26 November 2003

United States Welcomes IAEA Resolution on Iran

Warns that future Iranian violations would require referral to Security Council

By David Shelby
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Kenneth Brill, the U.S. Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna, expressed his satisfaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) adoption of a November 26 resolution on Iran's nuclear program.

In a statement delivered to the IAEA's Board of Governors, Brill stated that "By strongly deploring Iran's ‘past failures and breaches of its obligations to comply' with its Safeguards Agreement, the Board has expressed the international community's unity in rejecting Iran's policies of denial, delay, and deception, and acknowledged Iran's past behavior as noncompliance."

In the text of the IAEA resolution, the Board notes "with the gravest concern, that Iran enriched uranium and separated plutonium in undeclared facilities, in the absence of IAEA safeguards."

The Board also notes "with equal concern, that there has been in the past a pattern of concealment resulting in breaches of safeguard obligations."

The resolution welcomes Iran's offer to cooperate more actively and openly with the IAEA. Ambassador Brill acknowledged in his statement that Iran claims to have "come clean." He cautioned, however, "This resolution makes clear ... that such statements by Iran cannot be taken at face value, and that the Board expects the Agency to thoroughly and robustly verify them."

In the resolution, the Board "requests the Director General to take all steps necessary to confirm that the information provided by Iran on its past and present nuclear activities is correct and complete as well as to resolve such issues as remain outstanding." In addition to a robust verification system, the resolution calls for Iran to adopt an Additional Protocol, which would allow for closer scrutiny of the country's nuclear activities.

Brill stated that Iran's recent attempt to link implementation of the Additional Protocol to other issues was unacceptable.

The Board conveyed its decision that "should any serious Iranian failures come to light, the Board of Governors would meet immediately to consider, in the light of the circumstances and of advice from the Director General, all options at its disposal."

Brill declared, "Iran should make no mistake about our resolve that under such circumstances, an immediate report to the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] would be necessary."

U.S. officials had initially hoped that the IAEA would be willing to vote for an immediate referral of the matter to the UNSC. Brill said, however, that "the United States believes the adoption of this resolution demonstrates that the Board remains unified and resolute in its determination to hold Iran to its obligations, especially in the wake of so many broken promises that have come before."

The resolution is the result of intense high-level consultations among the member states sitting on the Board of Governors. The Board was able to adopt the resolution without a vote, indicating an absence of dissent.

In the November 26 State Department press briefing, Spokesman Richard Boucher addressed questions about U.S. concerns regarding Russia's assistance to Iran in building a light water nuclear reactor for power generation, saying, "Our view is, people ought to be careful, continue to be careful about their programs, particularly at this moment, when Iran has not yet implemented all its commitments."

Boucher went on to say that "peaceful reactor construction should proceed only if Iran was meeting all the requirements of the international community to satisfy the international community that Iran was not conducting weapons programs on the side."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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