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

February 3, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • Iran

Mr. Chairman:

On Monday Secretary Rice said, "the international community has come together to say to the Iranians that they need to find a way to have peaceful nuclear energy, if that is what they desire, but in a way that removes the proliferation risk associated with the current Iranian course."

Three days ago in London, the Foreign Ministers from the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, and Russia and the High Representative of the European Union issued a remarkable statement noting their serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program and calling on Iran to restore confidence. The ministers affirmed that it was time for the IAEA to report Iran to the UN Security Council. They did not reach this decision in haste, but did so after a careful review of Iran's troubling history in pursuing its nuclear ambitions.

We should recall that in November 2003, Dr. ElBaradei first reported to the Board that "Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement." He described the undeclared uranium enrichment, conversion, and plutonium separation work that Iran had hidden from the IAEA. The Board strongly deplored Iran's "failures and breaches of its obligation to comply" with its safeguards agreement. From that moment, we believe this Board had a clear statutory obligation, under Article XII.C, to report that non-compliance to all IAEA members, the UN Security Council, and the UN General Assembly.

However, the members of the Board agreed then that such a report would await the outcome of the EU3's diplomatic efforts that had begun in October 2003. These efforts were intended to secure Iran's full cooperation with the IAEA in order to provide the international community full confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. Over the ensuing 28 months, Dr. ElBaradei has issued seven further written reports and three oral reports, all of which confirm that Iran is not providing the full cooperation that the IAEA needs, and is not taking the confidence-building steps that the international community desires. In fact, it is quite the contrary, as we have just heard again from Mr. Heinonen. Mr. Chair, I ask that the contents of DDG Heinonen's oral report be made publicly available.

When Iran rejected the EU3 proposals and unilaterally broke the terms of the Paris Accord, the Board of Governors took action, and in September 2005, unequivocally found that Iran's many breaches and failures of its safeguards obligations constituted non-compliance pursuant to Article XII.C. The Board also found that Iran's history of concealment of sensitive nuclear activities, and the still-unresolved questions about its program, raised questions that are within the competence of the UN Security Council pursuant to Article III.B.4.

Even then, we gave Iran more time to take action to restore our confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. Now, however, the Iranian leadership has demonstrated that it is determined to move forward with its uranium enrichment program and its heavy water reactor program, which would give Iran the capability to produce material for a nuclear weapon.

The Board of Governors has adopted eight resolutions on Iran since 2003, all of which Iran has ignored or defied. It is time to send a clear and unequivocal message to the Iranian regime about the concerns of the international community by reporting this issue to the Security Council. The United States urges adoption by the Board of the resolution that the EU3 have tabled. The time has come to fulfill the obligation of the Board under Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute to "report" the non-compliance finding with respect to Iran of September 24, 2005.

My government continues to support all efforts to seek a peaceful, diplomatic solution even as we enter a new phase of diplomacy. By reporting the Iran issue to the Security Council, we will increase the diplomatic tools available to the international community. Let me be clear: We are not now seeking sanctions or other punitive measures on Iran. We do not seek to harm the Iranian people or deprive Iran of its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We also do not seek to remove this issue from the IAEA Board's active consideration.

Instead, we seek to support the ongoing efforts of the IAEA with the weight of the Security Council's authority. We seek a carefully calibrated approach in which the Council applies escalating measures on Iran's regime. We are hopeful that such an approach might persuade the Iranian leadership to change course. As a first step after the Council begins to consider action in March, we expect the Council to reinforce the decisions of the IAEA Board and strengthen the IAEA's continuing role by making its own call on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, to comply fully and promptly with all IAEA Board resolutions, and to provide the IAEA with the transparency measures that the IAEA has repeatedly requested.

We urge Iran's regime to pay heed, and to allow a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to this issue that builds confidence with the international community, benefits the Iranian people, and enhances international peace and security.