The Present Situation in Iran: Statement by Norwegian Director General Kåre Aas to the IAEA Board of Governors

March 8, 2006

Mr. Chairperson,

Let me congratulate us all on the Women's Day. Gender equality is a fundamental human right. It concerns women and men alike.

At the outset, I would like to thank and commend the Director General Dr. ElBaradei for yet another substantive and balanced contribution to our deliberation on this serious matter. The report circulated last week reflects the high quality and determination of the Secretariat.

Norway firmly supported the resolution adopted by this Board last month on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. This resolution reflected the deep international concern regarding Iran's nuclear activities. This is unfortunately still the case.

We regret that Iran has resumed uranium enrichment in Natanz. This goes contrary to the resolution adopted on 4 February as well as earlier resolutions of the Board.

As we conveyed to the Iranian authorities in Teheran two weeks ago, it is essential that Iran respond to these demands in a positive and constructive manner.

We would also like to commend and encourage the Russian Federation and the EU3 to continue their valuable efforts in exploring avenues for a diplomatic solution. Norway is ready to contribute to achieve a political solution on the basis of the Board decision last month.

On the report by the Director General, I have the following observations:

Firstly, we note that Iran has been more forthcoming in providing information and access to sites and key persons. Yet, there remain important uncertainties related to the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear programme. It is imperative that the IAEA is allowed to pursue its investigation of all remaining issues relevant to Iran's nuclear programme.

Secondly, we deplore Iran's recent resumption of uranium enrichment. We regret Iran's stated intention to discontinue its voluntary co-operation with the IAEA.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we note with concern the overall assessment contained in the report that the IAEA is still not in position to conclude that there are no undeclared materials and activities in Iran. As long this still is the case we remain concerned. As stated in the Director General's report, to draw such a conclusion is a time-consuming process, therefore the Agency must be enabled to conclude its work.

On this basis, we urge Iran to implement the demands set by the international community in the decision of this Board and return to the voluntary confidence building measures, such as suspension of all enrichment related activities, including research and development, and unhampered access to relevant sites, persons and documents. Until these concerns have been removed Iran must show more co-operation and transparency.

Mr. Chairperson

All States Parties to the NPT have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with Article IV of the Treaty. This right applies to Iran as well. Norway will continue to be a strong advocate of this right and that this right must be applied to all States Parties without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of the NPT.

Mr. Chairperson

At this juncture, there is a need to reach a long-lasting political negotiated solution with the framework of the IAEA. We consider the decision by the Board last month as an important step towards this end. The UN Security Council should reiterate the demands of the international community and give the IAEA the political backing required to achieve a long-lasting solution.

We must all refrain from unilateral steps which might aggravate the situation, and by that undermining diplomatic efforts.

To conclude,

We must intensify efforts to reach a long-term solution. it. We are convinced that this is the position of this Board, a position which should be conveyed to the Security Council.