IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei today spoke to the press about Iran´s nuclear programme, before the opening of the Agency´s Board of Governors meeting in Vienna this week. He told reporters that during the IAEA´s inspections, it had not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. However, he said there were still a number of "important uncertainties" that needed to be clarified. "Unfortunately the picture is still hazy as to the scope and nature of Iran´s nuclear program."
Following are excerpts from his remarks:
- 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. 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 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 balance, is the art of creative diplomacy that everyone is engaged in as we speak.
- There are many options but one solution. The only solution I see is a comprehensive agreement that covers the nuclear issue, the security issue, the economic issue and political issue. These are all interrelated.
- The issue of research & development (R&D) in Iran is an issue that is very much divisive... Iran has been running around 20 centrifuges. That has not changed in the past few weeks. I would hope again that at this stage that Iran would again freeze their R&D until a solution is found.
- 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.
- 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. 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 is a matter to be seen and is dependant on progress to bring the parties to the negotiating table.
For more information, see Story Resources and the special section on the IAEA´s safeguards in Iran.