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Thursday, November 22, 2007

What the IAEA really said about Iran

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has filed its latest report on the implementation of safeguards and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Timeline leading up to the current report

In December 2006 and again in March 2007 the UN Security Council passed resolutions requiring Iran to comply with the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and urging it to implement a number of safeguards in its nuclear program.

In June 2007 IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei outlined that "diplomacy and negotiation" provided the only durable solution for the implementation of safeguards and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in Iran.

In the months from June to August a number of IAEA inspections were carried out along with meetings and interviews with officials and technicians involved in Iran's nuclear program.

On 27 August, the IAEA Secretariat released the text of a work plan agreed between Iran and the IAEA titled "Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues."

On 30 August, Director ElBaradei released a report on the implementation of the NPT safeguards. This contained a number of outstanding questions that required actioning.

On 15 November, ElBaradei circulated the current report to the IAEA Board of Governors on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The findings of the current IAEA report

  • The work plan agreed by the Secretariat and Iran in August, in which Iran has finally committed itself to address the outstanding issues relevant to its nuclear activities, is proceeding according to schedule.

  • As the report makes clear - the scope and nature of Iran´s centrifuge enrichment activities - there has been good progress in connection with the verification of Iran´s past acquisition of P-1 and P-2 centrifuge enrichment technologies. The Agency has concluded that the information provided by Iran in that regard is consistent with the Agency´s own investigation.

  • Verification of the uranium particle contamination at a technical university, as well as the alleged studies and other activities that could have military applications, will, in accordance with the work plan, take place over the next several weeks.

  • The Agency will also continue to seek corroboration and verification of the completeness of Iran´s declarations concerning its nuclear material and activities as per the agreed work plan.

  • The IAEA's knowledge about specific aspects of Iran´s current programme has diminished since 2006, when Iran ceased to provide the Agency with information under the additional protocol and additional transparency measures.

  • Progress over the past two months has been made possible by an increased level of cooperation on the part of Iran, in accordance with the work plan.

With regard to Iran´s current nuclear activities, we have been able to verify the non-diversion of all declared nuclear material. We also have in place a safeguards approach for the Natanz facility that enables us to credibly verify all enrichment activities there.

However, as with all States that do not have an additional protocol in force, we are unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. This is especially crucial in the case of Iran, because of its history of undeclared activities, and the corresponding need to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran´s nuclear programme.

I urge Iran, therefore, to resume without delay the implementation of the additional protocol. The Agency needs to have maximum clarity not only about Iran´s past programme but, equally or more important, about the present. I should note, however, that the Agency has no concrete information about possible undeclared nuclear material or weaponization activities in Iran, other than the outstanding issues I have already mentioned.

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