Statement by U.K. Ambassador Peter Jenkins to the IAEA Board of Governors

November 24, 2005

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • Iran

The following statement on behalf of the United Kingdom was delivered on 24 November by Mr Peter Jenkins, UK Ambassador to the IAEA and UN Organisations, Vienna.

The United Kingdom subscribes fully to the statement I had the honour to make on behalf of the European Union earlier today. In particular, we share the concern expressed at the continuing inadequacy of Iranian cooperation, we take a very serious view of the implications of the continuing absence of full transparency and we deplore the squandering of a recent opportunity to re-establish full suspension of all enrichment-related activities. Above all, we deeply regret that, since September, Iran has done so little to exert a positive influence on the timing and content of the communications to the Security Council required by the 24 September resolution of the Board.

Although the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran has written to European Ministers his letter contain no new ideas, only a suggestion of talks about talks; we will reply to this shortly, in light of the outcome of this Board. Iran should be under no illusions: our patience is wearing thin. The United Kingdom reserves the right to call for the Board to meet in special session if Iran forces us to the view that without the involvement of the Security Council the measures for which the Board has called are going to remain unimplemented.

I have asked for the floor in a national capacity to elaborate on a few matters touched on in the intervention I made on behalf of the EU.

The UK was disturbed to read, in paragraph 6 of the Director General's report, that the documents recently made available to the Agency included one relating to the casting and machining of enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms. We would be grateful to hear from the Secretariat what interpretation they put on this document. Are we right in thinking that the casting and machining of enriched uranium metal into hemispheres is a crucial step in the production of nuclear warheads and that there is no civil application for uranium metal in this shape? If so, it seems to us that the discovery of this document is a further matter that needs to be notified to the Security Council under Article III.B.4 of the Agency's Statute.

As a preliminary to this, it would be helpful if the Director General could arrange for the document to be seen by experts from the five Nuclear Weapon States. It would also be helpful if the Director General could confirm that the Secretariat will be enquiring, as a matter of urgency, into the use Iran has made of this document and whether it is connected in some way to reports that Iran has been working on warheads, which appear to be nuclear in nature, for deployment in the Shahab 3 missile.

Two other questions strike us in connection with this document:

* is it a warning that there may be other documents in Iran's possession which are relevant to Agency investigations and which Iran has neglected to show the Agency until now? After all, this document should have been shown to the Agency back in 2003 when Iran was making declarations that were supposed to be complete;

* does Iran's possession of this document put Iran in breach of Article II of the NPT which states, inter alia, that non-nuclear-weapon states undertake not to seek or receive, I emphasise receive, any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices?

We also noticed that the documents recently made available include a drawing which shows a cascade layout for 6 cascades of 168 machines each and a small plant of 2000 centrifuges arranged in the same hall. We would be very interested to hear the Agency's opinion as to the level of enrichment which the layout contained in the document could achieve, and whether this is consistent with Iran's declared peaceful intentions.

We note that Iran appears not to have heeded calls from the Board to suspend construction of the research reactor moderated by heavy water at Arak. We would be interested in hearing the Secretariat's latest estimate of when this facility will enter into operation, and whether Iran is still claiming that this facility will produce isotopes for medical and industrial use, despite a recent indication that Iran wishes to extend the operating life of the existing Tehran research reactor, which is currently under-utilised for its stated purpose of isotope production.

I would like to close on a positive note by welcoming the broad measure of agreement that seems to exist within the Board on a number of points:

* first it remains essential that Iran refrain from engaging in enrichment-related and reprocessing activities while outstanding issues are addressed and confidence in Iran's peaceful intentions is built;

* second whole-hearted cooperation with the Agency and full transparency continue to be equally essential;

* third the implications of Iran's possession of a document concerning processes which do not have any civil application need to be fully investigated;

* fourth Iran should seize the opportunity it was given on 24 September to exert a positive influence on the timing and content of the required communications to the Security Council, not least by implementing the CBMs for which the Board has called;

* fifth Iran should follow-up its recent statement of readiness to re-enter negotiations with the EU by engaging seriously and in good faith on the ideas floated by the Russian Federation, as the EU is prepared to do;

* and finally the issues raised by Iran's past non-compliance are best addressed in a multilateral framework of which the IAEA is fully part.