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Director General Briefs Press On Iran/DPRK

Mohamed ElBaradei briefs the press

Dr. ElBaradei speaks to the press on Iran and North Korea. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei today spoke to the press about Iran´s nuclear programme and his visit to the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) next week, following the opening of the Agency´s Board of Governors meeting in Vienna today.

Dr. ElBaradei told reporters that the IAEA continued to be in a "stalemate" when it came to verification of Iran´s nuclear programme and that it was not in a position to resolve "outstanding issues of concerns".

"We have been going through the verification process for the last four years and unless Iran is able to provide answers to the Agency about our concerns, then we will continue to be in a position where we have to reserve judgment about their programme," the Director General said.

He called on Iran "to cooperate fully" with the Agency. "This would help a lot in diffusing the emerging crisis about Iran´s programme. It would enable a comprehensive solution that on the one hand guarantees Iran´s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but at the same time provides the international community with the confidence that is needed after many years of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran about its programme and future direction," he said.

Dr. ElBaradei said that to date in Iran, the Agency had "not seen any diversion of nuclear materials... nor the capacity to produce weapons usable materials". He said that these were also "important elements in assessing the situation, assessing the risk, and understanding how to address the Iranian question".

The Director General reiterated his call for a "timeout" regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, saying he hoped talks could resume on the matter. "That´s the only way in my view to achieve a durable solution to the issue."

Regarding Dr. ElBaradei´s planned visit to North Korea next week, the focus was twofold. "One, to see how we can normalize relationship between the IAEA and DPRK. The second is to begin to start the modalities for the Agency going back to start the verification process foreseen under the Beijing agreement," the Director General said.

An agreement reached in Beijing on 13 February foresees that the DPRK will shut down its nuclear facility at Yongbyon including the reprocessing facility, and accept Agency inspection, verification and monitoring at the facility.

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