IAEA inspectors confirmed today that Iran started to remove IAEA seals on enrichment-related equipment and material at Natanz. Based on the information currently available, the removal of Agency seals at the enrichment site of Natanz, and at two related storage and testing locations, Pars Trash and Farayand Technique, will be completed by 11 January 2006.
On 7 January 2006, Iran requested that the Agency removes, before 9 January 2006, specified seals at Natanz, Pars Trash and Farayand Technique. These seals covered P-1 centrifuge components, maraging steel, high strength aluminium and centrifuge quality control and manufacturing equipment, as well as two cylinders containing UF6 located at Natanz. The seals also covered some process equipment at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz.
According to Iran, the intended scale of the "R&D&" is small and will be carried out at PFEP. Iran has also informed the Agency that it planned to install small-scale gas ultracentrifuge cascades at PFEP and that, during this "R&D", UF6 gas would be fed into these cascades for research purposes. Iran also indicated that these activities may include the manufacturing of a limited number of new components, currently planned only for P-1 centrifuges.
The cascade hall and the UF6 feed and withdrawal stations at PFEP will continue to be covered by IAEA containment and surveillance measures.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei expressed his serious concern about Iran´s decision to unravel the suspension of enrichment-related activities requested by the IAEA Board of Governors before the Agency has clarified the nature of Iran´s nuclear programme. He recalled that, although the Agency has been investigating Iran´s nuclear programme for three years, a number of important issues relevant to the scope and nature of Iran´s programme remain outstanding due to the less than full and prompt transparency on the part of Iran.
In Dr. ElBaradei´s view, maintaining the suspension, resuming the dialogue with all concerned parties, and providing the necessary cooperation and transparency to the IAEA are conditions for a comprehensive and equitable solution that ensures Iran´s right to peaceful nuclear activities while assuring the international community of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.