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IAEA Director General Briefs Board on Iran, Libya, Other Topics

BOG 8 March 2004

Representatives from the press at the conclusion of the morning session of the Board meeting on Monday, 8 March. (Photo credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

Story Resources

In his statement 8 March 2004 to the IAEA Board of Governors, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei updated the 35-member policymaking body on the Agency's verification of nuclear programmes in Iran and Libya, and related work in areas of nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards.

"In my view, one of the most important outcomes of our verification work in recent months is the lessons we have learned on measures that must be taken to adapt the nuclear non-proliferation regime to the new challenges," he said.

Excerpts follow. See Story Resources for access to the full statement.

Iran

First, I would like to note with satisfaction the marked progress in cooperation on the part of Iran since last October — in particular, by providing Agency inspectors access to requested sites, documentation and personnel, and by suspending reprocessing and uranium enrichment related activities, as a confidence building measure.

Second, I am seriously concerned that Iran’s October declaration did not include any reference to its possession of P-2 centrifuge designs and related R&D, which in my view was a setback to Iran’s stated policy of transparency. This is particularly the case since the October declaration was characterized as providing “the full scope of Iranian nuclear activities”, including a “complete centrifuge R&D chronology.”

Third, it is vital that, in the coming months, Iran ensures full transparency with respect to all of its nuclear activities, by taking the initiative to provide all relevant information in full detail and in a prompt manner.

Fourth, it is essential that the Agency receive full cooperation on the part of those countries from which nuclear technology and equipment originated. This cooperation has already been forthcoming, and I hope it will continue and expand. This is particularly the case with respect to the major outstanding issue regarding the low and high enriched uranium contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz. Hopefully, with no new revelations, and with satisfactory resolution of these and other remaining questions, we can look forward to a time when the confidence of the international community has been restored.

Libya

On 19 December 2003, the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya announced its decision to eliminate all materials, equipment and programmes leading to the production of internationally proscribed weapons — including nuclear weapons. In the months since, we have been working closely with the Libyan authorities to gain a complete picture of Libya’s nuclear programme... Libya’s failure, over many years, to declare to the Agency its nuclear material and activities represents a breach of its obligation to comply with the provisions of its safeguards agreement, and its acquisition of a nuclear weapon design is clearly a matter of utmost concern.

Following the disclosure of its undeclared nuclear activities, Libya has granted the Agency unrestricted access to all requested locations, responded promptly to the Agency’s requests for information, and assisted the Agency in gaining a full picture of its nuclear programme. Libya also agreed to conclude an additional protocol, and to act in the meantime as if the protocol is in force. I will be signing this additional protocol with Libya this week. This active cooperation and openness is welcome, and will facilitate the Agency’s ability to complete its verification of Libya’s past nuclear activities. As in the case of Iran, the Agency also requires the full cooperation of the countries from which the nuclear technology and material originated.

Black Market

As part of verifying the nuclear programmes and activities of Libya and Iran, the Agency has been investigating the supply routes and sources of nuclear technology, including related equipment, materials and expertise. As mentioned in our reports, we have found increasing evidence of a complex black market network. We are working with many governments, both to bring relevant findings to their attention and to request assistance in our further investigation. An important part of our investigation is to find out whether the sensitive nuclear technologies in question have been spread to any other countries or end-users. I will continue to keep the Board informed of developments.

North Korea

The nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and its notice of withdrawal from the NPT, have set a dangerous precedent and thus remain a threat to the credibility of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Since 31 December 2002, when at the request of the DPRK the Agency’s onsite verification activities were terminated, the Agency has been unable to draw any conclusions regarding the DPRK’s nuclear activities.

Last month, the second round of six-party talks took place in Beijing, with the participation of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the USA and the DPRK. The agreement to continue these talks is a welcome development. The Agency is not party to these talks, however, and I am therefore not in a position to report on their outcome. The Secretariat nonetheless remains ready to work with all parties towards a comprehensive solution that strikes a balance between the security needs of the DPRK and the need of the international community to gain assurance, through international verification, that all nuclear activities in the DPRK are exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Safeguards Agreements

Overall, 44 States have yet to fulfil their obligations under the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) to bring safeguards agreements with the Agency into force, and even after the addition of the European Union, additional protocols will have entered into force for only 54 States. I would reiterate my call on all States that have not done so to conclude and bring into force their respective safeguards agreements and additional protocols.