Transcript of Q & A with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Activities in Iran

February 22, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Q: How far have IAEA inspectors come in verifying outstanding issues?

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: Our task in Iran is to make sure that the Iranian nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes. We are at it for the last five years. In the last four months, in particular, we have made quite good progress in clarifying the outstanding issues that had to do with Iran´s past nuclear activities, with the exception of one issue, and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past. We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran´s enrichment programme. We have made good progress, with still one issue on our agenda and I call on Iran to act as actively as possible, as fast as possible, for me to be able (to ensure) that all issues, that have to do with Iran´s past nuclear activities, have been clarified.

Q: What does Iran need to do so the IAEA can optimally monitor its nuclear programme?

ELBARADEI: In addition to our work, to clarify Iran´s past nuclear activities, we have to make sure, naturally, that Iran´s current activities are also exclusively for peace purposes and for that we have been asking Iran to conclude the so called Additional Protocol, which gives us the additional authority to visit places, additional authority to have additional documents, to be able to provide assurance, not only that Iran´s declared activities are for peaceful purposes but that there are no undeclared nuclear activities. On that score, Iran in the last few months has provided us with visits to many places, that enable us to have a clearer picture of Iran´s current programme. However, that is not, in my view, sufficient. We need Iran to implement the Additional Protocol. We need to have that authority as a matter of law. That, I think, is a key for us to start being able to build progress in providing assurance that Iran´s past and current programmes are exclusively for peaceful purposes. So we have the Protocol issue and we have the weaponization, alleged weaponization studies. I should however add that in connection with the weaponization studies, we have not seen any indication that these studies were linked to nuclear material. So that gives us some satisfaction but the issue is still critical for us to be able to come to a determination as to the nature of Iran´s nuclear programme.

Q: What does Iran need to do to build confidence?

As a result of Iran running an undeclared nuclear programme for almost two decades, there has been confidence deficit on the part of the international community about the intentions, future intentions of Iran´s nuclear programme. Therefore the Security Council asked Iran to suspend its enrichment-related activities. I hope that Iran will continue to work closely with the Security Council, to create the conditions for Iran and the international community to engage in comprehensive negotiation that would lead to a durable solution. A durable solution requires confidence about Iran´s nuclear programme, it requires a regional security arrangement, it requires normal trade relationship between Iran and the international community. As the Security Council stated, the ultimate aim should be normalization of relationships between Iran and the international community. Definitely the Agency will continue to do as much as we can to make sure that we also contribute to the confidence-building process with regard to the past and present nuclear activities in Iran, but naturally, we can not provide assurance about future intentions. That is inherently a diplomatic process that needs the engagement of all the parties.