21 June 2004
IAEA Resolution Puts Iran on Notice, Says Powell
ElBaradei tells Iran to be more proactive, transparent, cooperative
Secretary of State Colin Powell said that with the June 18 passage of a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has been put on notice "rather firmly and strongly" to respond to international concerns over its nuclear program.
Speaking with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei after their meeting at the State Department in Washington June 21, Powell said he was "very satisfied" with the resolution, and hoped that "in the weeks and months ahead the Iranians will satisfy all the concerns that members of the international community still have."
"[I]n due course, we will have a chance to examine their response in September and at that time judgments can be made as to what action might be appropriate," Powell said.
Director General ElBaradei said his agency has been asking Iran to become more proactive, transparent and cooperative.
"I think the international community is urgently seeking assurance from the [IAEA] that Iran[‘s] program is exclusively for peaceful purpose[s]," he said.
Turning to North Korea, Secretary Powell said the United States is entering six-party talks on the country's nuclear program, due to begin June 23 in Beijing, "with a spirit of flexibility in trying to solve this problem."
"But the resolution of the problem demands that North Korea fully divulge and fully turn over and fully dismantle, in a way that the whole world can see and there is no question about it, and also to make sure we remove their nuclear program," he said.
Powell said Pyongyang is aware of the benefits that would result from a resolution of its standoff with the international community.
Both Secretary Powell and Director General ElBaradei said U.S. and IAEA work in dismantling Libya's nuclear weapons program was an excellent model of cooperation.
"[W]e are working very closely with the Libyans to ensure that they will make full use of the benefit of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose," ElBaradei said.
Secretary Powell also praised anti-terrorism efforts in Saudi Arabia directed against al-Qaida, saying the actions show the Saudis recognize and are taking seriously the danger the organization presents to their country.
Following is the transcript of Secretary Powell and Director General ElBaradei's remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell And Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
June 21, 2004
(1:40 p.m. EDT)
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm very pleased to have spent time this afternoon with my good friend and colleague, Mohamed ElBaradei. We had a good discussion dealing with IAEA matters. I indicated to the Director General that I was satisfied, very satisfied, with the outcome of the work of the IAEA on the resolution concerning Iranian programs and we hope that in the weeks and months ahead Iranians will satisfy all the concerns that members of the international community still have.
We also discussed Libya and I thanked my friend Mohamed for the great work that the IAEA did working with us and the United Kingdom and others in removing those programs from Libya. It was a great example of solid cooperation between the United States and the IAEA.
And I briefed him on the upcoming talks that we'll be having in the six-party framework in Beijing with respect to the North Korean programs.
So it's a great pleasure to have the Director here and I invite him to say a word or two, and then we'll take a question or two.
DIRECTOR GENERAL ELBARADEI: As Secretary Powell have mentioned, we had a very constructive meeting reviewing some of the nonproliferation issues that are on our agenda, the IAEA agenda.
On Iran, I think I repeated to Secretary Powell the commitment of the Agency that we need to bring this issue to a close as soon as we can; that I have been asking, as the Board also have been asking Iran to become proactive, to become transparent and to be fully cooperative. And I hope I see that mode of cooperation in the next few months. I think the international community is urgently seeking assurance from the Agency that Iran program is exclusively for peaceful purpose.
On Libya, I think, as the Secretary mentioned, it has been a model of cooperation to remove a country's proscribed programs from that country and to dedicate Libya's energy to peaceful nuclear activities, and we are working very closely with the Libyans to ensure that they will make full use of the benefit of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose.
On North Korea, again, I reaffirm my conviction that the earlier we are in a position to resolve the North Korean issue, which I find it one of the most dangerous challenges facing the international community, the better. And the Secretary briefed me on the new round of talks and I look forward that we will be soon in a position to go back and verify North Korean program and make sure that it is all under Agency verification.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there have been persistent reports that South Korea and China, at least, would prefer a more flexible approach, whatever that means, to North Korea. And maybe it means some countries should offer, danger some economic benefits, which the U.S. will not do, as far as we know. But can you get into that about -- is there -- is flexibility required? Or is there just a demand that they stop doing what they're doing?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they should stop doing what they are doing. We have always entered these talks with a spirit of flexibility in trying to solve this problem. We've made it clear to the North Koreans what it will take to solve the problem and the benefit that ultimately await for North Korea when the problem is resolved. But the resolution of the problem demands that North Korea fully divulge and fully turn over and fully dismantle, in a way that the whole world can see and there is no question about it, and also to make sure we remove their nuclear program. And the other members of the six-party talks have indicated a willingness to provide some assistance rather quickly.
The United States will want to see performance on the part of the North Koreans, but we will enter these talks as we have entered previous talks, with flexibility and with an attitude of trying to solve this problem, not for the purpose of continuing the problem and not finding a solution.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on Iran, there are reports today that the Iranians have seized three British vessels. Are you concerned about those reports? And regarding the nuclear issue on Iran, this resolution, the IAEA resolution, does not punish Iran for failing to comply with inspectors. Do you think at some point soon, perhaps by September, there should be some sanction that should be referred to the Security Council?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have seen the reports about the British ships and there seems to be some substance to the reports, but I don't have the details and I don't have enough information to give you any solid confirmation so I would yield to the authorities in the region as well as the British Government to answer those questions.
With respect to Iran, they have been put on notice, once again rather firmly and strongly, in this new resolution that the international community is expecting them to answer its questions and to respond fully. And in due course, we will have a chance to examine their response in September and at that time judgments can be made as to what action might be appropriate.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, about Saudi Arabia, how significant and perhaps decisive a blow was dealt to al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia with the killings of al-Muqrin and other militants? And how do you assess the current threat there now?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it's still a dangerous place because of the attacks that have happened in recent months. But the al-Qaida individuals who were killed over the last several days show that the Saudis are taking it seriously and they're going after these people. They recognize the danger that the presence of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia presents, not only to Saudis but to the expatriate community that works in Saudi Arabia.
So I'm pleased that the Saudis are acting in such an aggressive way to get these killers and murderers and to make it clear to them that they will not be successful in their terrorist activities in Saudi Arabia.
I have to leave now. Thank you.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)