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

Mr. Chairman,

Two days ago, the United Nations Security Council adopted a fourth resolution on Iran's nuclear program, the third imposing Chapter VII sanctions. This was not the action of one or two countries, as Iranian authorities assert. This was a resolution adopted by fourteen yes votes and one abstention. This was action taken by the world's principal body for maintaining international peace and security.

In Resolution 1803, the Security Council reinforced the authority of the IAEA and the role of this Board.

The resolution reaffirms that Iran shall without further delay take the steps required by the Board of Governors in February 2006, steps deemed essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

The resolution underscores the importance of the Additional Protocol and reiterates Iran's obligation to implement Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement to its Safeguards Agreement.

The resolution emphasizes the need for Iran to answer all the questions that the IAEA asks so that the Agency, through implementation of required transparency measures, can verify correctness and completeness of Iran's declaration.

Mr. Chairman,

Resolution 1803 commends the IAEA for its efforts to resolve outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear program. The IAEA Board can join the Security Council in thanking the Director General and the Secretariat for their professional investigation and reports. The Director General's latest report is thorough and instructive. But on the core issue of whether Iran's program is exclusively peaceful, the report is quite troubling.

The report describes some progress in clarifying Iran's declarations. This is encouraging, though the information provided by Iran is long overdue and still to be verified. It is hard to be fully assured when some of the information provided by Iran is merely "not inconsistent with the data currently available to the Agency."

While Dr. ElBaradei has declared some issues "no longer outstanding at this stage," he has also reported that one major issue remains outstanding: indications that Iran has engaged in weapons-related activities. It is not surprising that Iranian authorities pushed this issue to the end of the work plan. It is not surprising that Iranian authorities now try to claim that this issue is not even part of the work plan.

It is not surprising because the information gathered by the Agency suggests the existence, not long ago, of a significant state-sponsored effort to develop nuclear weapons. This is an effort that would have further violated Iran's treaty obligations. This is an effort that Agency inspectors must fully verify has halted. This is an effort that Iran's leaders could choose to restart at any moment -- or hold in abeyance until their uranium enrichment capabilities are sufficiently advanced.

Mr. Chairman,

In January 2006, the Deputy Director General first told us of the Secretariat's concerns about Iranian activities with a "military nuclear dimension." In the Director General's latest report and last week's supporting technical briefing, the IAEA's very competent inspectors presented a troubling mosaic of weapon-related activities. These involve:

flow sheets for a uranium conversion process different from Iran's declared activities;

a document, whose origins are yet to be fully explained, describing the procedures for casting and machining of uranium metal into hemispheres;

testing of high voltage detonator firing equipment;

development of an exploding bridgewire detonator and the capability to fire multiple detonators simultaneously;

procurement of spark gaps, shock wave software, neutron sources, special steel parts, and radiation measurement equipment;

training courses on neutron calculations, the effect of shock waves on metal, enrichment/isotope separation, and ballistic missiles;

schematics describing a Shahab-3 missile re-entry vehicle modified in a way that, in the judgment of the Agency, is "quite likely to be able to accommodate a nuclear device;" and

an explosive testing arrangement involving a 400-meter shaft and a firing capability 10 kilometers away.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not an engineer. But I suspect that technicians don't need to shelter themselves ten kilometers away to test conventional weapons . . . or automotive air bags. Instead, as the Director General reports, these various activities are "relevant to nuclear weapon research and development" and uranium metal hemispheres are "components of nuclear weapons."

The overall effort described by the Secretariat -- involving personnel and institutes throughout Iran -- strongly suggests an organized program conducted at the direction of Iran's leadership. This is consistent with our own National Intelligence Estimate, in which the U.S. Intelligence Community judged with high confidence that Iran was until late 2003 pursuing covert weapons-related activities including weapon design, weaponization, and secret uranium conversion and enrichment. Iran's refusal to disclose these activities is also consistent with the NIE's conclusion that, at a minimum, Iran is keeping open the option of developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran has dismissed much of this information as "baseless allegations" since the Agency first confronted Iran in December 2005. In some cases, as we were briefed, Iran admitted the activities, claiming that they were for non-nuclear purposes, but then refused to let the Secretariat verify these claims.

At last week's technical briefing, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards carefully explained how the information had been assembled over a period of years from multiple member states and the Agency's own investigation. He carefully explained the administrative connections between the activities and the possible nexus to nuclear material. His elaboration on the details provided in the Director General's report graphically illustrates why the Board cannot accept Iran's claim of "baseless allegations" as Iran's final answer.

The Deputy Director General for Safeguards was very careful not to draw conclusions on the basis of this information. However, he made two important points. First, the Secretariat was NOT prepared to conclude that these were "baseless allegations." Second, the Secretariat cannot make progress in verifying the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities until Iran clarifies these indications of weapons-related work.

The IAEA's investigations must continue. The IAEA needs to understand Iran's past weapons-related work to have confidence in verifying its current declarations. And, the IAEA needs to understand Iran's past weapons-related work so it can better detect - and thereby, we hope, deter - a resumption of those activities.

Mr. Chairman,

We all want to see progress. Unfortunately, the main progress reported by Dr. ElBaradei relates to Iran's uranium enrichment program. Suspension of these activities, as well as work on a heavy water reactor, is a legally binding requirement of the UN Security Council, reaffirmed on Monday by Resolution 1803. And, as we know, producing fissile material -- whether highly enriched uranium or weapons-usable plutonium -- is the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of a nuclear weapons program. Iran's continued operation of existing centrifuges and its development and testing of advanced centrifuges constitute a continuing and deepening violation of UN Security Council resolutions and the calls of this Board.

These violations are yet another reason for international mistrust in the nature of Iran's nuclear activities and the intentions of its leadership, particularly since there is no technical need for Iran to have an enrichment capability - or, for that matter, a heavy water reactor - in order to enjoy the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Iran's insistence on developing an enrichment capability and building a heavy water reactor, despite any obvious civil requirement, is particularly worrisome combined with indications of past weapons-related work.

Mr. Chairman,

In September 2005, this Board found Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty. In February 2006, the Board reported Iran to the Security Council, first for its noncompliance, and second, because the absence of confidence about the nature of Iran's nuclear program gave rise to questions within the competence of the Security Council, as the organ bearing the main responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security.

Despite some progress in clarifying outstanding issues, the troubling questions that remain about weapons-related work -- combined with Iran's failure to take confidence-building measures required by the Board and Security Council -- show the continued validity of the Board's decisions. These troubling questions and continued violations explain why Iran's nuclear program must remain on the agenda of both the Security Council and this Board.

Mr. Chairman,

The United Nations has shown its justified concern about Iran's nuclear activities through four resolutions by the UN Security Council, three imposing sanctions. Monday's resolution, like those before it, shows the world's continued desire to achieve a diplomatic solution through a dual-track strategy. This dual-track strategy of backing diplomacy with sanctions while offering negotiations was reaffirmed in the Statement by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States released on Monday in conjunction with Resolution 1803.

The dual-track strategy presents Iran's leaders with a path forward that would provide the people of Iran with the international respect, civil nuclear technology, and economic benefits that they deserve.

This path is not hard to find. Iran's leaders can start down this path by fully disclosing Iran's weapons-related work and allowing the IAEA inspectors to verify it has ceased. Iran's leaders can start down the path by taking the confidence-building measures set out by the Board and the Security Council.

Other countries have gone down this path. Iran can too.

Mr. Chairman,

Resolution 1803 reaffirms the Board's responsibility to confirm when Iran has fully met the requirements we established two years ago for Iran to regain international confidence in the peaceful nature of its program. The Director General's report shows why we cannot make this determination today.

Iran's leaders say that they do not have a nuclear weapons program. To give the world confidence that this is true, we call on them to fully disclose past and present activities and to suspend those that are not necessary for a civil program but that are necessary to build a nuclear weapon. Only then can the Board exercise its responsibility. Only then can verification of Iran's nuclear activities be considered routine.

Until then, Iran's nuclear file remains open, and IAEA inspectors must continue their investigation.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.