Statement by Iran's Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Dr. Javad Zarif, on the IAEA Director General's Report of the Agency

November 3, 2003

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. President,

Allow me, at the outset, to express our gratitude to Dr. ElBaradei, for his tireless efforts and for his report to the General Assembly, in which he has provided additional information on the main developments in the activities of the Agency during 2003.

The objectives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as set out in Article II of its Statute, include: "The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world."

This objective emanates from an important pillar of the non-proliferation regime, enshrined in legally binding provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In accordance with Article IV of the NPT, States Parties undertook to facilitate the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Indeed, the inalienable right of all States Parties to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes without discrimination constitutes the very foundation of the Treaty.

This inalienable right in itself emanates from two broader propositions. First, scientific and technological achievements are common heritage of humanity. They must be used for the improvement of human condition and not abused as instruments of terror and domination. Nuclear technology has broad applications, ranging from medicine and agriculture to providing a renewable source of energy. The IAEA, in its resolution GC (43) RES/14 of 1 October, 1999, has recognized that "many countries consider nuclear power, being a climatically benign source of energy, to be an eligible option under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol." In this context, the IAEA General Conference requested the Director-General to pursue efforts to strengthen the technical cooperation activities of the Agency aimed at improving the scientific, technological and regulatory capabilities of developing countries and by continuing to assist them in

a) peaceful applications of atomic energy and nuclear techniques in the field of inter alia food and agriculture, human health, industry, water resource management, and environment, and

b) nuclear energy production for those states pursuing it as a component of their energy mix in the 21st century.

My delegation welcomes the report of the Director-General in which he outlined the activities of the Agency in these important areas.

The second general proposition is the requisite balance between rights and obligations which is the basis of any sound legal instrument. This balance guarantees the longevity of the legal regime by providing incentives for membership and compliance. The provisions of the NPT and IAEA Statute on the right to nuclear technology as well as the imperative of cooperation and sharing of the technology among those who have accepted the obligations of non-proliferation testify to the wisdom and understanding of the drafters. But in practice, we must guard against further entrenchment of the impression that membership in the NPT and the IAEA safeguard regime in fact constitute impediments for peaceful use while non-membership is rewarded by acquiescence, as in the case of development of one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. If anything, failure to accept NPT and safeguard obligations should have made the only outsider to the NPT in the Middle East the subject of most severe restrictions and not provide it with impunity.

Mr. President,

The international community as whole has a right to be assured that the nightmare that visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never happen again. The only guarantee is obviously the total elimination of nuclear weapons as stipulated by the NPT and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. But as an interim measure, the international community must take all necessary steps to ensure universality of the non-proliferation regime and the IAEA safeguard mechanisms, and the IAEA can play a decisive role through vigorously pursuing a balanced and non-discriminatory application of the provisions of the NPT and IAEA safeguards.

But, those who pursue and have even used the destructive terror of this technology cannot be allowed to undermine the very foundations of the non-proliferation regime by reversing the very logic on which non-proliferation, like all other similar regimes is founded. Attempts to deprive members of the NPT and IAEA safeguards from peaceful use of nuclear technology will only impede the ability of the IAEA to conduct its responsibilities in an orderly fashion. The logic is simple. Arbitrary and politically-motivated limitations and restrictions will not lead to the targets' abandoning of their inalienable right to nuclear technology and accepting marginalization in this important field of scientific and technological achievement. In all likelihood, it will lead, as it has, to acquisition of the same peaceful technology from unofficial channel and in less than fully transparent fashion, thus exacerbating mutual suspicion and mistrust.

Mr. President,

Like all other members of the NPT, Iran considers the pursuit and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be its inalienable right, and has thus invested extensive human and material resources in the field. At the same time, as repeatedly stated, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's defense doctrine, not only because of our commitment to our contractual obligations under the NPT and other relevant conventions, but in fact because of a sober strategic calculation.

Yet, illegitimate sanctions have targeted not only Iran's legitimate nuclear program but in fact the entire industry and all possible sources of supply of material and equipment. What Iran has been able to achieve is primarily the result of the intellect and hard work of Iranian scientists. Regrettably, a politically charged atmosphere of concern was orchestrated about this limited peaceful capability, which has little to do with the objectives of non-proliferation.

Following consultations with the Director-General of the IAEA and the Foreign Ministers of Britain, France and Germany, possibilities for a different approach emerged, in which Iran's right to peaceful use was recognized and future cooperation in the area of material and technology through confidence-building and transparency promised to replace the past practice of limitations and denial.

Iran therefore decided to take yet other measures in order to remove any doubts about its intentions and set the stage for mutual confidence and cooperation. On 23 October, we provided a full and consistent picture of Iran's activities in the past, which will certainly enable the Agency to verify that not only all Iranian activities are exclusively in the peaceful domain in compliance with the NPT, but also necessary corrective measures have additionally been adopted in order to meet every technical requirement of the Safeguard system. This will enable us all to put to rest all the concerns, misplaced as they may have been from the beginning in our opinion.

As further confidence-building measures for the present, Iran will voluntarily suspend Uranium enrichment activities, sign the Additional Protocol and continue to cooperate with the IAEA in accordance with the Protocol pending its ratification which will have to be done by the Iranian parliament.

We continue this trend and are pleased to see that this process has begun bearing fruitful results. We expect that as we proceed on this track, reciprocal satisfaction of commitments in good faith will open yet further horizons for confidence and cooperation.

Thank You, Mr. President