ElBaradei Outlines Expectations as Inspectors Depart to Iran
30 September 2003
A team of senior IAEA inspectors will arrive in Tehran Thursday, 2 October launching an active and intense period of talks and inspections.
Speaking to reporters at IAEA Headquarters today, Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei called on Iran to provide “full transparency and full disclosure” of the history and nature of its nuclear program.
Dr. ElBaradei said these coming weeks will be “decisive” and that the 31 October deadline imposed by the IAEA Board of Governors was “non-negotiable” and should allow Iran “ample time” to “come with a full and accurate declaration.”
The IAEA has submitted to Iran a detailed work plan for the month of October that includes technical talks and a number of inspections. “The most important issue will be to verify the nature and extent of Iran’s uranium enrichment program,” Dr. ElBaradei said. Addressing the 9 September Board of Governors meeting, Dr. ElBaradei said. “We are well aware that we are dealing with an issue that concerns a capability — namely enrichment — to produce weapons usable material. And we still have a number of unresolved problems.”
“There are various scenarios we need to examine: one is contamination of the equipment, another is importation of enriched uranium, a third is enrichment inside Iran and a fourth is some combination of the above,” Dr. ElBaradei told IAEA Board Members. “We need to clarify that as early as possible. That means that we will need the necessary support not only from Iran, but also from all countries that may have provided assistance to Iran. Moreover, we will certainly need to identify the origin of any equipment involved.”
Dr. ElBaradei also remarked that another important issue relevant to enrichment is the question of the testing of centrifuges. “Our experts tell us that testing with nuclear material must have taken place for Iran to reach the stage that it has,” he said. “We need now to reconcile the opinion of our experts with the explanation provided by Iran.”
During the next few weeks, the IAEA experts will also be investigating other issues needing clarification concerning laser activities, the heavy water programme, conversion work and the production of uranium metal.
Dr. ElBaradei emphasized that the Iranian nuclear programme is wide ranging and that IAEA inspectors are working to reconstruct the history of an extensive twenty-year programme. “For us to do that it is obviously not sufficient to rely just on the rights granted in the safeguards agreement,” he said.
“At this stage,” Dr. ElBaradei told the IAEA Board, “we need to understand all aspects of the Iranian programme and make sure that everything has been declared.”