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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

NAM: Issues of safeguards, verifications should be resolved on technical grounds

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Vienna, Sept 22, IRNA
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members of Board of Governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday that all issues on safeguards and verification including on Iran should be resolved within the framework of the IAEA and based on technical grounds.

They strongly reiterated the basic and inalienable right of all member states to develop atomic energy for civilian purpose.

In a statement called "Implementation of NPT Safeguards in Iran", delivered by Malaysian Ambassador and Resident Representative Rajmah Hussain, NAM member states of IAEA Board of Governors said that while fully supporting the efforts towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, said that NAM maintains the principled position that non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear technology should be addressed in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner.

Addressing to Canadian Head of IAEA Board of Governors Catherine Hall, the statement said NAM would like to emphasize that it is fundamental to make a clear distinction between legal obligations of member states to their respective safeguards agreements and their voluntary commitments.

"This is required to ensure that voluntary commitments of member states will not be turned into legal safeguards obligations. NAM is of the view that member states should not be penalized for not adhering to their voluntary commitments," it added.

According to the statement, NAM recalls that the suspension of Iran's enrichment and reprocessing activities is a voluntary and non-legally binding confidence building measure and should not be interpreted in any way as inhibiting or restricting the inalienable right of member states to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

"NAM believes that all problematic issues should be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means. NAM encourages continued dialogue and cooperation between the E3/EU and Iran to promote mutual confidence with the view to facilitate agency's work on Iran's nuclear program.

"In fostering an environment of cooperation to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue, NAM appreciates all initiatives including that of South Africa."
"Recognizing the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification, NAM expresses its full confidence in professionalism and impartiality of the IAEA led by Mohamed ElBaradei.

"In this regard, it strongly believes that all issues on safeguards and verification including that of Iran should be resolved within the framework of the IAEA and be based on technical grounds," said the statement.

"Central to the report, NAM is pleased to note that all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for and that such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."
"NAM is aware that for Iran, corrective actions have been taken, no new failures were identified and verification of the correctness and completeness of their respective declarations is ongoing.

"NAM encourages Iran to continue its pro-active cooperation with the agency to solve remaining issues.

NAM notes that since October 2003, good progress has been made in Iran's corrections of the failures reported and in the agency's ability to confirm aspects of Iran's current deceleration. NAM is pleased to note that it continues to make steady progress in understanding Iran's nuclear program.

"In this regard, NAM notes that investigations have reached a point where, with respect to two aspects previously identified (laser enrichment activities and Iran's declared uranium conversion experiments) further follow-up will be carried out as a routine safeguards implementation matter.

NAM also notes that Iran has, since October 2003, provided the agency upon its request and as a transparency measure, access to certain additional information and locations beyond those required under its Safeguard Agreement and additional protocol.

"Regarding the two remaining issues identified in the report of the director general, NAM notes that on the first issue, which is on contamination, significant progress has been made towards ascertaining the origin of uranium contamination found at various locations in Iran.

"On the second issue regarding gas centrifuge enrichment program, namely the extent of Iran's efforts to import, manufacture and use centrifuge of both the P-1 and P-2 design, NAM is pleased that a better understanding was gained of Iran's efforts relevant to both designs.

NAM also notes that efforts are also being made to further clarify the issue," it added.

The agency has been able to verify Iran's suspension of enrichment related activities at specific facilities and sites and NAM notes that the agency has been able to confirm that the produced UF6 remains under seal at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF).

The statement said that NAM welcomes the substantive progress that has been made in resolving the outstanding issues on the implementation of Iran's safeguards agreements and is optimistic at these remaining questions will be resolved with the pro-active cooperation of Iran with the IAEA.

"In this regard, NAM welcomes the declaration of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the 2005 UN General Assembly, which reaffirms Iran's commitment to its continued interaction as well technical and legal cooperation with IAEA as the centerpiece of its nuclear policy.

"NAM also welcomes the initiatives of Iran aiming at a greater degree of transparency, in particular, with regard to its enrichment program and considers it as a further confidence building measure to facilitate dialogue and negotiations for the resolution of the issue in the framework of the IAEA," it added.

The statement continued that while noting the agency's legal authority to pursue verification of possible nuclear weapons related activity is limited, NAM is of the view that any request for additional legal authority has to be negotiated by member states.

It added that in this regard NAM reiterates the importance of the promotion and strengthening of the multilateral process.

"NAM is of the firm view that any remaining problems pertaining to the issue on Iran's nuclear program should be resolved only within the framework of the IAEA with the active participation of IAEA director general and the cooperation of all parties involved through continue dialogue and negotiations in order to reach a constructive outcome," concluded the statement.



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