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Transcripts of Interviews

Transcript of the Director General´s Press Statement on Iran

IAEA Headquarters Vienna

Delivered 6 March 2006

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

Good morning to you.

The Board of Governors is about to start its regular March session.

We have, obviously, a number of important issues on our Agenda, including, naturally, the issue you are coming for which is the implementation of safeguards in Iran.

We expect that this issue will be taken up either Tuesday, tomorrow, afternoon or Wednesday morning.

The Board will consider my report on Iran. As many of you have reported on my report, we have been working hard in Iran for the last three years. We have made good progress in understanding the nature of the programme. We have not seen indication of diversion of material to nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.

However, there are still a number of important uncertanties that need to be clarified. For that I expressed concern and regret that after three years we ought to have been able to clear these uncertainties. But, unfortunately the picture is still hazy and not very clear as to the scope of the programme and as to the nature of that programme.

The other issue of course is the question of confidence-building requested of Iran to take, precisely because of the uncertainties that are still there and because of the undeclared nature of the programme in the past. The Board has requested Iran to take a number of confidence-building measures including suspension of enrichment related activites, ratifiying and implementing the Additional Protocol.

I will be reporting on these issues. As you have seen, again, Iran has started some centrifuge related R&D. They also have declared that the Protocol will not be implemented at this stage, although, I should say, that we continue to get co-operation on the part of Iran.

As a matter of transparency, my deputy was there a week ago and we are inching forward. I have asked, clearly in my report, Iran to be fully transparent.

Maximum transparency is required because Iran is very much a special case.

We need to reconstruct the undeclared programme that has taken place for 18 years. And for us, we need to interview people, we need to have access to documents.

We have received transparency but not with magnitude or the speed expected.

I hope that Iran will continue to show transparency, speed up the transparency measures.

The earlier we are able to clarify the past, the better for Iran to be able regulate the future in its relationship with Europe and the rest of the international community.

The other issue, of course, is the confidence-building measure, and there is a lot of dialogue going on to try to reach an agreement on modalities for Iran and the EU3 to go back to the negotiating table.

The last weekend has seen a flurry of activities in all capitals, almost, that are trying to find ways and means to bring Iran and the EU3 back to the negotiating table.

I should say there has been lots of progress on many elements of that agreement. I think there has been an agreement that industrial scale enrichment should be suspended for a while.

I think there is an agreement that Iran should continue to implement the Additional Protocol and ratify it as early as possible.

The sticking point, as you have seen, remains the question of the centrifuge related R&D and that issue is still being discussed this week and I still hope that in the next week or so that agreement could still be reached.

I´m calling on all parties to do their utmost to create the conditions to be able to go back to negotiation.

There are many options, but one solution. The only solution I see is a comprehensive, political agreement that covers the nuclear issues, security issues, economic and political issues.

These are all interrelated issues and the earlier that we get all concerned parties back to the negotiating table the better we are able to find durable solution.

I think confrontation could be counterproductive. It would not provide us with a durable solution. The earlier that we bring the parties back to the negotiating table the better for everybody.

Meantime I call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint in their public statements. I think it is important to focus on ways and means to go back to the negotiating table.

We will be with you here over the next few days.

The Board will take up the issue tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning. I do not expect the Board to adopt a resolution on the Iranian issue unless there is a breakthrough and unless there is a positive agreement. As things stand I do not expect the Board to adopt a resolution on the Iranian issue. I will, as requested in February, transmit my report to the Security Council along with other reports I have transmitted to the Council. Whether the Council will discuss the issue this is a matter to be seen and is very much dependant on progress on bringing the parties to the negotiating table. Thank you very much.

AFP: [Inaudible] ...do you think that the final solution will include 20 centrifuges?

A: On transparency I think I mentioned in my report access to military sites, we have been given access to a number of military sites recently, to Parchin, Lavisan, Chian, to dual use equipment to interview people, these are beyond the Additional Protocol but they are essential for us to reconstruct the history of the programme.

The issue of R&D is an issue which is very much divisive. Both parties are taking hard positions on this issue, for a variety of reasons, each one sees it in a different light. However, I would not make any views on this issue, all I can say, I would hope that the parties would create the conditions to go back to the negotiating table.

BBC: [Inaudible]

Whether the Security Council will discuss the issue, the timing, the modalities is very much dependent on the discussion here on whether we have a agreement or not and whether the parties return to the negotiating table Iran has been running around 20 centrifuges. That has not changed much in the past few weeks. I would hope again that at this stage Iran would again freeze their R&D until a solution is found. Lots of parties are engaged. Almost every capital is engaged in trying to find a solution. There is Universal recognition that this is an issue of serious implication to international peace and security. It has to do with regional security the whole Middle East security is very much at stake. Everybody understands that escalation is not going to help a situation that is highly, highly volatile right now in the Middle East. What everybody would like to see is a balance between Iran´s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and assurance to the International community that that program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

How we can strike that balance that´s the art of creative diplomacy which I hope everyone is engaged in as we speak.