Statement by Ambassador Davies to the IAEA on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in Iran

March 9, 2011

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr. Chairman,

The United States extends its appreciation to the Director General for his latest report on the implementation of the IAEA's Safeguards Agreement with Iran and relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Iran. This report reflects the professionalism and dedication of the Director General and the Secretariat in their mission to resolve the longstanding questions that surround Iran's nuclear program. However, it is again evident that Iran's lack of cooperation continues to impede the Agency's progress on this critical issue.

The Director General's report raises a number of issues that are of serious concern to the international community. The increasingly apparent military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program, including efforts by Iran to develop a nuclear warhead, intensify and lend urgency to these concerns. The fact that these reports remain unresolved while Iran continues to engage in ever-more sensitive nuclear activities in flagrant disregard of its international obligations amplifies our concerns and undermines severely Iran's contention that we have nothing to fear from its nuclear pursuits.

The Attachment to the Director General's report makes clear in a concise manner the ways in which Iran remains in serious noncompliance with its obligations:
To wit,

  • Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities;
  • Iran is not providing supporting information regarding the chronology of the design and construction, as well as the original purpose, of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant;
  • Iran has not suspended work on heavy water-related projects, and has not given the IAEA the necessary access to Iran's heavy water projects;
  • Iran is not cooperating with the Agency regarding the outstanding issues which give rise to concern about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program;
  • Iran is not providing the requisite design information in accordance with the modified Code 3.1; and,
  • Iran is not implementing its Additional Protocol.

All of us, I believe, agree that the IAEA is charged with making impartial, technically sound findings on whether a state is meeting its relevant legal commitments to the Agency. The Director General has presented the Agency's findings in a careful and in a factual way, drawing the clear and inescapable conclusion that, given Iran's failure to comply with its international obligations, the scope and true intentions of its nuclear program cannot be ascertained. This is a conclusion which is, and will continue to be, a cause for grave concern.

Mr. Chairman,

At our last Board meeting, the Iranian delegation sought to deflect or deny Iran's clear obligations under the IAEA Statute, under its Safeguards Agreement, and under the many United Nations Security Council resolutions that have been adopted in response to Iran's continued non-compliance. My delegation found these arguments to be unfounded at best and utterly misleading at worst.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the past year we have witnessed several negative developments in Iran's nuclear program. Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 20 percent, continues to increase its supply of LEU, and plans to expand its enrichment operations at Natanz by installing new cascades to be fed with UF6. The Director General reports that these enrichment activities are in violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. Further, Iran refuses to cooperate with the IAEA to answer the serious questions regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. The current status quo is simply unsustainable.

Iran has had years to cooperate in ways that would enable the IAEA to provide the requisite assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. Instead, Iran continues to act very much like a state with something to hide. Iran continues to advance its uranium enrichment capabilities and it will still not address the substance of information from many Member States and information obtained directly by the Agency indicating that Iran has pursued-and may still be pursuing--what appears to be the scientific, technical, and industrial capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

The question remains how this Board should respond to Iran's continuing provocations and to its disregard for our decisions and the decisions of the United Nations Security Council. On the one hand, the Secretariat has been reporting to us before each Board meeting that it has information that leads to concerns about a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. On the other, Iran's behavior demonstrates it believes its noncooperation can effectively prevent the Secretariat from reporting to the Board a clear conclusion regarding the nature and the scope of Iran's nuclear activities to date. Iran's posture undercuts the entire NPT regime; what lesson might future possible proliferators take from that example?

The IAEA has invoked its legal safeguards authority to request cooperation from Iran to determine the correctness and completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations. The decisions of the Board of Governors and resolutions of the UN Security Council reinforce and amplify Iran's obligation to comply with those requests. Iran has said it will not provide further cooperation or required access regarding the possible military dimensions to its nuclear program. Iran appears to believe it can defeat the machinery of the NPT and IAEA safeguards by simply refusing to comply, and thereby prevent the IAEA from coming to any conclusion in its ongoing investigation. The Board of Governors cannot accept a state undermining the nuclear safeguards regime by selectively flouting and dismissing obligations it does not choose to meet. We recognize the Director General cannot draw final verification conclusions in specific cases if the state in question will not allow the necessary access. However, the Director General can demonstrate that the safeguards regime does work, even in the face of non-compliance, by reporting promptly to the Board his best assessment of whether there have been military dimensions to nuclear activities in Iran and, if so, whether he is in position to verify they have stopped.

Despite Iran's intransigence, the United States remains committed to a diplomatic solution. The United States fully associates itself with the E3+3 statement read by my colleague, the Governor of Russia. That statement reiterates our shared goal of resolving the international community's collective concerns about Iran's nuclear program through dialogue and constructive engagement. The United States and its partners met with Iran a little more than one month ago with the sincere intent of starting a process of meaningful and constructive engagement between the E3+3 and Iran. Iran's response was to establish unhelpful preconditions to our talks, erecting a roadblock to further talks and undermining further our belief that Iran has any intention of meeting its international obligations. Iran has fundamental choices to make, but meeting its obligations to this body and the United Nations Security Council should not be up for debate.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.