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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Perhaps the broad objective of safeguards may be said to be the creation of a regime of openness and transparency and thereby to create confidence. There is no question of encroachment upon sovereignty. Verification activities are based on agreements freely made. To a State that respects a pledge given not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, the strengthening of safeguards should be welcomed, provided it does not impede development or is very cumbersome - and this has not really been contended. The verification which occurs will result in a stronger - more credible - assurance about the peaceful nature of the State's nuclear programme.

It is important, I think, to retain the notion that openness and transparency about nuclear activities is the essential requirement to maintain confidence about their peaceful character and dispel any doubts in this regard. Full co-operation in implementing required safeguards is a way of achieving such openness and transparency. To create confidence a country may wish to go beyond the openness that follows from routine safeguards arrangements. It is reasonable to demand that the safeguards machinery should be sufficiently effective to detect violations - if any. By the same token, it is reasonable for governments to demand that it should be of use to dispel unfounded allegations.

IAEA Director General Hans Blix
before the IAEA Board of Governors
February 1992

A Chronology of Events

IAEA activities and Iraq's response

IAEA plan of action

Plutonium and other nuclear material

Identification and inspection of facilities


Iraq's response

Editor's Note: This booklet was issued in April 1992.

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