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Transcripts of Interviews

Transcript of the Director General´s Press Statement on Iran

IAEA Headquarters Vienna

Delivered 24 September 2005

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

The Board this afternoon adopted a resolution on implementation of Safeguards in Iran.

I think that the international community sent a message to Iran that it is not satisfied with the pace and level of co-operation with the IAEA in clarifying the remaining outstanding issues. The international community is also not satisfied with the level of confidence-building measures Iran has taken so far. I think the over-all focus of the resolution, that calls on Iran to accelerate its cooperation in resolving the outstanding issues, accelerate the measures they can take to build confidence.

I look forward, very much to continue to cooperate with Iran in resolving the issues we still have to be able to provide assurance, long fought for by the international community, that Iran´s program is dedicated exclusively for peaceful purposes. I hope that Iran will continue to work with all members of the international community to build confidence that its programme is for peaceful purposes. I hope that everybody will make every effort go back to the negotiating table. I´ve always said that this is the only way to proceed further, to build confidence.

I think what I heard today at the Board is encouraging. Everyone acknowledged that the issue remains very much here in Vienna, that there is ample room here, still, for negotiations, that the issue has not been deferred to the Security Council and that a number of countries have indicated their readiness to work with Iran and with the European Union to try to find a way for Iran to go back into the negotiating process with the European Union.

I regret, of course, that the resolution has not been adopted by consensus as is customary here. I ask every member of the Agency to make every effort, again, to go to work as a united Board, as a united international community. I think in facing the increasing challenges in the area of non-proliferation we can simply ill afford to be divided.

I noted that we were not able to reach an agreement at the NPT Review Conference in New York as to how we proceed in meeting the challenges in the area of non-proliferation. I was deeply disturbed by the lack of any mention of arms control and disarmament at the Summit in New York last week and today I also see a divided Board. That is not the way, I would hope, we should continue to proceed. I would urge all of our members to understand that the only way we can move forward on the number one security issue we are facing today, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, is to stay united and to have a common purpose. We will all win together. We can also all lose together.

AFP: Do you think that the fact that the vote was divided, in a sense, invalidates or diminishes the message that would eventually result Iran going to the Security Council?

A: No, I think the message is very clear. The resolution has been adopted in accordance with due process, in accordance to the rules of the Agency. So the message is a message on behalf of the Board, on behalf of the international community. Of course, if would have been better to have a united Board to send an absolute, unanimous message to Iran, but I still think the message is quite clear. I would hope, however, having adopted that resolution, that the ball, now is with Iran to continue to co-operate with the Agency as early as possible and I was assured to hear Iran here saying that they would continue to co-operate with the Agency. I hope Iran will continue to work with the European Union. I hope, everybody, will make the effort needed to get the parties back to the negotiating table. As I said, at the end of the day, many of these issues that have to do with regional security, economic relations, could only be resolved through negotiation. I am encouraged that the issue has not been deferred to the Security Council, precisely to give time for diplomacy and negotiation. So all of us need to explore this window of opportunity, from now until November, to make sure that we are moving toward a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

IRIB: Did you ever report non-compliance of Iran? Secondly, we see that there is no consensus in the Board. What is the message?

A: That is not the first time that the Board has had to vote. This is parliamentary democracy, as I said, it would have been better of course to have a unanimous decision, but it is still a valid decision, adopted in accordance with due process. I have reported that Iran has been in breach of its obligation to comply with its safeguards agreement. It is for the Board to make the judgement whether this is non-compliance with the safeguards agreement or not. They have made that determination today. But at the same time they said, time is still available for diplomacy to resolve outstanding issues, for Iran to build confidence, and that the question of reporting to the Security Council could only be discussed at a later date. Timing and context is very much dependent on the negotiating process and on Iran´s co-operation with the Agency in the next few weeks. As I said, I look forward for all parties to exercise maximum restraint. I call upon Iran to continue to cooperate with the Agency, as I have said in my report, we have made good progress and I´d like to build on that progress.

GUARDIAN: Do you regret that the Board is now obliged to report the dispute to New York and are you suggesting that November is a deadline for that reporting?

A: Whether to report the issue to the Security Council and in what context is clearly a policy judgement that has to made by the Board. I would decline to comment on the wisdom of the Board´s decision. It is a Board decision and I have to respect it and obviously work on it. I think November is when we have our regular Board meeting and I would hope that we do not have to have a Board before that. I would hope to be able, in November, to continue to report progress on resolving the outstanding issues we have with Iran. I was assured by Iran, I was assured by Mr. Larijani who was here ten days ago, that they would continue to work actively with me, with my colleagues on resolving these outstanding issues. I look forward to continue to work with them on these issues. I hope again, that all other parties that are engaged in the dialogue with respect to confidence-building, the European Union and Iran, make every effort to go back to the negotiating table. I was assured today to hear many countries: China, South Africa, Russia, India are all expressing their readiness to contribute getting the parties back to the negotiating table. It was a good message from the Board that we need to move forward. It was also a message of optimism on the part of the Board that opportunities still exist for diplomacy and I can assure you that my colleagues and I, all our members, will clearly do everything to make sure that this issue is resolved through peaceful means.

Thank you very much.