The Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835 in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2010/10)
Board of Governors Meeting March 1-5, 2010
Agenda Item 5 (c) U.S. Statement
Ambassador Glyn Davies
Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna
Thank you very much Mr. Chairman,
We would like to thank the Director General for delivering a solid, professional, and detailed report on the Agency’s efforts to implement the IAEA Safeguards Agreement in Iran and UN Security Council resolutions adopted with respect to Iran. The Secretariat deserves our appreciation for its continued perseverance as demonstrated in this the 28th report to the Board documenting Iran’s failure to comply with its obligations.
We must face reality and acknowledge that, far from having resolved the international community’s longstanding concerns, Iran’s provocative actions in further defiance of its obligations have deepened the concerns of all responsible members of the international community. And the Director General has found additional cause for alarm. Iran continues to play a cat-and-mouse game with the IAEA, providing only the most minimal level of access to declared sites. Iran has failed to provide much-needed confidence in the nature of its nuclear program, and its activities have caused the IAEA to conclude that the Agency cannot confirm that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” This increases our conviction that full Iranian cooperation with the IAEA needs to be immediately forthcoming.
We stand here for the, as I have said, twenty-eighth time in nearly eight years, once again discussing the many outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program. And once again, as the latest report concludes, Iran has stymied attempts by the IAEA to confirm the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. Iran has not suspended its enrichment- and heavy water-related programs, as required by the UN Security Council and the Board of Governors. Instead, the Director General reports that Iran has declared that its stockpile of low enriched uranium hexafluoride at Natanz increased by 257 kilograms between 23 November 2009 and 29 January 2010 to approximately 2,065 kilograms.
Most troubling of all, however, is that the Director General notes in his latest report that Iran moved precipitously to achieve near twenty percent enrichment, an escalatory move in blatant and direct violation of the UN Security Council and Board requirements. This step was also taken despite the IAEA’s request for Iran to respect the letter of its Safeguards Agreement and first put in place appropriate revisions to the safeguards procedures at Natanz. The IAEA requested additional measures in light of the increased proliferation sensitivity of 20 percent enriched uranium, an enrichment level that represents the majority of the enrichment effort Iran would have to make to produce nuclear material for a nuclear weapon.
With regard to the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant at Qom, we note from the DG’s report that Iran still refuses to provide the Agency with the information it needs to fully understand the purpose and chronology of the construction of this facility. Iran is not providing access to information such as the original design documentation for the Fordow plant or access to companies involved in the design and construction of the plant. Without these clarifications, the international community will continue to doubt Iran’s claims as to the disposition of this facility or trust that there are no other undeclared facilities, which Iran refuses to confirm.
We should also not forget that Iran withheld the declaration of its decision to construct the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in contravention of its obligations under Code 3.1 modified, or that the very construction of this enrichment plant is another direct violation of five UN Security Council resolutions that obligate Iran to suspend its enrichment-related activities. My delegation supports the IAEA’s legal determination that agreed Subsidiary Arrangements cannot be changed unilaterally and, therefore, the modified Code 3.1, as agreed to by Iran in 2003, remains in force. The Director General reminds us that Iran remains the only state with significant nuclear activities that refuses to acknowledge its legal obligations under Code 3.1 modified. In continued defiance of this obligation and the IAEA’s legal finding, Iran has failed to notify the IAEA in a timely manner about the decision to construct or to authorize the construction of facilities such as Darkhovin and the Fordow plant, and has provided only limited design information. As the Director General clearly notes, these actions by Iran, contrary to its obligations under Code 3.1, raise concerns about the completeness of its declarations.
The DG further notes that the absence of early information on new facilities reduces the time available for the Agency to plan necessary safeguards arrangements and reduces the level of confidence in the absence of other nuclear facilities. Therefore, following the revelation about the enrichment plant at Qom in September 2009, it is clear that the IAEA has reason to be concerned about the possible construction in secret of other new nuclear facilities in Iran. Iran’s public announcement in December 2009 of plans to construct ten new enrichment facilities, five where the locations have been decided, further undermines confidence among the international community about the nature or intention of Iran’s nuclear program, given the absence of nuclear reactors in Iran to receive the enriched uranium these facilities would produce. Construction of new enrichment facilities by Iran would be in further direct violation of Iran’s obligations under UN Security Council resolutions. Media reporting of a recent Iranian pronouncement that it will begin construction of two new enrichment plants very soon only compounds the matter. In fact, as the Agency’s request for design and scheduling information on such facilities remains unanswered, it only deepens distrust and skepticism and raises further concerns that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability.
As you and other esteemed colleagues here today are aware, the United States acknowledged Iran’s request for assistance to address the humanitarian need to provide medical isotopes to its people by refueling its Tehran Research Reactor. And despite Iran’s many violations, we joined the Governments of France and the Russian Federation months ago in supporting the IAEA’s proposal to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor using Iran’s own low-enriched uranium to produce the reactor fuel.
The IAEA’s proposal was fair, evenhanded, and was offered to address the twin goals of meeting Iran’s humanitarian need and beginning to establish mutual trust and confidence. The proposal responded to the concerns of all parties as expressed during three days of discussions chaired by then-Director General ElBaradei, whose hands-on approach represented robust fulfillment of the IAEA’s statutory mission of facilitating such arrangements. The proposal offered multiple assurances to ensure that the project would be fully implemented. These assurances were to be codified in a legally binding Project and Supply Agreement, to be approved by this Board and with the IAEA as a guarantor.
The United States signaled its willingness to sign the so-called “PSA” document, thereby becoming a direct party to the agreement. Furthermore, our Governments offered political guarantees, including a specific declaration of support by the United States, and President Obama himself spoke publicly in support of the project. In November, as an even further assurance of fuel delivery, the U.S., Russia, and France agreed that Iran’s uranium could be held “in escrow” in a third country until final delivery of the nuclear fuel, with a guarantee that Iran would get its material back if the agreement was not fulfilled. As the former IAEA Director General described the offer last year, the IAEA’s proposal has “extensive built-in guarantees.”
Unfortunately, despite all of this, Iran refused to take “yes” for an answer. It has not accepted the IAEA’s proposal and the positive first step it would have represented, instead choosing provocation over confidence-building and rhetorical defiance over the medical needs of its people. We see Iran’s unwillingness to accept the IAEA’s proposal as representing not only a lost opportunity for mutual confidence-building and progress toward a diplomatic solution, but also a missed opportunity for Iran to secure the ability to produce medical isotopes at the TRR as expeditiously as possible. As the Board is aware, the U.S., Russia, and France have made clear that the most responsible, cost effective and timely alternative to the IAEA’s proposal would be the world market of medical isotopes.
Even more worrisome, Iran has chosen to use its refusal to accept other alternatives for refueling the reactor as a pretext to produce enriched uranium at a higher level closer to what it would need for nuclear weapons. As the Secretariat confirmed in the Technical Briefing to Member States last week, Iran does not currently possess the capability to produce fuel for the Tehran reactor. In fact, Iran has never operated a reactor with Iranian-produced fuel. Thus, Iran will not be able to manufacture the fuel for the TRR by the end of this year, when Tehran claims it will need the fuel. Should Iran attempt a crash program to make such fuel – untested and without the necessary safety and regulatory measures – that would be a matter of serious concern for not only Iran’s immediate neighbors, but for the entire world community that would like to preserve and expand global confidence in the safety of nuclear reactors. This raises further questions about the true intent behind Iran’s move to 20 percent enrichment.
Iran’s recent letters to the IAEA are similarly troublesome. Iran would like to divert attention from the fact that it has not accepted the IAEA’s offer of assistance and has instead only repeated the same request which was already dutifully answered by the IAEA.
Iran’s continued production of low-enriched uranium and its move to enrich up to nearly twenty percent are, unfortunately, just the latest additions to the long list of steps Iran has taken in disregard of its obligations to all of us in this Boardroom and beyond. As the Director General notes in his report, Iran continues to make significant progress in its heavy water-related activities in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions. The report distinctly points to Iran’s obligation under paragraph 2 of UNSCR 1737 to suspend work on all heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a heavy water-moderated research reactor, a suspension also to be verified by the IAEA. Despite this, the Director General notes that Iran continues with its heavy water-related activities and refuses to answer the Agency’s questions, specifically about the contents of over 750 50-litre drums said by Iran to contain heavy water, and refused the IAEA’s request to take samples from those drums. Moreover, the Agency reports — and Ambassador Soltanieh, himself, confirmed at the Technical Briefing last week — that contrary to UN Security Council demands, construction at the IR-40 reactor at Arak is ongoing, that the Heavy Water Production Plant seems to be in operation again, and Iran has consistently denied the IAEA’s request for access to this plant. These activities are in violation of Iran’s Security Council obligations, and undermine efforts to further reassure the international community that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The IAEA continues to document that there is cause to believe that Iran’s nuclear program is indeed not exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Director General recounts in his report several key issues and questions related to possible military dimensions to the program that remain unanswered by Iran. The Agency has sought clarification on whether Iran’s exploding bridgewire detonator activities were solely for civil or conventional military purposes; whether Iran developed a spherical implosion system; studies that suggest Iran was working to adapt its missiles to hold a nuclear payload; and details relating to the manufacture of components for high explosives initiation systems. Furthermore, the report raises concerns that such activities may be continuing.
Despite Iran’s unsubstantiated denials and unwillingness to engage the IAEA on these issues, the Director General clearly states that the information available to the Agency in connection with these possible military dimensions is extensive and has been collected from a variety of sources over time. He notes that it is also broadly consistent and credible in terms of the technical detail, the timeframe in which the activities were conducted, and the people and organizations involved. The Agency, once again, requests that Iran engage with the IAEA on these issues and that the Agency be permitted to visit all relevant sites, have access to all relevant equipment and documentation, and be allowed to interview relevant persons without delay. My delegation fully supports the Director General’s request.
We find ourselves eight years into an investigation which Iran seems determined to defy, obfuscate, and stymie. The list of outstanding issues has grown and become even more alarming. Nevertheless, the fundamental issue remains: will Iran cooperate so that the IAEA can provide assurances as to the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and non-diversion for military purposes as required by the IAEA Statute, NPT, UNSC, and Iran’s own Safeguards Agreement? The Director General has told us that that Iran is preventing the IAEA from doing so and that the next steps must be Iran’s.
This Board took an important step in November 2009 with its eighth resolution on Iran. This resolution underscored the imperative for Iran to live up to its international obligations and offer transparency in its nuclear program. However, Iran’s recent move to enrich uranium to twenty percent demonstrates Iran’s disregard for the concerns of all of us. And yet the steps Iran could take to resolve these concerns have been clearly, and repeatedly, identified by the UN Security Council and by this Board.
• suspend all enrichment-related, reprocessing, and heavy water-related activities as called for by UNSCRs 1737, 1747 and 1803;
• provide information and access necessary to resolve all outstanding issues, particularly with respect to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program;
• ratify and fully implement the Additional Protocol;
• provide access to relevant design documents and companies involved in the design of the Fordow Plant;
• provide the IAEA with access to any new nuclear facilities planned or under construction;
• and, most importantly, Iran must provide the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is directed to peaceful activities.
Iranian officials have made it clear that they seek a regional leadership role, including via their nuclear accomplishments. However, Iran cannot be a leader so long as it stands against international law and deliberately contravenes its obligations. As President Obama has said, “with rights come responsibilities”. We ask only that Iran meet the commitments that it has made to us all. While the United States has joined its international partners for more than a year in reaching out to Iran through direct diplomacy, Iran continues to resist all efforts to come to a negotiated settlement or to build any confidence in its intentions. We hope that Iran will change its current course and seek the path of negotiations. Not doing so leaves the international community no choice but to pursue further, deeper sanctions to hold Iran accountable.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.