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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN agency says it is facing 'stalemate' with Iran over nuclear programme

7 September 2009 – The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog warned today that the agency has reached a deadlock with Iran over most aspects of its nuclear programme as he urged the country to credibly answer the international community's concerns over potential military dimensions to the programme.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a meeting of the agency's 35-member Board of Governors that although Iran had cooperated on some issues, such as improving safeguards at a fuel enrichment plans, “on all other issues? there is stalemate.

“Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities or its work on heavy water-related projects as required by the Security Council, nor has Iran implemented the Additional Protocol [of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty],” Dr. ElBaradei said at the board meeting, held at IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

He called on Iran “to respond fully to all the questions raised by the agency in order to exclude the possibility of there being military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

“To this end, it is essential that Iran substantively re-engage with the clarify and bring to closure all outstanding issues, including the most difficult and important questions regarding the authenticity of information relating to the alleged weaponization studies, by granting the agency access to persons, information and locations.”

Dr. ElBaradei said that if Iran does not implement the Additional Protocol, the IAEA “will not be able to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, especially given Iran's past record of failing to declare material and activities.”

Iranian authorities must also clarify their future intentions regarding the nuclear programme, he stressed.

“This is essentially a question of confidence-building between Iran and the international community through comprehensive dialogue and other measures. I call on all parties to begin this dialogue as soon as possible and urge Iran to respond positively to the recent United States initiative in this regard,” said Dr. ElBaradei, referring to an offer of talks.

Elsewhere in his report to the board, the Director General also said he was dismayed by allegations of some Member States that information concerning Iran's nuclear programme had been withheld from the board by the IAEA secretariat, calling them “politically motivated and totally baseless.”

Turning to Syria, he said that while authorities in Damascus had cooperated with the IAEA over its verification activities at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor, they have not yet granted the agency access to information, locations, equipment or materials concerning a destroyed building at Dair Alzour, which has been alleged by some to be the site of a nuclear reactor.

“I urge Syria to cooperate with the agency in its verification activities related to the nature of the Dair Alzour site. It is in Syria's interest to enable the agency to corroborate its statements. I also call on other States which may possess information relevant to the agency's verification to make such information available.”

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