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.
. . .
Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Last November, the Secretariat provided to the Board a comprehensive report on the AgencyÂ´s verification of Iran's compliance with its NPT safeguards obligations and its voluntary suspension of enrichment and reprocessing related activities. Since that report, Iran has facilitated Agency access under its safeguards agreement and additional protocol to nuclear material and facilities, and has also provided access to other locations in the country, including a transparency visit to a military site. We have continued to implement the measures of the additional protocol by reviewing declarations made by Iran and conducting complementary access and other verification activities. The Agency has also continued its verification of IranÂ´s voluntary suspension of enrichment and reprocessing related activities. The Agency has been making progress in two important issues, regarding the origin of the contamination on equipment at various locations in Iran in cooperation with the country concerned, and regarding follow-up on information provided by Iran on its centrifuge programmes. The Deputy Director General for Safeguards will provide more details on our verification activities in Iran. As the Agency continues to work towards completing its assessment of all outstanding issues related to IranÂ´s nuclear programme, I would encourage Iran to provide full transparency with respect to all of its nuclear activities, by providing in full detail and in a prompt manner all information that could shed light on some of the outstanding issues. In some cases, the receipt of information is still pending, which in turn delays our work. As I mentioned at the last Board meeting, in view of the past undeclared nature of significant aspects of IranÂ´s nuclear programme, a confidence deficit has been created, and it is therefore essential that Iran works closely with the Agency in a proactive manner in order for us to build the necessary confidence and achieve the required degree of assurance.
. . .
NPT Review Conference
In May, the NPT Review Conference will have an opportunity to review the efficacy of the Treaty. In light of recent developments - particularly the dissemination of nuclear technology and the growing interest of extremist groups in acquiring nuclear and radiological material - it is my hope that the parties to the Treaty will make a start towards defining specific courses of action that will strengthen the non-proliferation regime and accelerate the nuclear arms control and disarmament process.
To that end, last year I convened a group of experts to study various options for establishing multilateral control or oversight over proliferation sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle - specifically, those related to the enrichment of uranium, the separation of plutonium, and the disposition of spent fuel. Last week, the group submitted its report (INFCIRC/640), in which it identifies a number of approaches for further consideration. I will await your views and that of the NPT Review Conference on the group's recommendations before proceeding further.
Medium Term Strategy You have before you a report on the Agency's Medium Term Strategy (MTS) for 2006-2011 - a document that reflects a successful process of interaction between the Secretariat and the working group established by the Board for this purpose, and ably chaired by Ambassador Jenkins of the United Kingdom. The lessons learned over the past five years, as well as the changes in the AgencyÂ´s environment and associated evolution in priorities, have been taken into account in the formulation of this new MTS. The strategy should serve as an important tool for guiding the development of the Agency's programme and budget proposals; and it should enable the Agency to respond dynamically to changing times and circumstances.
. . .
The recent report of the UN Secretary-GeneralÂ´s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change had this to say about the Agency: "As the institutional embodiment of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and of considerable long-term success in preventing widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency - with its regular budget of less than $275 million - stands out as an extraordinary bargain." In my view, this is equally valid in terms of our activities in nuclear safety and nuclear technology transfer. The fact that we are held in such esteem is a testament to both the work of the Secretariat and naturally the support we receive from you. I am grateful for that support, and trust that it will continue.