Statement by U.S. Ambassador Gregory Schulte on the IAEA Director General's Report on Iran

June 12, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Related Country: 

  • Iran

Mr. Chairman,

Last September, the IAEA made two important findings:

first, that Iran had violated its safeguards obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; and

second, that Iran had lost international confidence that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

The IAEA and the UN Security Council have called on Iran to cooperate, fully and proactively, in resolving troubling questions about its nuclear program.

The IAEA and the UN Security Council have also called on Iran to refrain from activities to enrich uranium and produce plutonium.

Iran failed to heed these calls.

Instead of suspending uranium enrichment-related activity, Iran is conducting small-scale operations and has announced ambitious plans to proceed with larger-scale operations.

Instead of halting work on a heavy water reactor that will produce plutonium, Iran is forging ahead with construction.

Instead of granting IAEA requests for greater access, Iran has limited the number and location of visits by inspectors and refused Agency requests to upgrade monitoring capabilities.

Instead of answering IAEA questions, Iran has:

declined to satisfy IAEA concerns about ties to the A.Q. Khan network, an illicit market for nuclear weapons technology and assistance;

declined to meet the IAEA's request to turn over a document from the A.Q. Khan network on fabricating components for nuclear weapons;

declined to answer IAEA questions about advanced and potentially undeclared centrifuge programs;

declined to explain apparent connections between an undeclared uranium conversion program and the design of a missile warhead.

Last week's report by the Director General is sparing in words but clear in content:

Iran continues to withhold cooperation with the IAEA on almost every outstanding issue.

Iran is not implementing any of the confidence-building measures requested by the Board and backed by the Security Council.

Mr. Chairman,

No one disputes the right of Iran to a peaceful nuclear program in conformity with its NPT obligations. But Iran's program makes no sense from a civil perspective.

Iran's leaders say they need the heavy water research reactor at Arak to produce medical isotopes. But why this large investment when an existing research reactor in Tehran remains underutilized?

Iran's leaders claim they need enriched uranium for nuclear power plants. But Iran has no nuclear power plants. The one under construction at Bushehr will receive fuel from Russia.

Iran's leaders claim they need the capability to enrich uranium to be self-sufficient. But Iran's known reserves of natural uranium are only sufficient to power a single reactor for under seven years. Even adding speculative reserves, Iran would run out of uranium soon after completing construction of just seven reactors.

Compare Iran to the examples of South Korea and Sweden. South Korea has twenty nuclear power plants. Sweden gets 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Both are advanced countries. Neither enriches uranium.

The programs and actions of Iran's leaders are not consistent with a peaceful program.

Mr. Chairman,

Our goal is to secure a diplomatic solution, one in which the leaders in Tehran provide tangible assurances that they do not seek to acquire atomic weapons.

With that goal in mind, we have worked with Europe, Russia, China, and other like-minded countries to present Iran's leaders with a clear choice.

The negative choice is for Iran's leaders to maintain their present course, ignoring international concerns and international obligations. If Iran's leadership makes this choice, the Islamic Republic will only incur great costs and lost opportunities. The positive choice, the constructive choice, the choice that would most benefit the Iranian people, is for Iran's leaders to alter their present course and to cooperate in resolving the nuclear issue.

This must start by Iran meeting IAEA and Security Council requests to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing, including research and development. These activities, once pursued covertly, and now pursued in contradiction of IAEA resolutions, are not necessary for Iran to enjoy the benefits of civil nuclear power. But they are a necessary step in mastering the technology and acquiring the material and know-how to produce weapons-grade material. Hence our concern. And hence the requirement by the Security Council, the Board, and the six Ministers to suspend these activities.

Suspending these activities will allow the Security Council to suspend its action. And suspending these activities will allow the EU3 countries, joined by the United States and others, to open negotiations for a long-term agreement. Such an agreement would both reaffirm and advance Iran's right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including access to nuclear fuel and civil nuclear technology. Such an agreement would also open the prospect for increasing political dialogue and economic cooperation with the rest of the world. This choice will lead to the real benefit and long-term security of the Iranian people.

Mr. Chairman,

When the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and the United States met here in Vienna two weeks ago, the substance of the message could not have been more clear -- a choice of two paths for the Iranian government:

one offering considerable benefits, including peaceful nuclear technology and civil nuclear power;

the second bringing to bear the weight of the Security Council.

And the delivery of the message could not be more clear: Six Ministers representing Europe, Russia, China, and the United States standing side-by-side, in complete solidarity. We hope that Iran's leaders will think carefully about the proposal from the six Foreign Ministers.

We hope that Iran's leaders will think about what is best for the economic prosperity and long-term security of the Iranian people. And we hope that other countries, including all represented here today, will encourage Iran's leaders to make the right choice:

a choice for cooperation and negotiation; and

a choice to grasp the diplomatic opportunities now being offered.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.