IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei today briefed the IAEA Board of Governors on a range of nuclear issues, including IAEA safeguards in Iran, nuclear plant safety and budget concerns. The Board is meeting this week in Vienna.
"Even with the proposed budget, the Agency´s financial situation remains vulnerable, and we still fall short of what is needed to carry out our mission in an effective manner. Significant additional resources are still sorely needed," he said.
Regarding IAEA verification of Iran´s nuclear programme, the Director General said "it is incumbent on Iran to work urgently with the Agency, under a policy of full transparency and active cooperation, in order for the Agency to be able to provide assurance regarding the exclusively peaceful nature of all of Iran´s nuclear activities." Regarding the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, he said that he was "increasingly disturbed by the current stalemate and the brewing confrontation - a stalemate that urgently needs to be broken, and a confrontation that must be defused. I continue to believe that dialogue and diplomacy are ultimately the only way to achieve the negotiated solution foreseen in the relevant Security Council resolutions. The earlier that conditions are created to move in this direction, the better."
On the Agency´s financial situation, Dr. ElBaradei warned of serious consequences for the IAEA´s capacity to fulfil its mission unless the issue of an increasing workload coupled with insufficient funding is addressed by Member States. "This dichotomy between increased high-priority activities and inadequate funding, if continued, will lead to the failure of critical IAEA functions," he stated. He said one focus of the problem is the fact that at present too large a part of the Agency´s budget comes from voluntary contributions from Member States. "Our nuclear security programme remains 90% funded through unpredictable and heavily conditioned voluntary contributions. Our safety department continues to rely heavily on extra-budgetary staff."
Dr. ElBaradei also addressed the issue of assurance of supply and the nuclear fuel cycle. The Board is expected to receive a report on "options" for assurances of supply of nuclear fuel. "Controlling nuclear material and the use of nuclear energy is a complex process. And it is clear that an incremental approach, with multiple assurances in place, is the way to move forward," he stated.