At the outset, my delegation fully associates itself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on this agenda item.
My delegation thanks the Director General, Dr Mohammed ElBaradei for his factual report on the "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran", as contained in document GOV/2007/58, as well as his remarks on this subject in his opening statement today.
South Africa reiterates its appreciation to the Director General and the Agency staff for their continued highly professional, objective and unbiased approach to resolve the remaining few outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme, in accordance with the ongoing verification activities.
Since our previous meeting, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued its co-operation with the Agency to resolve the outstanding issues in accordance with the Work Plan agreed with the Agency.
South Africa notes from the Director General's latest report that the Agency continues to be able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran and has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities.
It is further encouraging that in accordance with the agreed timeframe of the Work Plan, Iran concluded a Facility Attachment for the Fuel enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz, which entered into force on 30 September 2007. South Africa welcomes Iran's co-operation in providing additional supporting documentation and written amplifications and interviews with Iranian officials involved in nuclear activities in the 1980s and 1990s, in relation to the centrifuge enrichment programme. The information gained from these documents and interviews will provide a better picture of Iran's past nuclear activities, which would greatly contribute to the Agency's endeavours in this regard.
South Africa is of the view that the Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated its commitment to solve the outstanding questions in accordance with the Work Plan. South Africa therefore welcomes Iran's co-operation with the Agency, and we encourage Iran to proactively intensify its co-operation to ensure that all issues identified are indeed resolved as agreed upon with the Agency.
Although resolving the outstanding issues would contribute to building confidence in Iran's past nuclear activities, it is essential that Iran also builds confidence in its present and future nuclear programme. Importantly, the Agency must be able to provide assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. It is therefore important, as requested by the Board, that Iran implement transparency measures which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.
South Africa further believes that, as stated by the Director General that " given the special history of Iran's nuclear programme, it would be indispensable for Iran to ratify and bring into force its Additional Protocol, as called for by the Security Council and the Board."
On 10 October 2007, the second Ministerial Troika of the South African and the European Union Strategic Partnership took place in South Africa . The meeting was co-chaired by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and Dr LuÃs Amado, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal for the EU Presidency. The Ministers issued a joint communiquÃ© in which, and I quote:
"The Ministers expressed their commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian crisis, guided by the decisions taken by the IAEA Board of Governors and in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. They also recalled the E3+3 offer of June 2006. Ministers encouraged all Parties concerned to enter into a dialogue and negotiations in order to seek a comprehensive and sustainable solution. Ministers supported the calls for a "double time-out" of all enrichment related activities and of sanctions, thereby providing a window of opportunity for the resumption of these negotiations. South Africa encouraged all Parties to refrain from any actions that would hinder the implementation of the understanding reached and the continuation of co-operation between the IAEA and Iran."
In conclusion Chairperson,
We as Members of the Board are fully aware of the relevant Security Council resolutions, which outlined certain corrective measures to be taken by Iran to address these outstanding questions related to its nuclear programme. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the international community the truly peaceful nature of its nuclear programme through the full implementation of these measures as outlined in the resolutions.
Through the innovative leadership of the Director General, he has placed us on the right path to finally resolve the issues surrounding Iran's nuclear programme. We have a last opportunity to make important progress in the following weeks, which would ensure that the Board's confidence can be restored in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. It is important that the Agency should be allowed in the coming weeks to finalise its work in accordance with the Work Plan and without undue interference and artificial deadlines. Furthermore, we should support the work of the Agency and ensure that this process should be allowed to proceed unhindered.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is therefore urged to utilise this window of opportunity that the Work Plan provides to resolve all the outstanding questions and issues with the Agency without delay. Through such a course of action we will place ourselves on the path of peace and reconciliation.
I thank you.