At the outset, we welcome the fact that we have adopted the resolution by consensus and wish to associate ourselves fully with the statements made on behalf of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on this agenda item.
My delegation wishes to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive report as contained in GOV/2004/34 on the implementation of the safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I would like to commend the Agency for its highly professional efforts and to express my appreciation for the continued co-operation extended by the Iranian authorities to the Director-General and his staff. We are pleased to note that in the latest Report of the Director-General no new revelations have been made about breaches or any undeclared activities related to Iran's nuclear programme.
With regard to the operative paragraphs 7 and 8 of the resolution on Iran, proposals were made by the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as bilaterally by South Africa in order to improve the language to ensure that these reflect the mandate of the Board and maintain its integrity and credibility. We have made this point based on principle before.
South Africa recognises and supports the inalienable right of all States, including Iran, to utilise the atom for peaceful purposes without discrimination, in accordance with Article IV and in conformity with Articles I, II and III of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). As agreed at the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, "each country's choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be respected without jeopardising its policies or international co-operation agreements and arrangements for peaceful uses of nuclear energy and its fuel cycle policies".
Based on our own experience and capabilities, we believe that ownership of the capabilities that could be utilised to develop nuclear weapons places a special resonsibility on the States concerned, especially those that have developed full nulcear fuel cycles. The Agency has to be able to verify that all such capabilities are being used for peaceful purposes only, including through the mechanisms available under the Additional Protocol for strengthened safeguards. It is our view that States must also accept the responsibility of building confidence with the international community that would remove any concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation, which requires transparency and full co-operation with the Agency.
In the case of the capabilities being developed by Iran, South Africa has studied the report of the Director-General and noted that good progress has been made on the actions agreed to during the visit by the Director-General to Teheran during early April 2004. My delegation also welcomes Iran's initial declarations submitted pursuant to its Additional Protocol and the granting of access to Agency inspectors at locations in Iran, including workshops at military sites. Furthermore, South Africa welcomes the Agency's report that it has been able to verify Iran's implementation of its decision to suspend enrichment related and reprocessing activities, although this process has not yet been finalised because of the continued production of centrifuge equipment by some private companies.
South Africa has, however, also noted the concerns expressed in the Report in relation to the importation and fabrication of P-2 centrifuge components and the origin of contamination at Natanz, the Kalaye Electric Company and Farayand Technique. In this regard, my delegation would urge Iran and other parties concerned to co-operate pro-actively with the Agency in providing the necessary clarification and support to the ongoing inspections.
In addition, my delegation would urge all other States with relevant information to also proactively provide their prompt and full support and assistance in strengthening the Agency's work. It is therefore our hope that the remaining questions concerning Iran's programme will be clarified on a sound scientific basis, with the view to the early closure of this matter.
We wish to thank the Director-General and his staff for keeping the Board informed of developments related to the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreements in the Islamic Republic of Iran and look forward to an early conclusion of this matter.
I thank you.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
18 June 2004