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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

23 September 2005

U.S. Believes It Is Time To Report Iran to Security Council

Iran's actions have exhausted the IAEA board's forbearance

The United States supports the European Union (EU) and the growing majority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board that believes it is time to report Iran's noncompliance with nuclear weapons curbs to the U.N. Security Council, the chief U.S. negotiator says.

"Iran's actions, regrettably, have exhausted this board's forbearance.  And regrettably, we are now being subjected to a variety of threats," Ambassador Gregory Schulte told the IAEA board of governors September 21 in Vienna, Austria.

"A country with peaceful intent would fully comply with its [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] commitments, not threaten to withdraw from them.  A country seeking our confidence would suspend activities of concern, not threaten to start the next stage."

The EU submitted a motion September 23 to the IAEA board that calls for Iran to be referred to the U.N. Security Council later this year unless it halts some of its nuclear activities, according to press reports.

Schulte said there are two reasons why Iran's noncompliance with NPT requirements should be referred to the Security Council.

"First, our statute requires us to make this report.  Two years of determined effort by the agency, in the face of continued obstruction, have not allowed the agency to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran," he said.

There is no confidence in Iran’s broad assertion that its program development activities are peaceful in nature, he said.

"This absence of confidence, coupled with the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear program, unexplained connections to the military, extensive efforts at concealment, and the intentional shattering of the Paris Agreement, give us clear cause to notify the Security Council," he said.

Schulte said it is the goal of every nation to resolve this issue in a peaceful, diplomatic way that would restore confidence in Iran's activities and bring it back into full compliance with its nuclear safeguard obligations.

"Reporting Iran to the Security Council will signal to Iran's leadership that they are pursuing a course that will lead to increasing condemnation and isolation.  It will allow the Security Council to take appropriate steps to strengthen international efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution," Schulte said.

For additional information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

Following is the text of Schulte's remarks:

(begin text)

IAEA Board of Governors Meetings
September 2005
Vienna, Austria

U.S. Statement on Iran to the IAEA Board of Governors

Agenda item 6 (d): Nuclear Verification, Other Safeguards Implementation Issues Iran

Statement delivered by Ambassador Gregory Schulte

Madam chair,

The United States government is a strong proponent of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  We have nuclear cooperation agreements with some 45 countries.  We are the largest contributor to the IAEA’s technical cooperation program, having provided $130 million since 2000 for projects in over 100 member states.  We believe that civil nuclear energy will play an increasingly important role in meeting the growing energy requirements of developed and developing countries alike.

The United States supports the right of all member states to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful uses.  It is a right embodied in Article IV of the non-proliferation treaty.  But the treaty does not allow for that right to be manipulated cynically for military ends.  Hiding a weapons program under the cover of “peaceful” use is a danger about which the U.N. Secretary-General and the IAEA director general have repeatedly warned us.  It subverts the nonproliferation regime and can even put at risk the peaceful benefits of nuclear power that our countries all deserve to enjoy.

In November 2003, the board strongly deplored Iran’s failures and breaches of its safeguards obligations.  The board at that time could have reported Iran’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council.  Instead, the board allowed time and directed efforts to rectify these failures and breaches.  We allowed time for the IAEA to investigate the many outstanding issues resulting from 18 years of deception and concealment.  We allowed time for Iran to try to earn the confidence of the international community in what Iran said was the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.  And we allowed time to allow the EU3 [Britain, France and Germany] to pursue a negotiated settlement that would give Iran substantial political and economic benefits in exchange for foregoing the capabilities that give us such concern.

Over the last two years, the IAEA and EU3 have been tireless in their efforts to resolve outstanding issues and to seek a negotiated settlement.  How has Iran used that time?  To start uranium conversion and prepare enrichment.  To accelerate work on a heavy-water research reactor.  To reject generous offers before they are even received.  And to continue to deny the full transparency that the director general needs to verify the nature of Iran’s programs.  As the Director-General informed us in his latest report, that transparency is overdue.

Iran’s actions, regrettably, have exhausted this board’s forbearance.  And regrettably, we are now being subjected to a variety of threats.  A country with peaceful intent would fully comply with its NPT commitments, not threaten to withdraw from them.  A country seeking our confidence would suspend activities of concern, not threaten to start the next stage.

Madam chair,

We agree with the European Union and a growing majority of the board that the time has come to report Iran’s noncompliance to the U.N. Security Council.  There are two reasons why:

First, our statute requires us to make this report.  Article XII.C is unambiguous.  Two years of determined effort by the agency, in the face of continued obstruction, have not allowed the agency to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.

During those same two years, our confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s activities has sunk even lower.  This absence of confidence, coupled with the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear program, unexplained connections to the military, extensive efforts at concealment, and the intentional shattering of the Paris Agreement, give us clear cause to notify the Security Council under Article III.B.4.

We have a legal obligation to report Iran’s non-compliance.  But there is a second reason:

It is still our goal –- indeed the goal of nearly every country here -- to achieve a peaceful, diplomatic solution that would restore our confidence in Iran’s activities and return it to full compliance with its safeguard obligations.

Recently, we have been looking for a signal that Iran is ready to return to the negotiating table.  However, Iran’s actions and statements not only in Tehran, but also in New York and here in Vienna have shown no flexibility.  Instead of taking a course of cooperation and negotiation, Iranian officials made bellicose statements to this board in August, and to the General Assembly in New York.  Even in the midst of deliberations, Iran has threatened to quit the NPT and to begin enrichment activities.  These reckless words only serve to deepen our concerns about the nature and intent of Iran’s nuclear program and intentions.

Reporting Iran to the Security Council will signal to Iran’s leadership that they are pursuing a course that will lead to increasing condemnation and isolation.  It will allow the Security Council to take appropriate steps to strengthen international efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution.  A report does not "remove" the issue from the IAEA.  Rather, a report is a means to seek the Council's help in convincing Iran it must take seriously its obligations to this agency.

Diplomacy does not end with our report.  Instead, a report will be another essential step in our diplomatic efforts to convince Iran to change course.  The EU3 has made a generous offer that would enhance the security and prosperity of the Iranian people.  Iran should stop those activities that concern us, give the IAEA access to its facilities, files and scientists, and come back to the negotiating table.

Madam chair,

I would like to conclude by thanking the IAEA safeguards department.  Its investigators have been tireless in their efforts to penetrate systematic efforts to conceal capabilities and manipulate facts.  And the inspectors have carried out their duty under the most difficult and unusual of circumstances.

It is now time for the board to do our duty.

(end text)

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



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