Introductory Statement by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to the IAEA Board of Governors (Excerpts)

March 3, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

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Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran

You have before you my report on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I trust the Security Council will take its findings and conclusions into account during its current deliberations. As you will recall, the Agency learned in 2003 through its inspection activities that Iran had been conducting undeclared nuclear experiments and activities for almost two decades. That created a confidence deficit on the part of the international community. It also left the Agency with the daunting task of having to reconstruct a history of almost two decades of undeclared experiments and other activities. The key issue was to establish the scope and nature of the enrichment programme, which was the most advanced of Iran´s sensitive nuclear activities at that time and which led to the referral of Iran´s nuclear programme to the Security Council.

For around two years, Iran agreed to apply the provisions of the Additional Protocol, which helped to provide clarity about some of its nuclear activities. However, Iran´s announcement that it would cease implementing the Additional Protocol after the matter was referred to the Security Council made the task of the Agency much more complex, with regard to verifying both Iran´s past and present activities.

Last August, Iran agreed to a work plan with the Secretariat to clarify all remaining outstanding issues about its past activities and, to that end, to apply the necessary transparency measures required by the Agency. As a result, the Agency was able, as I reported to you in November, to clarify important outstanding issues regarding the scope and nature of Iran´s declared enrichment programme - the acquisition of P-1 and P-2 centrifuge technologies.

As you can see from the present report, the Agency has since then been able to clarify all but one of the remaining outstanding issues, as identified in the work plan, relevant to Iran´s past activities. Although we continue to seek corroboration of our findings and to verify the completeness of Iran´s declarations, the Agency´s technical judgment is that these issues are no longer outstanding at this stage. This is obviously encouraging.

However, the one outstanding issue that is relevant to Iran´s past activities is the so-called alleged studies involving possible weaponization activities. These alleged studies, which are among the issues which the Security Council directed the Agency to clarify, came to the Agency´s attention in 2005.

After a period during which Iran was reluctant to fully discuss this issue, Iran finally agreed in the work plan to address it. Iran continues to maintain that these alleged studies either relate to conventional weapons only, or are fabricated. However, a full-fledged examination of this issue has yet to take place. The Agency has shared technical information with Iran on all allegations since 2005, and showed Iran actual documentation on the alleged Green Salt Project in 2006. However, the Agency was authorised only as recently as early February 2008 to show Iran actual documentation on the alleged high explosive studies, and only in mid-February 2008 to show Iran the documentation and material relevant to the alleged missile re-entry vehicle.

The Agency will follow the required due process in continuing to clarify both the authenticity of the documentation related to the alleged studies, to the extent possible, and the substantive matters concerned. I should add, however, that the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard. I urge Iran to be as active and as cooperative as possible in working with the Agency to clarify this matter of serious concern. This is necessary to enable the Agency to make a determination about the nature and scope of all of Iran´s past nuclear activities.

With respect to Iran´s present nuclear activities, although Iran has not agreed to implement the Additional Protocol as required by the Security Council, it has agreed to provide certain information to which the Agency would have been entitled under the Protocol, in particular with regard to R&D work on enrichment and laser activities.

As stated in the report, the Agency needs Iran to implement fully the Additional Protocol on a comprehensive and sustained basis to enable the Agency to start making progress - once the alleged studies have been clarified - in providing assurances about the nature of Iran´s current nuclear activities and in confirming the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. Assurances by the Agency about the past and present nuclear activities are key to the process of restoring confidence in the nature of Iran´s nuclear programme.

As the Board is aware, and contrary to the call by the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities and continues with R&D on more efficient centrifuges. This is regrettable. I should note, in this regard, that the Agency has not observed any increase in the number of centrifuges in operation since I reported to you last November and that the level of feed is well below capacity.

I continue to call upon Iran to work with the Security Council to meet its requirements for building the necessary confidence about Iran´s future nuclear activities. Building confidence in the future is a matter that goes beyond inspection. To that end, I hope that conditions will be created at the earliest possible date for a resumption of negotiations between Iran and the relevant parties.

As the Security Council made clear, the goal should be a comprehensive agreement "for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran´s nuclear programme." This cooperation would include regional security, trade and investment, civil aviation, energy, telecommunications and agriculture. It is my belief that only through negotiations can confidence be created and a comprehensive and durable solution to the Iran question achieved. This would be good for Iran, good for the region and good for the world.

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