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Australia Condemns Iran's Latest Nuclear Steps

Australia Condemns Iran's Latest Nuclear Steps

I am extremely disappointed by Iran's removal yesterday of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals at its Natanz uranium enrichment research facility, and by Iran's stated intention to undertake uranium enrichment research.

Uranium enrichment is a key technology for producing nuclear fuel but also nuclear weapons. We see no need for Iran to undertake this research.

This is the second time in five months that Iran has broken IAEA seals at sensitive nuclear facilities.

It is yet another instance of Iran's breaking its commitment to suspend all enrichment and enrichment-related activities, and its defiance of the international community's expectations that Iran maintain that suspension.

Australia has been extremely concerned about Iran's nuclear activities because of Iran's record of concealment over nearly two decades.

Despite nearly three years of investigations, the IAEA has still not been able to conclude that these activities are for exclusively peaceful purposes.

Our concerns about Iran's nuclear activities have been brought into sharp focus by the Iranian President's recent anti-Israeli comments.

I have instructed Australia's Ambassador to Tehran to convey Australia's serious concern about Iran's actions and to urge Iran to reverse these latest steps.

Australia will be consulting closely with colleagues on the IAEA Board of Governors to determine the next diplomatic steps, including whether a special IAEA Board meeting should be convened to report Iran to the UN Security Council.

In its September 2005 resolution, the IAEA Board found Iran in non-compliance of its nuclear safeguards agreement and concluded that Iran should be reported to the UN Security Council. Australia supported this resolution, and believes that reporting Iran to the UN Security Council can strengthen the IAEA's authority and ability to investigate Iran's nuclear activities thoroughly.

Iran has been given many opportunities to engage seriously on proposals to meet international concerns and still has the choice to seize these opportunities. I urge Iran to do so.

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