reactor proposal, take concrete steps to build trust and confidence over its nuclear intentions and seize the opportunity for a fundamental change in Iran's dealing with the international community.

Iran must also suspend its uranium enrichment activities as required by the UN Security Council and cooperate fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues concerning its nuclear program.

Iran must understand that the international community will not wait indefinitely for Iran to fulfil its international obligations.

Australia already implements fully United Nations Security Council resolutions 1737,1747 and 1803, which impose sanctions on Iran.

Since October 2008, Australia has also imposed additional autonomous sanctions against Iran.

In the absence of positive engagement, Australia stands ready to support tough new measures against Iran, including additional UN Security Council sanctions and autonomous sanctions.

Australia fully supports the efforts of the United States and other members of the P5+1 to develop a new UN Security Council resolution in this respect. Australia will continue to take very seriously preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and implementing UN Security Council sanctions in full.