Statement by Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to the Sixty-Third Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly (Excerpts)

October 28, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

We meet at a time of heightened anxiety and insecurity in the world. The global financial crisis is hitting rich and poor countries alike, but the poorest of the poor - the so-called "bottom billion" - are particularly vulnerable.

Concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the possibility of extremist groups getting hold of nuclear or radioactive material has not diminished in the 12 months since I last spoke to the General Assembly.

The work of the IAEA is at the nexus of development and security. In this context, I will give you an update on the work of the Agency in the last year and highlight some of the challenges which need to be addressed.

. . .

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

Six years have elapsed since the Agency began working to clarify Iran´s nuclear programme. Substantial progress has been made under a work plan agreed with Iran to clarify outstanding issues, including the nature of Iran´s enrichment activities. The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.

However, I regret that we are still not in a position to achieve full clarity regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. This is because the Agency has not been able to make substantive progress on the so-called alleged studies and associated questions relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran´s nuclear programme.

I reiterate that the Agency does not in any way seek to "pry" into Iran´s conventional or missile-related military activities. Our focus is clearly on nuclear material and activities. I am confident that arrangements can be developed which enable the Agency to clarify the remaining issues while ensuring that Iran´s legitimate right to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information and activities is respected. I therefore urge Iran to implement all the transparency measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at an early date. This will be good for Iran, good for the Middle East region and good for the world.

. . .


The sums of money proposed by the Commission of Eminent Persons for measures to enhance the Agency´s effectiveness are modest. But this is not just about money. The Agency does not work in a vacuum. Political commitment to the goals of the Agency needs to be renewed at the highest level to encourage the transfer of nuclear technology to the developing world, to enhance safety and security, to strengthen non-proliferation and to accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament.

The problems facing the world in the nuclear arena are plain for all of us to see. The Agency can do much to address them, if given the authority, technology and resources. Much more than the future of the Agency is at stake. We are talking about international development and security, and ultimately about the sort of world we want to leave to our children.