Thank you, Mr. Chairperson
1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the EFTA country Iceland, a member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this statement.
2. The EU would like to thank the Director General for his latest report on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2006/53). We commend the Director General and the Secretariat for their continuing efforts to seek clarifications from Iran and to verify its nuclear programme.
3. In this context, it is important to bear in mind that the EU does not question the right of Iran to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with its obligations under the NPT. The EU reaffirms the rights of all NPT State Parties in compliance with the non-proliferation and safeguards obligations to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with Article IV of the NPT.
4. The EU, however, notes with serious concern that no progress has been made by Iran in facilitating the resolution of several important verification issues that still remain unanswered. These relate in particular to the origin of HEU and LEU particle contamination found at various locations in Iran, the extent and the nature of Iran's P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programmes, Iran's plutonium separation experiments and its activities involving possible military dimension. Our concerns are not alleviated by the most recent information in the Director General's report that new environmental samples have indicated the presence of new HEU particles at yet another location.
5. The EU also notes with concern that Iran has not provided the Agency with full access to certain information and facilities, contrary to its safeguards obligations under the NPT. According to the Director General's report, Iran continues to still decline Agency access to certain operating records at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). We would appreciate clarification from the Secretariat, whether this Iranian lack of co-operation constitutes another safeguards breach in addition to those that were reported to the Board in 2003.
6. The EU takes a serious view of the Director General's assessment that, after nearly four years of intense inspections, the Agency remains unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations with a view to confirming the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. The EU fully endorses the view of the Director General that full transparency and openness on the part of Iran is indispensable and overdue, and that, given Iran's past concealment efforts over many years, such transparency should extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguard Agreement and Additional Protocol.
7. The EU fully supports UN Security Council Resolution 1696, which, inter alia, made it mandatory for Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development. Suspension is no longer a voluntary confidence-building measure, but an international obligation. The EU regrets that instead of suspending its activities, Iran started to feed UF6 into the 164-machine cascade just days before the Director General issued his report.
8. The EU recalls that acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UN Security Council expressed its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA process. The UN Security Council, inter alia, called upon Iran to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations.
9. The EU deeply regrets that, as demonstrated by the Director General's report, Iran has not fulfilled the obligations established by the UN Security Council Resolution, nor taken the steps required by the Board of Governors. Iran has not established full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related activities, as required. It has not reconsidered its decision to construct a heavy water reactor at Arak. It has not acted in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and it has not implemented the requested transparency measures.
10. The EU reiterates its view that prompt and full Iranian compliance with the relevant international obligations and other requirements would facilitate negotiations for a diplomatic solution. The EU encourages once again Iran to engage positively with regard to the proposals made by six countries, with the support of the European Union's High Representative, for a long-term comprehensive arrangement. This would open the way to a new relationship and co-operation with Iran, including in the nuclear field, and to establishing the necessary confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. Suspending all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities is an essential part of such confidence building.
11. The EU recalls the intention of the Security Council expressed in Resolution 1696 to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in case Iran had not complied with the resolution by 31 August, while noting that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary. The EU urges Iran to seize the diplomatic opportunity by fully suspending all enrichment-related activities. This would allow the commencement of serious negotiations with Iran. The EU, on its part, has clearly stated its readiness for further dialogue with Iran.
12. The EU welcomes the recent meetings between EU High Representative Javier Solana and Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Dr. Ali Larijani on 9 and 10 September. Both sides have described the meetings as productive and have expressed intention to meet again in the very near future. The EU fully supports these efforts and expects Iran to take the steps required by Resolution 1696 in order to allow for negotiations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson
* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.