Statement by U.S. Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte to IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

November 22, 2007

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr. Chairman,


The United States Government once again commends the IAEA Secretariat for its thorough and professional efforts to execute the IAEA's safeguards mandate in Iran, to verify whether Iran has ended its noncompliance with its Safeguards Agreement and Subsidiary Arrangements, to verify whether Iran has stopped violating legally-binding resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, and to clarify the many questions that remain concerning the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear program.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN Security Council, acting unanimously, has twice adopted resolutions under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the UN Charter imposing sanctions intended to persuade Iran to comply with its international nuclear obligations, cooperate with IAEA verification efforts, and enter into constructive negotiations with the EU-3, the United States, Russia and China in the context of the June 2006 offer.

At the last meeting of this Board, the Secretariat presented us with a plan to address Iran's outstanding verification issues, in what appeared to be an attempt to comply with one of the Security Council's demands. I joined many delegations at that time in expressing both hope and skepticism. We hoped that this would mark a turning point in Iran's relationship with the Agency, and that Iran's leadership would make the strategic decision to engage proactively with the IAEA in the Agency's execution of its safeguards mandate and beyond, as necessary, to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

We were skeptical because we remember how many times Iran has pledged to provide the IAEA with the full, necessary transparency and cooperation, pledges that were invariably timed to prevent international sanctions, pledges that were invariably left unfulfilled. I will not recount the full litany of Iran's disregard for its international legal obligations and the concerns of the international community. But I will recall that exactly four years ago, in November 2003, the Board's resolution acknowledged the stated intentions of the President of Irans Atomic Energy Agency on behalf of Iran to "provide a full picture of its nuclear activities," and his affirmation of Iran's "decision to implement a policy of cooperation and full transparency." Yet, less than a year later, the Board was faced with a report by the Director General indicating Iran's refusal to answer all of its questions and fully cooperate with the Agency's investigation.

We have seen this before: Promises of full cooperation under international pressure. Selective cooperation and backsliding when the pressure comes off.

Nevertheless, when we last met, we once more expressed hope that Iran would provide the IAEA the full transparency necessary to bring it into compliance with its safeguards obligations and to begin to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Mr. Chairman,

I regret to say that the Board can only be disappointed in Iran's incomplete cooperation. The Director General's report of 15 November 2007 notes that while some cooperation has been provided and that some clarifications have been made, several areas remain unresolved and Iran's overall cooperation has been selective. Specific examples include:

-- Iran's failure to provide access to or information on Iran's work with advanced centrifuge designs;

-- The lack of closure of the issues associated with Iran's Physics Research Center (PHRC) at Lavizan;

-- The IAEA's inability to confirm Iran's version of events with regard to the "1993 offer" of additional assistance with its centrifuge pursuits; and,

-- Iran's refusal to acknowledge its continuing obligation to provide early declaration of any intent to construct new nuclear facilities or modify existing ones, as is required by Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement to its Safeguards Agreement. This has direct relevance to the concern that Iran may seek to develop new facilities without adequate and timely declaration to the Agency.

The Director General reports that Iran has failed to suspend its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, as required by the Security Council, and to implement the Additional Protocol. Despite four years of intensive investigation, and the launch of this work plan four months ago, the IAEA remains unable to confirm the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran. Most disturbingly, the IAEA secretariat has stated that, as a direct result of Iran's failure to implement the Additional Protocol, its knowledge of Iran's nuclear program is "diminishing."

Mr. Chairman,

We have always stated that Iran should be judged by its actions, not by its words. The Iranian leadership says it wants to clear up the outstanding questions and restore confidence in its nuclear program. We note, however, that a government determined to clear up questions about its nuclear program would be proactive, not reactive, in providing information to the inspectors. It would provide the inspectors immediate access to all its files, to all the people involved in the program, and to all the facilities which have been engaged. It would not make distinctions between past and present activities.

Instead, Iran's approach to explaining the past has been reactive, and the Secretariat's understanding of Iran's current program continues to diminish. The DG remains unable to resolve questions regarding the intent of Iran's nuclear program, including whether or not it is for exclusively peaceful purposes. In particular, the IAEA remains unable to draw any conclusions as to the "original underlying nature of parts" of Iran's nuclear program, including its centrifuge work. Moreover, fundamentally, the IAEA is not in a position to assure the Board that Iran's declarations are correct and complete.

Under international pressure, Iran has shed more light on its activities in the 1980s and 1990s, but the Agency knows less and less about what it is doing today - other than expanding its capacity for uranium enrichment in violation of Security Council resolutions. This does not meet the test of full disclosure.

In the report, we see again the promise of future transparency "in the next few weeks." While we respect the Secretariat's efforts, and hope Iran will use the next few weeks to demonstrate openness and transparency, we fear that the next few weeks will not yield much more from Iran than we've seen in the last few months or, for that matter, the last five years. I hope I am wrong about this. Iran's consistent policy of selective cooperation and delay tactics suggest, however, that Iran means only to distract the world from its continued development in violation of UN Security Council resolutions of fissile material production capabilities -- from uranium enrichment to the production of plutonium.

Mr. Chairman,

In its last resolution on Iran, the UN Security Council established its intent to adopt additional measures should Iran not comply with its demands. The P5+1 Foreign Ministers subsequently delayed those measures pending November reports from both the DG and the EU High Representative. Unless both the DG and Javier Solana's report a "positive outcome" of their efforts, the P5+1 Foreign Ministers agreed on 28 September to bring a third sanctions resolution to a vote in the Security Council. Specifically, Iran needed to implement the Additional Protocol, resolve all outstanding issues with its centrifuge program, and suspend its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities to avoid such action. The DG's report clearly states that Iran has failed to meet these conditions.

Mr. Chairman,

The Security Council process is designed to persuade Iran to negotiate on the basis of the generous six-country offer of June 2006. This package, which promises Iran significant technical assistance, economic advantages, and an end to its increasing isolation, remains on the table.

Despite our continued disappointments, we hope that Iran's leaders will finally decide to make a full disclosure of Iran's past and present nuclear activities. We join the members of the Board in urging Iran to heed the Director General's call to implement the Additional Protocol and to suspend all enrichment-related activities. We urge Iran's government to take advantage of the opportunity to resolve all outstanding issues with the IAEA, to build confidence in Iran's nuclear program through suspension, and to enter into negotiations toward a political settlement. Only in this way can the interests of the Iranian people be satisfied and the serious concerns of the international community be fully addressed.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.