Status of the Agency's Verification Activities in Iraq As of 8 January 2003
New York, USA
- The following information is provided to update the Council on the activities of the IAEA pursuant to Security Council resolution 1441 (2002) and other relevant resolutions. It describes the verification activities performed thus far, next steps, and where we are at this stage.
Inspections, interviews and analysis
- The initial priority of the IAEA, upon resumption of its verification activities in Iraq, was "reconnaissance": the re-establishment of its knowledge of Iraq's nuclear capabilities, including confirmation of the locations of major equipment, of nuclear material and significant non-nuclear materials, and of key technical personnel.
- We have already achieved good progress in re-establishing our knowledge of Iraq's nuclear capabilities. While we are still continuing with our reconnaissance, we have now initiated the investigative phase, with particular emphasis on Iraq's activities over the last four years, focussing on those areas of concern identified by States, as well as those identified by the IAEA on the basis of its own analysis.
- Since 27 November 2002, when the Security Council-mandated inspections in Iraq were resumed, the IAEA has conducted 109 inspections at some 88 locations. A majority of these inspections have taken place at industrial facilities (State-run as well as private), research centres and universities where most of Iraq's significant technical capabilities were known to have existed in the past. The inspections have included facilities identified through commercial satellite imagery as having been modified or constructed since 1998, in addition to some new locations. All of the inspections have been carried out without prior notification to Iraq, except where notification was necessary to ensure that specific support would be available.
- The Iraqi authorities have consistently provided access without conditions and without delay. They have also made available additional original documentation in response to requests by IAEA inspectors. These documents, however, do not include any which are relevant to the questions and concerns outstanding since 1998, in particular as regards weapons design and centrifuges. As previously noted, these questions and concerns, though not unresolved disarmament issues, are nevertheless in need of further clarification.
- The IAEA has also started the process of interviewing key Iraqi personnel. While the determination of the modalities for interviews, including location, is vested by resolution 1441 in the IAEA, the willingness of the interviewees to accept the IAEA preferred modalities remains a limiting factor. For example, in the case of the two interviews which the IAEA requested be conducted in private, the individuals to be interviewed requested the presence of an Iraqi government observer. Although not optimum, the inspectors in these two instances acceded to the request by those interviewed for the presence of an Iraqi observer with a view to gaining whatever information was available under the circumstances. The IAEA will continue to report on its efforts to interview Iraqi personnel according to its preferred modalities and its degree of success in that regard.
- Analysis of all information now available to the Agency is continuing in parallel with, and in support of, inspection activities. In this context, the IAEA has integrated the new declarations submitted by Iraq, including the updated backlog of semi-annual declarations provided in September 2002 and the "Currently Accurate, Full and Complete Declaration" (CAFCD) submitted in December 2002, with the information accumulated between 1991 and 1998 (e.g., original documents collected by the IAEA; results of inspection activities; commercial satellite imagery; and information provided by States) and information acquired after 1998.
Specific issues raised by Member States
- In response to IAEA questioning, the Iraqi authorities indicated that unsuccessful attempts had been made in 2001 and 2002 to procure high-strength aluminium tubes in connection with a programme aimed at reverse engineering 81-millimetre rockets.
- With a view to verifying information provided by Iraq on this issue, the IAEA has conducted a series of inspections at sites involved in the production and storage of reverse engineered rockets, held discussions with and interviewed Iraqi personnel, taken samples of aluminium tubes, and begun a review of the documentation provided by Iraq relating to contracts with the traders.
- While the matter is still under investigation, and further verification is foreseen, the IAEA's analysis to date indicates that the specifications of the aluminium tubes sought by Iraq in 2001 and 2002 appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for it. It should be noted, however, that the attempted acquisition of such tubes is prohibited under paragraph 24(a) of resolution 687 (1991), which, inter alia, proscribes the supply to Iraq of components of arms and related matériel.
Other Dual Use Items
- The relocation and consumption of some dual use materials has been among the questions raised in connection with Iraq's backlog of semi-annual declarations. The high explosive "HMX" is a prime example of such material. The removal of Agency seals on the HMX and the declared relocation and consumption of some of the HMX must be explained and documented by Iraq before the Agency can reach a conclusion with regard to the use of such material. The Iraqi declarations indicate that out, of the 228 tonnes of HMX available in Iraq at the end of 1998, 196 remained at the facility where the HMX was previously under IAEA seal. Iraq also declared that it had blended the remaining 32 tonnes with sulphur and turned them into 45.6 tonnes of "industrial explosive" provided mainly to cement plants for mining. The material balance, current stock, whereabouts and final use of such material are currently being investigated.
Uranium import efforts
- There have been recurrent reports of Iraqi efforts to import uranium after 1991. The Iraqi authorities deny any such efforts. The matter continues to be pursued by the IAEA. It would be useful to receive from States any specific information they may have in that regard.
- The Agency will continue to seek additional clarification of certain aspects of Iraq's past nuclear weapons programme, and will follow up any other issues identified as a result of its field activities, its own analysis and information that may be provided by States. To this end, the IAEA intends to exercise of all its rights under all of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including on-site inspection activities at any location which the IAEA deems appropriate; collection of material and environmental samples at known and new locations; satellite imagery analysis; radiation monitoring; interviews with Iraqi officials and other persons; and the use of any other technology assessed to be necessary to enhance the IAEA's verification activities.
- At this stage, the IAEA is able to report the following progress:
- Through access to buildings identified, through satellite imagery, as having been modified or constructed during the period 1998-2002, the IAEA has been able to clarify the nature of activities currently being conducted at such buildings.
- Although not complete, significant progress has been made in the verification of Iraq's explanations regarding its attempts to procure high-strength aluminium tubes.
- Steps have been taken to clarify the disposition of the HMX that had been subject to verification prior to 1998.
- To date, no new information of significance has emerged regarding Iraq's past nuclear programme (pre-1991) or with regard to Iraq activities during the period between 1991 and 1998.
- To date, no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities has been detected, although not all of the laboratory results of sample analysis are yet available. It should be noted that IAEA's verification activities serve not only as a mechanism for verifying that Iraq is not currently carrying out any proscribed activities, but equally as an important deterrent to the resumption of such activities by Iraq.
- The IAEA will endeavour to provide the Security Council as early as possible with credible assurance of the absence of prohibited nuclear and nuclear-related activities in Iraq, but there still remains a significant amount of work to do. While it has been possible to accumulate significant information through field activities, an important part of that information will require additional follow-up before the IAEA is able to draw definitive conclusions.
- The IAEA's efforts to draw such conclusions will be greatly facilitated by the active cooperation of Iraq, not only in continuing to secure access to locations, but, importantly, in providing documentation, making available Iraqi personnel for interview and encouraging them to accept IAEA modalities for such interviews, and providing the IAEA with any physical evidence which would assist it in reaching its conclusions. To this end, I intend to visit Iraq with the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC in the third week of this month to discuss with the Iraqi authorities outstanding issues and to impress on them, once more, the importance of their active co-operation.
- As requested in paragraph 5 of resolution 1441 (2002), IAEA activities and achievements in Iraq during the two months of inspection since 27 November 2002 will be described in greater detail in an update report to the Council to be available by 27 January.