IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s Interview with Cable News Network (CNN)

The following is a transcript of an interview on CNN with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, which was broadcast live on 25 November 2014:

Reporter: In an interim deal reached a year ago, the West has temporarily eased some sanctions and in return Iran agreed to stop some of its most sensitive nuclear work. So, is it complying, what happens next? Yukiya Amano is Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; he joins me from Vienna. Thank you very much indeed for joining us! How will your work be affected by this extension of talks?

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano: The IAEA will be asked to implement the agreements of the Joint Plan of Action. We had hoped that P5+1 and Iran would reach an agreement but it is understandable that it will take time. The IAEA has been addressing this issue of Iran nuclear issues for more than 10 years but we still cannot give the assurance that all of the activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes. We have two problems: one is that Iran is not fully cooperating with the Agency to clarify the information that may have military aspects. Another problem is that Iran is not allowing us to implement a more powerful verification tool which is called an “Additional Protocol”. Agreement was not reached. That ball is still in play, which is good news. We ask Iran to fully cooperate with us so that we can provide the assurance that all the activities in Iran is in peaceful purpose.

Reporter: They obviously insist it is for peaceful purposes. There are suspicions this could be a delaying tactic while they continue enrichment for military purpose. But is there any evidence from what you’ve seen that that may be the case and that they do have a military program on the way in a secret location you know nothing about?

Amano: The job of the IAEA is to verify the facts. That’s why we are asking Iran to fully cooperate with us to clarify the information and also we are asking them to let us implement a more powerful verification tool.

Reporter: But you are not getting that information, so you can’t be sure what they are doing, am I correct?

Amano: For now we cannot give the assurance that all activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes. If and when a comprehensive agreement is reached, that will help the IAEA to do its job. But it will take time.

Reporter: So in terms of any enrichment processes that are going on and you have received information on, what can you categorically say about any enrichment program currently under way in Iran?

Amano: Iran is implementing the agreement in the Joint Plan of Action and we can verify that they are honoring the commitment that they have made and we give the assurance every month, but the problem is that we cannot yet give the assurance that all nuclear activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes. We cannot yet give a clean bill of health.

Reporter: Presuming you need the access to the sites as well to give that clean bill of health, what sort of access are you being given?

Amano: Having access to sites, people, and documents is very important. That will help us to have a better understanding of the issue. That is why this comprehensive agreement is important but for now we are not yet at that stage. Still we need to continue to work. We are requesting Iran to fully cooperate with us so that we can give the assurance that all the nuclear activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes. 

Reporter: Mr Amano, thank you very much indeed for joining us!

Last update: 21 December 2015