IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, September 13-17, 2010

Agenda Item 7(c)
Nuclear Verification: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Mr. Chairman,

The United States would like to express its appreciation to the Director General for his latest report on the implementation of the IAEA’s Safeguards Agreement in Iran. The Secretariat, in particular the safeguards inspectorate, also deserve deep gratitude for their hard work, professionalism, and impartiality.  This report marks the eighth year since the public learned of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, and it clearly notes that Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. We, too, endorse the report’s public release.

Mr. Chairman,

Since 2003, the IAEA has reported 30 times on Iran’s failure to comply with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and, since 2006, it has reported 20 times on Iran’s failure to comply with the UN Security Council requirement to suspend its uranium enrichment- and heavy water-related activities.  In response to these reports, the international community has repeatedly expressed its concern that Iran’s nuclear intentions are not peaceful through multiple IAEA Board resolutions and six UN Security Council resolutions.  This concern was clearly expressed through the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1929 on June 9, imposing new legally-binding sanctions on Iran to respond to its ongoing proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities.  Resolution 1929 not only added to the growing list of sanctions on Iran; it reiterated the serious concerns, shared by the majority of UN Member States, including Iran’s neighbors, about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

In an effort to address the issue through diplomatic means, the United States has repeatedly called on Iran to restore international confidence and has presented Iran with a number of opportunities at confidence-building by pursuing unprecedented efforts at engagement over the past two years.

With respect to the IAEA’s Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) refueling proposal from last year, Iran’s response letter to the IAEA does not address the concerns expressed by the United States, Russia, and France.  We view the TRR track and the E3+3 track as related, not separate efforts.  The TRR refueling proposal is a possible confidence building measure, but it does not address the international community’s broader concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.  We continue to consult with our international partners on this issue.

Unfortunately, Iran has refused to negotiate in good faith a diplomatic resolution to the broader nuclear issue. We have seen this demonstrated by Iran’s long history of avoiding substantive discussion, including, among many others, its refusal to answer many of the IAEA’s most pressing questions about its nuclear activities, especially concerning the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.  In addition, Iran is expanding and escalating some of its most proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities such as uranium enrichment in blatant violation of its UN and IAEA obligations.

The report notes that Iran continues to produce near twenty percent enriched uranium.  This activity not only exacerbates Iran’s violation of its obligation to suspend enrichment activities, it also heightens the concerns of the international community regarding the purpose of Iran’s enrichment program.  This step was also taken without providing the IAEA sufficient notice to put in place appropriate revisions to the safeguards procedures before Iran began increasing the enrichment level; Iran did not agree to these safeguards revisions until two months after the IAEA’s request was issued.

While we understand that since then the IAEA has been implementing safeguards according to the revised procedures, Iran has unfortunately heightened what appears to be a long-term campaign to undercut the effectiveness of safeguards implementation in the whole of Iran. Specifically, the Director General’s report expresses the Agency’s concern with Iran’s latest objection to certain designated IAEA inspectors in Iran, an objection the IAEA rejects and has led the Director General to report that Iran’s action “hampers the inspection process and thereby detracts from the Agency’s capability to implement effective and efficient safeguards in Iran.”  It is unprecedented for a state to reject inspectors because they report accurately to the Director General what they see and what they hear.  The United States deems the de-designation of inspectors as being synonymous to the INFCIRC 153, paragraph 9 language that indicates that the Board should consider “appropriate action” when inspections are being impeded by a States’ rejection of inspectors.  To that end, the United States fully supports the IAEA’s denunciation of Iran’s treatment of certain inspectors, which we consider a clear effort to intimidate inspectors and thereby influence the conclusions of inspectors in Iran.  This undermines the confidence-building process.

With respect to the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom, the Director General notes that Iran still refuses to provide the Agency with the information it needs to fully understand the purpose of the plant and the chronology of its construction.  Of particular concern is Iran’s failure to inform the IAEA in 2006 when it decided to construct the facility.  This was before Iran made its claim to have unilaterally abrogated its commitments under modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Iran continues to deny access to the original design documentation for the Fordow plant and to companies involved in the design and construction of the plant. The IAEA needs this information to help verify Iran’s claims as to the ultimate, supposedly peaceful purpose of this facility and to help ensure that there are no other undeclared facilities in Iran.

The Director General also concluded that Iran continues to move forward with its heavy water-related activities in further violation of UN Security Council resolutions.  We note that Iran also has refused to allow the Agency access to the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) and to the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) for taking samples. In addition, the Agency reports that, contrary to UN Security Council decisions, construction at the IR-40 reactor at Arak is ongoing and that the heavy water plant seems to have resumed operation.

As I have noted previously, the United States fully 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 once again reminds us that Iran remains the only state with significant nuclear activities that refuses to acknowledge its legal obligations under the modified Code 3.1.  I note that recent press allegations about a possible new enrichment plant in Iran come after several statements from senior Iranian leaders over the last year trumpeting Iranian plans to build additional plants.  The United States recalls that the Board of Governors supported modifications to Code 3.1, including the requirement for early declaration of nuclear facilities, precisely to avoid the kind of uncertainty and lack of confidence Iran is now so flagrantly sowing. Iran’s attempt to systematically undercut a core element of the IAEA’s strengthened safeguards system should be of concern to all member states that put value in the peaceful-use assurances we all rely on the IAEA to provide.

Mr. Chairman,

As many previous reports issued by the Agency have discussed, there remain several key issues and questions related to the possible military dimensions to Iran’s program, issues that remain unresolved by Iran. Faced with Iran’s unwillingness to engage the IAEA on core issues related to possible military dimensions, the Director General clearly states that substantive and proactive engagement on these issues by Iran is essential to enable the Agency to make progress in its verification of the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations.  The Agency, once again, requests it 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 government fully supports the Director General’s repeated requests.

Mr. Chairman,

The lengthening list of Iran’s violations of its obligations under its safeguards agreement and UN Security Council resolutions, together with Iran’s overall refusal to address international concerns – as detailed in the DG’s report – undermines Iran’s frequent claim that there is nothing left to be worried about with Iran’s nuclear program.  The United States and our international partners in this room worked hard to seek opportunities to build mutual confidence.  Iran, however, has to date failed to engage in any continuing and meaningful way.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite 30 IAEA reports, the fundamental question remains:  Is Iran willing to meet its international nonproliferation obligations, build international confidence, and enable the IAEA to provide assurances as to the peaceful nature of its nuclear program?  Based on the latest report by the Director General, we regretfully must conclude that Iran is clearly refusing to do so, with implications that this Board of Governors cannot ignore and will need to consider, given the accumulating evidence that Iran is clearly failing to adhere to even its “routine” safeguards obligations by hampering inspector access and repeated, flagrant violations of its Modified Code 3.1 obligations.

Mr. Chairman,

My government is committed to a diplomatic resolution of international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and committed to the dual track approach.  Yet, Iran continues to single itself out by refusing to fully cooperate with the IAEA, refusing to comply with its UN Security Council responsibilities, and instead moving forward with a nuclear program that raises clear concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions. Iran’s intransigence increasingly represents a challenge to the nonproliferation rules of the road and a challenge to every member of this Board.  If Iran truly seeks a leadership role, it cannot ignore international norms and ignore its obligations.  Such behavior will only lead to Iran’s further isolation.

The choice remains with Iran.  The UN Security Council resolutions and the Board resolutions speak plainly to the steps that Iran can take to address the world’s concerns about its actions.  The United States and its partners have built a broad consensus that will welcome Iran back into the community of nations if it meets its obligations.  As Secretary of State Clinton noted in her September 8 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, the choice for Iran’s leaders is clear, and they have to decide whether they accept either their obligations or increasing isolation and the costs that must come with it.  We hope that Iran will not miss this opportunity to break a nearly eight-year-long stalemate with the international community.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.