U.S. Statement to the IAEA on Iran

September 12-16, 2011

Agenda Item 5(c)

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of UNSCRs in the Islamic Republic of Iran

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent U.S. Representative to the IAEA

Vienna International Centre
Vienna, Austria
September 14, 2011

Mr. Chairman,

The United States would like to extend its appreciation to the Director General and his staff for his latest report on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of the Security Council resolutions in Iran.  The report’s conclusion is as clear as it is, unfortunately at this stage, familiar: the Director General “is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

The Director General has also informed us that the IAEA is “increasingly concerned” about the possibility of military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.  Deputy Director General Nackaerts told us again at the September 6 Technical Briefing on Iran that the PMD information the IAEA holds is extensive, comes from multiple sources, and is broadly consistent in its
technical details, timing, and personnel and organizations involved.  In the face of all of this, Iran continues to casually dismiss the international community’s concerns.

At the same recent Technical Briefing we heard Iran proclaim its transparency to the IAEA, yet Iran has taken no concrete step to address the central concerns of IAEA inspectors, especially on PMD.  Iran’s obligations are clear and simple, as spelled out in the NPT, its Safeguards Agreement, and United Nations Security Council resolutions.  These resolutions and obligations therein are clear, and the Director General’s report lays these out for Iran yet again: Iran must implement the Additional Protocol; implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to its Safeguards Agreement; suspend its enrichment-related and heavy water-related activities; and address the Agency’s – and international community’s – concerns about the possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.

Mr. Chairman,

Iran claims to strive to be a responsible player in the field of peaceful nuclear energy, and the international community recognizes Iran’s right, as a member of the NPT, to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but Iran’s actions show it continues to reject the responsibilities that condition that right.

Of particular concern is Iran’s decision to begin the installation and operation of centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom.  Iran has stated that Fordow is now intended to produce near-20 percent enriched uranium for research reactors, while also engaging in research and development of advanced centrifuges.  This narrative is the latest in Iran’s rolling rationalization for why it built this facility, which it only belatedly declared to the Agency.  Iran claims it needs the near-20 percent enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), and to fuel reactors for which the ground has yet to be broken and which Iran has yet to declare to the IAEA for safeguards purposes.

However, the amount of near-20 percent enriched uranium already produced at Natanz is sufficient for any first installment of TRR fuel Iran might produce – though it so far lacks the technical capability actually to fabricate the fuel. We must ask ourselves, therefore, what purpose Iran might have in expanding its production of near-20 percent enriched uranium now, and moving it deep underground?  It is important to keep in mind that production of near-20 percent LEU completes 90 percent of the work necessary for production of highly enriched uranium.

Mindful of the unanswered questions about Iran’s nuclear intent and its unwillingness or inability to resolve questions concerning possible military dimensions to its program, it is hard to see Iran’s actions at Fordow as anything but a provocation.  I am confident this Board will not be diverted from recognizing this fact about Iran’s newfound willingness to show slightly more transparency at declared facilities for one visit. Current IAEA safeguards in Iran might well provide us with some warning, should Iran choose to “break out” of all of its nonproliferation obligations and use its stockpile of 20 percent LEU in pursuit of an expedited nuclear weapons capability.  But that will come too late.

So, Iran can and must do more if it wishes to provide real and enduring assurance to the international community about its nuclear program. Adhering to its IAEA obligations would be a start, but given Iran’s long history of violations, it would not be sufficient.  Real assurance demands full Iranian compliance with all of its international obligations.

Mr. Chairman,

The Director General’s latest report deepens the United States’ already serious concern regarding Iran’s continued refusal to resolve the Agency’s PMD concerns. Most disturbingly, the Director General reports that the Agency is “increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”  The Director General notes that the Agency continues to receive new
information in this regard, and the Director General retains high confidence in this information’s consistency and credibility.  Iran’s well-worn rhetoric that this information is “baseless” or “fabricated” does nothing to address the issues or alleviate the international community’s concerns.  As noted by the Security Council and the Board of Governors, the resolution of these issues, which can only be achieved through Iran’s complete, immediate, and expansive cooperation, is a basic requirement to determine and verify the extent of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

By now Iran should have no illusions about the seriousness we place on these concerns.  Iran has had years to address the Agency’s growing concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. In light of the IAEA’s continued receipt of information about these activities, and the fact that the Director General notes the extensive, comprehensive, and credible nature of the IAEA’s information, we reiterate our call for the Director General to report to the Board a full assessment of the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program as soon as possible.

We note Iran’s recent claim that it is starting a new era of cooperation.  We have heard this claim before, but it has yet to be fulfilled.  If Iran is truly sincere about its intentions, it will immediately take the steps outlined by the Security Council and Board of Governors, including providing full cooperation and promptly addressing the possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.  We look forward to the Director General’s next report to the Board to learn whether Iran’s actions finally live up to its words.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.