Statement by U.K. Ambassador Peter Jenkins to the IAEA

March 8, 2006

I have the honour to intervene on behalf of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

We associate ourselves with the statement made by the EU Presidency at the start of this discussion on behalf of 37 members of the Agency.

We commend the Director General and the Secretariat for their continuing efforts - notable for their professionalism and impartiality - to implement the Safeguards Agreement with Iran, and we thank the Director General for his latest report which we read with great attention.

We note from the report that developments since November have been relatively few and that only modest progress has been made towards resolving the many serious questions to which Agency verification of Iranian declarations has given rise. Among the reasons for this are continuing deficiencies in Iranian cooperation.

As a result of this absence of whole-hearted transparency, important aspects of Iran's nuclear program remain shrouded from view. The Board still cannot judge whether what it knows about Iran's centrifuge enrichment development programme represents the full picture or simply the top of an iceberg - and I need hardly remind Board members that it was a part of the iceberg below the water, out of view, that did for the Titanic. Puzzling inconsistencies remain as regards experiments with plutonium and polonium, and uranium mining. And, most important of all, indicators of a possible military dimension to Iran's programme continue to be a legitimate source of intense concern.

In the light of all this we are not surprised by the Director General's overall assessment. It is clear to us that, although Iran has taken corrective actions with respect to its non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement, the Agency cannot confirm, even after three years of verification activity, all aspects of Iran's current declarations - and that, although all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, the Agency is still not in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran. Nor are we surprised to read that this conclusion can be expected to take even longer than normal to arrive at in light of the undeclared nature of Iran's past nuclear programme, the inadequacy of information available on Iran's centrifuge programme, the existence of a generic document related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components, and the lack of clarification of the role of the military in Iran's nuclear programme, including as mentioned in the DG's report, recent information available to the Agency concerning alleged weapons studies that could involve nuclear material.

Because the Director General points so clearly to grounds for continuing serious concern, the need for confidence building by Iran remains undiminished. On 4 February, the Board underlined that outstanding questions could best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's programme by Iran responding positively to the calls for confidence-building measures which the Board has made on several occasions. What has happened since 4 February? The answer is simple. Iran has failed to implement the confidence-building measures called for by the Board in operative paragraph 1 of the 4 February Resolution, apart from allowing the Agency access to the former head of the PHRC, and instead:

* has notified the Agency that it is ceasing to suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, has resumed the enrichment process and has injected UF6 into centrifuges at the Pilot Plant in Natanz; * has continued civil engineering work at the Iran nuclear research reactor site near Arak; * has not ratified the Additional Protocol; * has notified the Agency that it is ceasing to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol; * and has declined to discuss further the Agency's request for additional clarifications regarding the procurement efforts of the PHRC and the relationship between the PHRC and the technical university.

It is clear that such decisions and activities not only run counter to the request made by the Board on 4 February. They also aggravate the lack of confidence in Iran's intentions in seeking to develop a fissile material production capability against a background of safeguards non-compliance and unresolved questions concerning the role of the military in Iran's nuclear programme.

Confidence-building is at the heart of this matter. The issue is not, as often claimed, that of legal rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. To portray it as such is to misrepresent it and to try to detract from the very concerns that have motivated European diplomatic endeavours.

Our governments have consistently recognised Iran's inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as enshrined in Article IV of the NPT, without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of the Treaty. However, the secret nature of the nuclear programme Iran pursued for more than 18 years, the fact that it related to the most sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, and Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligation to comply with its Safeguards Agreement prompted a crisis of confidence in Iran's intentions.

In 2003 our Governments launched a diplomatic initiative which was designed to allow Iran to establish international confidence that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful in nature. Confidence-building is a process. It cannot be built overnight. It takes time.

We have welcomed the Russian proposal for an enrichment joint venture on the territory of the Russian Federation. This proposal offers a possible solution. It allows for a confidence-building process to take place; at the same time it expressly addresses the Iranian interest in an assured supply of nuclear fuel. We again call on Iran to seize the opportunity provided by the Russian proposal.

At this point, let me recall that Iran is continuing to produce UF6 and already disposes of a significant stock of enrichment feed material for which no credible civil use currently exists. In fact a determined and organised endeavour is under way to acquire mastery of the enrichment cycle, despite the absence of any civil need for this technology, and despite the fact that every effort has been made to offer Iran access to international cooperation to meet the needs of its civil nuclear power programme.

Chairman, France, Germany and the United Kingdom would like to see the Board today reaffirming the necessity for Iran to implement in full the confidence building measures the Board has requested.

However, since Iran has consistently disregarded the calls made of it by the Board, we believe that the time has also come for the UN Security Council to reinforce the authority of the Agency and Board Resolutions by calling upon Iran to implement the confidence building measures requested on 4 February. We welcome the fact that on 4 February the Director General reported to the Security Council the steps required of Iran by the Board and all IAEA reports and Resolutions on this matter, and that these have been circulated to the members of the Security Council to review.

We expect that the Security Council will now take up consideration of the reports and Resolutions it has received from the Board, and that the Council will decide, on the basis of the Board's findings, on appropriate action to reinforce the authority of the Agency so as to clarify the nature of Iran's programme and convince Iran of the necessity to implement the measures requested by the Board, including full transparency.

We had hoped, let me stress, that the intense concerns to which Iran's pursuit of a fissile material production capability has given rise could be resolved without recourse to the Security Council. But, in our view, Iran's unwillingness to cooperate fully with the Agency, to do what is necessary to build confidence, to honour its international commitments, and to provide effective guarantees that its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes has made Security Council action inevitable. This is not, however, the end of diplomacy, and we remain determined to work for a negotiated solution.

In this new context, in expectation of the determined support of the Security Council, the Board should remain seized of this matter, to be in a position to act according to how the situation evolves.