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IAEA Gives Iran One Last Chance to Disclose Nukes


IAEA Gives Iran "One Last Chance" to Disclose Nuke Program

U.S. envoy says Iran not in compliance with NPT safeguards agreement

The United States has agreed with other governments to give Iran "one last chance" to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerning the nature and extent of its nuclear program, according to U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Brill.

The official U.S. statement at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Geneva September 12 said that the United States believes "the facts already established by the Agency about Iran's nuclear program would fully justify an immediate finding of non-compliance by Iran with its safeguards obligations." However, other members of the Board of Governors thought there should be "a last chance to elicit Iran's full and prompt cooperation with Agency requests and response to Agency questions." Therefore, the United States has joined in support of the resolution sponsored by Australia, Canada and Japan.

In remarks to the press after the meeting, Brill, who is the U.S. permanent representative to the IAEA, said the resolution passed by the board "gives full backing to the Agency's efforts to get to the bottom of the Iran nuclear issue and to really find what the truth about the Iranian nuclear program is." He said it was absolutely essential for Iran "to respond promptly and fully to the outstanding questions the Agency has for it."

The U.S. statement noted that the report on Iran by the IAEA director general -- as called for in the resolution -- should be available to the Board of Governors at least two weeks before the next meeting, scheduled for November 20. The United States believes "the Agency should have no problem with time to draft its report, if Iran does not delay its cooperation until the last minute -- or beyond."

Speaking to reporters afterward, Brill was asked what the consequences would be were the board to find Iran in non-compliance with its nuclear safeguards agreement. "[T]he statute calls for us to report to the [U.N.] Security Council that finding of non-compliance," he said.

Asked about the rejection by the Iranian IAEA delegation of the Draft Resolution and the statement that Iran is going to revise its cooperation with the IAEA, Brill replied, "I think I would suggest that indicates that they have something they wish to hide, that they do not want to come to light."

The texts of the U.S. delegation statement and of Ambassador Brill's remarks to the press follow:

(begin text)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting September 12, 2003

Agenda Item 4(b) Statement of the United States

Madame Chairwoman,

The United States made clear to the Board on Tuesday that we believe the facts already established by the Agency about Iran's nuclear program would fully justify an immediate finding of non-compliance by Iran with its safeguards obligations. We took note, however, of the desire of other member states to give the Agency a last chance to elicit Iran's full and prompt cooperation with Agency requests and response to Agency questions, and have therefore joined in support of the resolution sponsored by Australia, Canada and Japan. We thank and commend them for this service on behalf of the Agency.

The resolution was, as we all know, the result of lengthy and difficult consultations among a large number of Board members over the past week. Despite the differences expressed during those consultations, we all concur in the fundamental purpose of the resolution, which is to express the Board's full and unambiguous support for the Agency in its efforts to implement its Safeguards Agreement with Iran and get to the bottom of the many unanswered questions that have been raised about Iran's program.

Today's Board action is consistent with the responsibility the Board bears within the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It conveys an unequivocal message that when legitimate questions about safeguards compliance are raised, the international community will not be satisfied or deflected by policies of delay, denial, and deception. Such delay, denial, and deception complicate efforts to find a constructive resolution of this issue and undermine the multilateral institutions that have been established to deal with such matters.

Madame Chairwoman, the United States recognizes the right of all member states that are in compliance with their safeguards agreements to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. However, there is no right to nuclear energy for "putatively peaceful" or "presumably peaceful" purposes. The whole NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] framework makes clear the right involves the use of nuclear material only for verifiably peaceful purposes, and thus in conjunction with effective safeguards. To expect the Agency or other NPT parties to give any state "the benefit of the doubt" or uncritically accept assurances of peaceful intent would undermine the nonproliferation regime. We all value the Agency's commitment to fulfilling its verification function.

In his introductory statement to the Board on Monday, the DG [IAEA director general] stressed it was essential that all outstanding issues be brought to closure as soon as possible, to enable the Agency to come to "a definitive conclusion." With that in mind, Operative Paragraph 4 of today's resolution determines it is "essential and urgent" that Iran demonstrate it has not diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes. That language is purposely reflective of Article 18 of Iran's safeguards agreement with the Agency, INFCIRC/214. Operative 4 gives Iran until the end of October to take all necessary actions to ensure verification of compliance with that Safeguards Agreement. Operative Paragraph 7 requests the DG to submit a report in November 2003, or earlier if appropriate, to enable the Board to draw definitive conclusions. It is our firm understanding that the Board will be in a position to draw those conclusions no later than the next regularly scheduled Board meeting in November.

The Secretariat will not be surprised to hear the United States say we expect that report will be available at least two weeks prior to the November 20 Board meeting, to allow Board members time to study the report carefully and to draw conclusions. In fact, the Agency should have no problem with time to draft its report, if Iran does not delay its cooperation until the last minute -- or beyond. As the DG made clear in public statements this week, here is no evident reason why the cooperation the Secretariat requires cannot be provided quickly, thus allowing a rapid resolution of this issue. But Iran must seize this chance to answer all outstanding questions and document the history, nature and purposes of its nuclear program.

Additionally, Madame Chairwoman, the United States seconds the request by the delegation of Canada for the release of the resolution to the public. We also reiterate the request we made on Tuesday for the public release of the Director General's report of August 26. In view of the remarks of the Iranian delegation today, it is even more important that the public have an opportunity to view the context in which these proceedings have taken place. Finally, since the Iranian statement included unjustified attacks on other delegations, we believe it would be inappropriate for them to be included in the official record of the Board or placed on the Agency's website. I would also call attention to the purely political nature of Iran's statement, and its failure to address any of the technical issues of safeguards compliance that the Director General's reports have highlighted.

Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.

(end text)

(begin text)

Press Statement Stakeout outside of Board Room, at conclusion of Board of Governors Meeting Vienna International Center

U.S. Ambassador Kenneth C. Brill

September 12, 2003

I'd like to say that the Board of Governors and the IAEA just passed a very strong resolution on the question of Iran. A resolution that gives full backing to the Agency's efforts to get to the bottom of the Iran nuclear issue and to really find what the truth about the Iranian nuclear program is. The Board has considered the issue very carefully for the past week, based on the two reports of [the] DG and I think it's very fair to say that there was very broad support in the Board for the Agency speeding up its work to get to the bottom of this. And for Iran, the absolute essential need for Iran to respond promptly and fully to the outstanding questions the Agency has for it. I think it's very unfortunate that as we concluded this meeting with the passage of this resolution, without a vote, meaning that nobody objected to it. And our Iranian colleague sought to politicize the issue and brought into the Board a series of threats and political statements and did not choose to address any of the technical issues before us. This is an issue that lends itself to technical resolution. Simple answers to direct questions can bring us to the truth, and that's what all of us are trying to get to.

Thank you very much.

Q: How do you interpret "definitive conclusions," what does that mean to you?

A: "Definitive conclusions" means that we will have before us a report that adds to the body of knowledge developed by the agency, and that based on that we should be able to come to a definitive conclusion as to whether Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement. I don't think it's any secret to anyone that the United States believes that the evidence to date already indicates that Iran is not in compliance. But, the Board decided to give Iran one last chance to comply with the Agency's request and the Board's request that it make available all the information the Agency is asking for and allow access to all the sites and installations the Agency needs to visit and take samples in.

Q: If there are open questions again in November, as happened in the last two reports, would you think that the Board should recommend sending it to the Security Council?

A: The Board will have to make that decision, but we think that finding them in non-compliance -- it's quite clear what the obligations of the Agency are with such a finding -- the statute calls for us to report to the Security Council that finding of non-compliance.

Q: In walking out the Iranian delegate said he accepts neither the resolution nor the process. How do you interpret that, what does he mean by process and does that jeopardize the whole deadline, the whole next six weeks of what has been decided in the resolution?

A: Iran has an obligation to honor its agreements and its commitments, and that's what this Board has been calling on. There is no reason for them not to honor those commitments, not to open up fully, as the IAEA has requested, if they are pursuing, as they claim, a peaceful program. If they wish to disrupt that process, it can only lead the Board, and indeed the international community, to conclude that in fact they are not pursuing a peaceful program.

Q: What's your comment concerning the rejection of the Iranian Delegation of the Draft Resolution and the statement that his country is going to revise its cooperation with the Agency?

A: I think I would suggest that indicates that they have something they wish to hide, that they do not want to come to light.

Thank you very much.


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