MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI (Iran) said that, in 1999, the IAEA General Conference, in acknowledgement of the rapid growth of energy demands worldwide, coupled with growing concerns over greenhouse gas emission, had requested the head of the Agency to pursue efforts to strengthen the Agency's technical cooperation activities aimed at improving scientific, technological and regulatory capabilities of developing countries, while continuing to assist those countries in the production of nuclear energy as a component of their energy mix for the twenty-first century. Further, the NPT had reaffirmed that important objective and had recognized the inalienable right of all States parties to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In fact, the inalienable right of all NPT States parties to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, without discrimination, constituted one of the three major pillars upon which the Treaty had been founded, he said. But, notwithstanding such requirements, the cooperation of developed countries -- the main suppliers of nuclear technology -- remained unsatisfactory. After nearly 50 years, the budget of the IAEA's technical cooperation section was perennially "unsteady", largely because it was funded through voluntary contributions and certain Member States placed restrictions on its allocations.
Today, he said, much of the world's nuclear power remained concentrated mainly in industrialized countries, creating an exclusive club of "nuclear haves", which effectively disrupted and hampered access by NPT developing countries to nuclear power and technology, under the pretext of the developing countries' concern about "non-proliferation". Moreover, there was a dangerous trend emerging in which countries not belonging to the NPT were not subjected to any international pressure to adhere to the requisite nuclear safeguards outlined by the Treaty. Instead, they appeared to be encouraged and even rewarded in different ways.
The Israeli regime, for example, had been allowed to acquire a large stockpile of nuclear weapons and to defy the international community's efforts to turn the volatile Middle East into a region free of nuclear weapons, he said. That regime, thus emboldened, was now audaciously leading "a masquerade of lies and deception" against Iran's peaceful nuclear programme. Iran, as the most recent victim of weapons of mass destruction, strongly believed the international community must ensure that the nightmare visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never befall the people of any other region. The only obvious guarantee was the total elimination of nuclear weapons as stipulated by the NPT and emphasized in an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, he declared.
But, as an interim measure, he said the international community must take all necessary steps to ensure the universality of the non-proliferation regime and the IAEA safeguards. Further, the IAEA could and should play a decisive role by pursuing a vigorously balanced and non-discriminatory application of the NPT and its own safeguards. Like all other parties to the NPT, Iran considered the pursuit and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be an inalienable right and had thus invested extensive human and material resources in that field. At the same time, Iran had repeatedly stated that nuclear and other weapons had no place in its defence doctrine.
Further, all the IAEA's reports since 2003 had indicated the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and the Agency had repeatedly reaffirmed that it had not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other explosive devises. Still, despite all those assertions, it had been regrettable that a politically motivated propaganda campaign launched in "certain circles" attempted to distort the facts. He stressed that Iran had demonstrated its readiness to resume negotiations, without preconditions, with its counterparts to assure them of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. To that end, Iran had responded in good faith to the package proposed by the "5 plus 1" group, with a view to providing a reasonable basis to build confidence through constructive negotiations.