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U.S. Statement on Agenda Item 6(e) at the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte , U.S, Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Vienna, Austria
June 11, 2007

Agenda item 6(e) -- Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions [1696(2006), 1737 (2006), and 1747 (2007)] in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr. Chairman,

The United States Government thanks the IAEA Secretariat for its thorough and professional efforts to execute the Agency's safeguards mandate in Iran and to verify Iran's compliance with the requirements of the UN Security Council.

The Director General's report and his opening statement confirm that Iran has failed to comply with multiple resolutions of the IAEA Board and the UN Security Council.

The Director General describes two disturbing trends:

  • first, Iran's continued pursuit of capabilities to enrich uranium and produce plutonium in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, and 1747; and
  • second, Iran's progressive withdrawal of cooperation with the IAEA, causing a troubling deterioration in the Agency's knowledge of Iran's nuclear activities.

The latest two instances of Iran withholding cooperation from the IAEA are its suspension of Code 3.1 and its denial of inspector access to conduct Design Information Verification inspections at Arak.

Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement to Iran's Safeguards Agreement was part of the Board's efforts to strengthen the safeguards system. Iran was the last state with a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and significant nuclear activities to accept the current Code 3.1 and now, despite the Board's serious concerns about Iran's nuclear activities, has announced its unilateral decision to suspend it.

Code 3.1 requires Iran to provide early declaration of any decision to construct a new nuclear facility or to modify an existing one and to provide early design information on the facility. The IAEA has informed Iran that Code 3.1 cannot be modified unilaterally and that there exists no mechanism in the Safeguards Agreement for the suspension of provisions agreed to in the Subsidiary Arrangements.

The Director General's report also describes Iran's refusal to permit the IAEA to conduct a Design Information Verification inspection at the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak. Iran claims that this decision is based on its suspension of the early declaration provisions of its Subsidiary Arrangement. Yet, the Arak reactor has already been declared to the IAEA and, as the Director General's report authoritatively states, "the Agency's right to verify design information provided to it is a continuing right, which is not dependent on the stage of construction of, or the presence of nuclear material at, a facility."

Iran's latest denials are cause for serious concern for a number of reasons.

First, these new denials constitute new violations of Iran's international obligations.  Iran has no right to unilaterally suspend Code 3.1 or to deny inspections at Arak. The Director General makes this clear in his report. Iran's denial of inspections at Arak is an apparent breach of its Safeguards Agreement, and its refusal to provide early design information on any new nuclear facilities shows a clear willingness to commit future breaches.

Moreover, the denial of access to IAEA inspectors violates Resolution 1737 of the UN Security Council, which requires Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA in addressing outstanding issues.

Second, these new denials cast new doubts on the nature of Iran's nuclear activities and the intentions of its leadership.
By denying early design information, Iran's leaders are indicating that they will not inform the IAEA of new nuclear facilities until just before nuclear material is introduced. This signals the possibility of Iran building new, sensitive nuclear facilities in secret and only informing the IAEA just before operations begin.

This is of serious concern given Iran's past record of hiding nuclear installations like Natanz from the IAEA, Iran's repeated failures to declare sensitive nuclear activities, and Iran's continued refusal to provide the IAEA information on all aspects of its centrifuge activities, including its work on advanced centrifuges.

By denying inspections at Arak, Iran is preventing IAEA inspectors from verifying that the facility is being built as Iran has declared. The IAEA is being denied the ability to ensure effective safeguards implementation that covers all aspects of the reactor's design, such as irradiation channels. This is especially serious given Iran's proven history of undeclared irradiation of uranium targets that were later used for reprocessing experiments. Moreover, the continued denial of access would mean that the IAEA would not know until shortly before the reactor begins operations whether Iran has installed hot cells or the capability to reprocess spent fuel and extract plutonium on a scale sufficient to produce nuclear weapons.

Mr. Chairman, let's recall the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak is well designed to produce plutonium. This is why the UN Security Council has required Iran to suspend work at this facility and why this Board denied technical cooperation in its construction.

Mr. Chairman, if Iran's leaders claim their pursuits are transparent and peaceful, why do they persist in violating their international obligations and refusing cooperation with the IAEA? If Iran's leaders want the world's confidence, why are they keeping inspectors out of Arak and refusing to provide early information on new nuclear facilities?

The United States joins with other Board members in supporting the Agency's request of April 18, 2007, that Iran both reconsider its decision with regard to Code 3.1 and permit the Agency to carry out Design Information Verification at Arak at the earliest opportunity.

Mr. Chairman, Iran's latest refusals to cooperate only add to a long list of previous refusals by Iran to provide necessary, and in many cases required - cooperation, information, and access to the IAEA. Another recent example is Iran's denial of designation for 48 inspectors to Iran. The Director General reports that this remains an unresolved matter.

The United States firmly supports the Secretariat's request to reverse the denial of inspector designations. This is particularly important now that an unannounced inspection regime has been established at Natanz, a regime that will presumably impose additional requirements for Iran-designated inspectors.

My delegation asks the Director General to report to the Board immediately if Iran's denial of inspectors hinders the implementation of safeguards in Iran. We also ask the Director General to report immediately if there are additional Iranian denials of any IAEA requests.

Mr. Chairman, we are disappointed that Iran's leaders have ignored international concerns and violated Iran's international obligations. We are disappointed that Iran's leaders have not taken advantage of the willingness of the United States, Europe, Russia, and China to engage in diplomatic negotiations on the basis of last June's six-country offer.

The six-country offer and the offer of direct talks with the United States remain on the table. Iran's leaders need only to comply with their international obligations to the IAEA and Security Council. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Released on June 11, 2007

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