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IAEA Director General Briefs Press on Iran, Egypt

This video clip shows the IAEA Board of Governors at the start of meetings beginning 28 February 2005 and a press briefing by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
(Video Credit: P. Pavlicek/IAEA)
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IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei today briefed the press on the Agency’s nuclear safeguards activities in Iran and Egypt, before the IAEA Board of Governor’s meeting opened in Vienna. An unofficial transcript of his remarks follows.

On Iran

Primarily I would like to ask Iran to provide us with additional information that can accelerate our work. But on the substance of important issues -- like contamination; like the nature of the enrichment programme -- we are making progress. We are also verifying the suspension, which is a good thing.

On Iran, we are working on two fronts:

  • The Agency is working to understand the past programme, the nature of that programme and whether we have seen everything that we need to see. Whether there has been, or is, a military component to it;
  • The other component of concern is the declared capability of enrichment and that is where the Europeans are working with Iran to try to reach a solution that assures the international community about the nature of the programme. And on the other hand, makes sure that Iran is entitled or continues to be entitled to make use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

On Egypt

There will be a report to the Board of Governors on Egypt. We are saying, of course, that it is regrettable that some activities have not been reported to us, although, again as we have said before we haven't seen a proliferation concern. Yet I'd like to ask all countries to take their reporting obligations, their non-proliferation obligation, with the seriousness it deserves.

The Director General additionally responded to several questions from journalists.

Question: Dr. ElBaradei, do you think that the Iran dossier can be wrapped up in June?

We still have work to do. I cannot really put any time frame on that dossier. We have two issues, obviously to make sure that we have seen all aspects of the past programme, but then we also have to continue to build confidence and provide assurance that there is nothing undeclared. This takes times particularly in light, as I have always said, of the clandestine nature of the programme for almost two decades. I'd like to bring that issue to a closure as early as we can and that's why I keep calling on Iran to be proactive and to go out of its way to help us to bring some of these issues to a closure.

Question: Dr. ElBaradei, there are reports this weekend that from as long ago as 1987, Iran was discussing nuclear weaponry with other individuals. Apparently, you had to push Iran to come up with that information. Was that disturbing to you, does that represent a new element in your examination of Iran and the nuclear programme?

We're still looking for all sorts of information. We're getting information in cooperation with Pakistan with regard to contamination. We are getting information with regard to contact with people that were involved in the illicit network, trafficking. Iran as you rightly said, showed us for the first time this offer they had, and that is good. But we still obviously have a lot of work to do to make sure that they only got what they told us they got out of this offer. The offer was extensive but they indicated that they did not, obviously, take these people up on the entirety of the offer. But that is the kind of information we need... much documentation, access to people for interviews. It is good for Iran because we need to build confidence. So we are still working through some of these issues...