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Iran Demands from IAEA Full Authorization To Finalize Parchin Negotiation

DSC_8059Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh accused IAEA director general Mr. Yukiya Amano of “controlling the negotiations with Iran” during a press conference held on Wednesday March 6, 2013 outside the board of governors meeting room at the International Center in Vienna, demanding him to give full authorization to the negotiation team to finalize the negotiations “as it should be” and without interruption. He said that the problem is not Iran but “the political control of the negotiation and the politicization of the role of the inspection of the Parchin team”, and stating that Iran is committed within the negotiations.

DSC_8084Today the Board of Governors re-appointed by acclamation the current Director General, Mr. Yukiya Amano, to a further term of office for four years, from 1 December 2013 to 30 November 2017. The Board extended to Mr. Amano its congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of his re-appointment.

The appointment will be before the General Conference for its approval at its next regular session in September.

He added: “In my statement, which I delivered before the board of governors meeting, I clarified which are the obstacles hindering the negotiations with the republic of Iran since 10 years”.

According to Ambassador Soltanieh, the IAEA director general’s hindering of the inspections of the Parchin site prior to signing the “Modality Plan” is unjustifiable and only politicizes the issue. After enforcing the new “Modality Plan”, Iran’s dossier should be closed and the IAEA Safeguard should be normalized, he said.

The press conference of Ambassador Soltanieh was held after a hot argument behind closed doors inside the IAEA Board of Governors meeting.


Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA

The speech of the Iranian representative is published in full below.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh

Resident Representative to the IAEA before the Board of Governors 6 March 2013

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Colleagues,
At the outset, at the eve of spring which simultaneously starts with the New Year holiday in Iran and 10 other countries, recognized by the UN as NOWRUZ, I wish all success in fulfilling the expectation of the world public in establishing global peace and security. The first step is to prevent confrontation and to change the gear to dialogue in a civilized manner.
I am obliged to put on record the appreciation for the indispensable sustained support of the Non-Aligned Movement regarding the protection of Iran’s inalienable right for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy during the last decade. The Movement’s struggle for peace and disarmament, for the establishment of justice and by its valuable contributions to the International Organizations have made an unprecedented record, a golden chapter in the history of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We have to learn from nature and change the status and open a new chapter in the IAEA. In order to do so I have to review Iran’s nuclear dossier in order to make a careful diagnosis to find out the reasons for such an endless process, which has kept the file open for a decade. I seek your indulgence to bear with the short time of presentation compared to 10 years!

1- Iran and the IAEA routine safeguards and cooperation was disrupted by an allegation in 2002 of underground activities in buildings in Natanz and Arak;
2- Although immediately after the visit of Agency’s inspector, invited by Iran, it was proved that both buildings are above ground easily visible from kilometers away, but the Agency did not report in a responsible manner thus the public was misled by distorted western news, aiming at opening a new file;

3- Iran rejected the accusation of “Non-compliance” with safeguards obligations since it had not by then, 2003, signed the modified code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement (commitment to report new sites as soon as it starts rather than 180 days before introducing nuclear material) and the Additional Protocol;  

4- During inspections, inspectors took swipe samples in Natanz. Later the Agency informed that the analysis showed uranium particles with low and high enrichment.
Iran declared that it is not the result of enrichment in Iran but due to contaminated used components received from intermediaries.

5- Dr. ElBaradei, then Director General, in his meeting with the president congratulating the achievement in nuclear energy, suggested to Iran to apply modified code 3.1. Iran agreed to do so.

6- The Ministers of foreign affairs of France, United Kingdom and Germany (so called EU3) travelled to Tehran, declared that they are going to play the role of interlocutors, to prevent escalations of the political situation. They asked Iran to suspend enrichment activities for a short period, until the ambiguities on the sources of uranium contamination are removed. They also requested Iran to apply voluntarily the Additional Protocol. Iran did so.
7- Following the proactive cooperation by Iran, in many cases beyond NPT, and intensive and long technical investigation, the Director General declared and reported, in 2004, to the Board of Governors that the source of contamination was from abroad and therefore the assertion of Iran was correct. Therefore, there was no more justification for suspension and the file had to be closed.

8- Immediately after such important news, the United States made an allegation on existence of clandestine nuclear activities, specifically enrichment in Kolahdooz military sites.

9- While Iran was taking proactive cooperation and voluntary steps, including implementation of the Additional Protocol, during the suspension of enrichment activities, surprisingly the EU3, claiming to play the role of moderating and diffusing tension, themselves gave hostile statements and submitted resolutions against Iran in almost each Board of Governors.

10- During robust inspection Agency noticed that the claimed location, specification of which was given by US intelligence service, turned out to be stables of horses. The Agency team apologized to Iran for the inconvenience. Several other accusations on nuclear activities in military sites proved to be baseless and were reported to the Board of Governors. But the scenario of allegations continued.

11- The hidden agenda was realized. Despite all cooperation by Iran, beyond NPT, including suspension of all enrichment activities, implementing the Additional Protocol, and modified code 3.1, for 2.5 years, EU3 and USA submitted a resolution in 2006 to convey the Iran’s nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council.

12- The Iranian parliament mandated the Government to contain its cooperation with the Agency within NPT and to suspend voluntary cooperation namely suspension of enrichment, implementation of the Additional Protocol and the modified code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement.

13- Pursuant to talks between the EU High Representative, the Director General with the Secretary of National Security Council, intensive negotiation by Iran and the Agency was conducted in Tehran. The Work Plan (document INFCIRC/711) for resolution of outstanding issues was agreed upon on 27 August 2007. Iran made a great concession since the measures were beyond NPT obligations.

14- Pursuant to intensive joint work, Dr. Elbaradei, the then Director General reported that all 6 outstanding issues in the exhausted list of the Work Plan were resolved.

15- As regards the alleged studies, Dr. Elbradei honestly reported that the prevention by a certain country, the United States, from delivery of documents on the alleged studies to Iran, has jeopardized the verification activities of the Agency. He further informed that the documents lack authenticity and according to the alleged document no nuclear material or activities were involved. He however requested Iran for a concession to let the Agency show Iran the alleged material by power point presentation since the Agency was not allowed to deliver the documents. Trusting his good will and expecting the closure of the file as soon as possible Iran accepted his request.

16- After about 100-hour discussion in Iran, Iran proved that the material on alleged studies were forged and fabricated. The Agency then requested Iran to present explanations also in writing in order to close the file. Iran did so in 117 pages.

17- The Agency in full contravention with the Work Plan where the Agency had explicitly declared that no more issue or document would be raised, brought forth new allegations, the so called “Possible Military Dimensions (PMD)”. The Agency did also not comply with its commitment by turning the safeguards implementation into routine manner as envisaged in the agreed Work Plan.

18- After a few years, once again Iran did make a historical political decision to take voluntary steps in order to remove ambiguities regarding allegations related to military sites. Due to the nature of allegations, PMD, directly related to national security, being beyond nuclear related routine NPT Safeguard Agreement we had to negotiate with the Agency on a particular unprecedented framework, a modality, the so called Structured Approach, where both sides’ tasks are well defined.

19- It is a matter of great concern that the verification is turned into “Intelligence information driven safeguards” and is based on information from open sources and there is no accountability and compensation if allegations proved baseless. We have to change this dangerous approach which is going to be precedence. One could think of the model envisaged in the CWC where a country has to officially request a challenge inspection against other member states. The requested member state is fully responsible and not the Secretariat.
20- Iran’s main elements of its legitimate expectation during negotiation have been:

A- To end the endless process. One has to see light at the end of the tunnel. After implementation of the new modality on resolution of outstanding issues, the file has to be closed and the Agency’s safeguards have to turn into routine manner.

B- We should not start from scratch. Either the Work Plan (INFCIRC/711) of 2007 is implemented, as Iran strongly believes, then Director General and Board of Governors have to declare it closed and safeguards has to turn into routine manner. If the Agency is of the view that the last part, alleged studies, needs further work, then the new modality has to be the follow up of the Work Plan which was endorsed by the Board of Governors. The DG has so far prevented any reference to it. This is a dilemma.  

C- National security of Member States, including Iran’s, has to be considered as top priority. The bitter fact that the confidential information is not protected by the Agency is a matter of serious security concern. No country shall give a blank cheque to the Secretariat for any further unknown action which it requests in the future. The negotiating team was working on a language to deal with this concern paving the way for conclusion of the text in Tehran next day, but they suspended the talk and left to Vienna, despite planning for a second day, after instruction by the DG via phone call.

D- A sovereign member state and the Secretariat are not in equal footing. The concerned state has the right to exercise maximum vigilance in committing itself for actions with possible impact on its national security.

E- Iran granted access two times in 2005 to Parchin military site, where the former Director General reported no evidence of nuclear material or activities was found. Now the DG has reopened the closed issues including the request for access to a building on the same site claimed to be built in 2000, 5 years prior to the last free robust conclusive inspection where the Agency proved allegations baseless and as former DDG said the Parchin was part of history. The fact that Parchin is among the topic in the clean text being negotiated proves Iran’s transparency. If Iran and the Agency had agreed on a modality prior to giving access to Parcin in 2005, the situation now would have been different. Therefore, access to any place has to be made based on a negotiated criteria and modality since such a measure is beyond normal NPT verification. The DG’s repeated public request for access to Parchin before the conclusion and signature of a modality or the so called structured approach is unjustified and has highly politicized the issue thus provoking and creating a huge obstacle.

F- The last but not the least: The remote control from the Agency headquarters and lack of full authority of the negotiation team, headed by the Deputy Director General is one of the main reasons for prolongation of talks and inconclusiveness. Otherwise by now the modality should have been signed and access was granted and outstanding issues were resolved.

Mr. Chairman,
I have to make the following short comments on the DG’s introductory statement as well as his last written report (Gov/2012/55):

The DG stated: “… Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its additional protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran…” or “… unless and until Iran provides the necessary cooperation with the Agency, including by implementing its additional protocol”, through which Iran is requested to implement the Additional Protocol.
In this context, I draw the kind attention of my colleagues to the following:

1- The Additional Protocol (AP) is not a legally binding instrument and is voluntary in nature. Hence, many Member States (61 as reported by SIR2011) including Iran not implementing this voluntary protocol are not violating NPT Safeguards obligations.

2- Basically, it is not acceptable that a voluntary instrument be turned into a legal obligation without consent of a sovereign state. This basic concept regarding Additional Protocol has been affirmed in the 2010 NPT Review Conference (NPT/CONF.2010/50 (Vol. I)) as well as in the Agency’s General Conference (GC (56)/RES/13) which latter’s reads: “it is the sovereign decision of any State to conclude an additional protocol”.

3- Any Member State, including Iran, has the sovereign right to decide not to ratify the Additional Protocol. The statement reflected in paragraph 53 of the report (GOV/2012/55) to the effect that “Iran is not providing necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol” has no legal basis and is beyond the DG’s statutory mandate. The Agency is merely obliged to verify the compliance of Member States on the basis of the Statute of the IAEA and the relevant Safeguards Agreements.

4- In spite of Iran’s cooperation to implement AP voluntarily for more than 2.5 years (2003-2006) as a confidence-building measure, regrettably in the same period, seven illegal and politically-motivated resolutions were adopted by the Board of Governors (BOG) under the pressure of a few western states, which clearly indicates that the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran is neither technical nor legal, but just politicized.

5- In periodic reports to the BOG on implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the DG has inserted a new subtitle as “Additional Protocol” assuming that Iran has to implement the Additional Protocol. Based on this wrong assumption, the DG has misled the BOG by asserting false statements in his reports by announcing that “Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its additional protocol…”.

6- The misrepresentation of Iran’s commitments in respect to the Additional Protocol or extracting legally-binding obligations from the illegal resolutions of the UNSC, apart from unauthorized interference in the application of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, are all unrealistic and non-binding to the Islamic Republic of Iran; and any action requested by the Board of Governors in this respect would be unconstitutional, politically-motivated and illegal.

7- The footnote 56 of the report (GOV/2012/55) (completeness) reads that “the BOG has confirmed on numerous occasions, since as early as 1992, that paragraph 2 of INFCIRC/153 (Corr.), which corresponds to Article 2 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, authorizes and requires the Agency to seek to verify both the non-diversion of nuclear material from declared activities (i.e. correctness) and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in the State (i.e. completeness) (see, for example, GOV/OR.864, Para. 49)”. In this regard, the following points should be noted:

8- The BOG has never authorized or required the Agency to seek to verify both the non-diversion of nuclear material from declared activities (i.e. correctness) and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in a Member State. The records of GOV/OR.864 clearly show that this was a personal view and only a sum-up made by the Chairman at that BOG meeting. He reads: “the Board endorses the general direction of Programme 93+2”, followed by reservations expressed by some Board Members, for example: “acceptance of the recommendations made in document GOV/2784 would not imply endorsement of any of the specific measures described in that document or of the legal interpretations advanced by the Secretariat”.

The BOG did not confirm the Chairman’s view asserted in the statement. So this neither means a “unanimous interpretation” nor would it create any “unilateral obligation”. If the unilateral interpretation asserted in footnote 56 was true, there was no need to codify the AP and therefore, the Safeguards Agreements would have been sufficient concerning correctness and completeness.

9- Although the footnote states that “Article 2 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, authorizes and requires the Agency to seek to verify both the non-diversion of nuclear material from declared activities (i.e. correctness) and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in the State (i.e. completeness)”, but it fails to transcript Article 2 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement completely as it clearly reiterates on Agency’s “right and the obligation to ensure that safeguards will be applied, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material”! Therefore, requiring Iran to implement verification measures outside the purview of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, such as implementing Additional Protocol, is beyond the Agency’s rights and obligations, illegal and non-binding.

10- Basically, any unilateral interpretation of a bilateral agreement, including Safeguards Agreements, which may affect its application, would not be binding before its approval by both parties.

11- The Islamic Republic of Iran has fully cooperated with the Agency in implementation of safeguards measures on its nuclear material and facilities. Therefore, a statement such as “… Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities”, is absolutely wrong, has no legal basis and is another example of lacking impartiality.

12- The fact is that all declared nuclear material in Iran is accounted for and has not been diverted to military purposes, and remained in peaceful activities under the Agency’s full-scope surveillance. Mixing the notions of “declared nuclear material” and “all nuclear material” in the context of the CSA and Additional Protocol, respectively, in a non-professional manner is not legally justified. It is also contrary to the expectation of the Non-Aligned Movement which in its several statements addressed the Board of Governors that “NAM emphasizes the fundamental distinction between the legal obligations of states in accordance with their respective Safeguards Agreements, as opposed to any confidence building measures undertaken voluntarily and that do not constitute a legal safeguards obligation.” Thus, the derived conclusion on aforementioned notion is absolutely wrong and must be corrected accordingly.

In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its rights to claim all damages caused by misinterpretation of DG reports to the BOG.

Mr. Chairman,
Permit me to give some comments on “Lack of Protection of Confidential Information”:

1- Regrettably, confidential information coming to the Agency’s knowledge has been leaking for quite a while. In this respect, on several occasions (through statements in the Board of Governors, correspondence with the Agency) the concerns and objections regarding the leakage of confidential information has been brought to the attention of the Agency, reiterating the fact that the Agency shall maintain a stringent regime to ensure effective protection against disclosure of confidential information.

2- The issue of confidentiality is one of the most important elements in application of Safeguards Agreements between the IAEA and Member States. The Article 5(a) of the Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the Agency (INFCIRC/214) stipulates that: “The Agency shall take every precaution to protect commercial and industrial secrets and other confidential information coming to its knowledge in the implementation of this agreement.”
3- Article 9(c) of the said reference also states: “The visits and activities of the Agency inspectors shall be so arranged as: … (ii) To ensure protection of industrial secrets or any other confidential information coming to the inspectors’ knowledge.”  

4- Also article VII(F) of the Agency’s Statute stipulates that:“In the performance of their duties, the Director General and the staff …. Shall not disclose any industrial secret or other confidential information coming to their knowledge by reason of their official duties for the Agency. …”

5- It should be recalled that the concerns expressed about the protection of confidentiality in the resolution on strengthening the safeguards was adopted by the 56th General Conference as well as the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

6- Unfortunately, so far the Agency has not been able to protect the confidential information resulting from the conduct of inspections at the safeguarded facilities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which occasionally has leaked through the Agency and revealed to the media. The very last one is the information provided to the Agency (23/01/2013) on the installation of new centrifuges (IR2m) in Natanz facility. Such events are profoundly in violation of the above mentioned articles as well as the IAEA Statute. Needless to say that continuation of such trend leads to mistrust between Member States and the IAEA, and also creates negative atmosphere which causes irreparable damages.

Regrettably, this issue became a regular practice and in spite of constant protests by Iran, the Agency has not taken concrete actions on this sensitive issue to prevent its repetition, and thus it has lead to an ongoing trend of violating the confidentiality of information.

Moreover, it is apparently observed that the Agency’s inspectors are being used as verifier of a sabotage influence. Besides the report given by H.E. Dr. Abbasi in the statement at the GC56, after recent false news about an explosion in the Fordow facility was broadcast by some western media, the Agency immediately embarked on an Unannounced Inspection in the Fordow facility, and the day after, the Agency released the result of the inspection and declared that there was no destruction in the facility.

Whatever terrorist states are planning and conducting sabotage against Iran, safeguarded nuclear facilities are being evaluated by the Agency. Consequently, through the reports which are not being kept confidential passes to the terrorist states to modify intelligence services’ covert operations. It should be recalled that the purpose of conducting Unannounced Inspection is to verify non-diversion of nuclear material and not to check the efficiency of covert actions. Definitely, such course of action is strongly wrong and would lead to a highly dangerous end.

On behalf of my Government, I hereby protest the lack of required protection of confidential information.  It is necessary that such trend be rectified soon. A mechanism similar to the one envisaged in the Chemical Weapon Convention, a body consists of some member states, as in the OPCW, has to be established in order to investigate breach of confidentiality and a procedure for compensation of damages due to such breaches. In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its right to claim all damages aroused by such behavior at the proper time.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Colleagues,
Under the pretext of Iran’s nuclear issue serious violation of spirit and letter of the NPT by some western countries are totally ignored:

I would like to inform that I have not received any response, after two years to my letter dated 8 March 2011 to the Director General regarding safeguards verification in European countries hosting nuclear weapons, in accordance with their obligation under NPT. The DG is expected to inform all Member States whether the Agency has received declaration of the exact locations and amounts of weapon-grade nuclear material in those non-nuclear weapon states, and whether the Agency has verified such declarations.

The United States Government has, for a long time, transferred hundreds of nuclear weapons to certain non-nuclear-weapon states party to NPT, including those under the umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is estimated that about 240 nuclear warheads are located in several European countries comprising Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy under the NATO nuclear umbrella system. Evidence of similar violations has been brought forward in the NPT Review Conferences.

Deploying hundreds of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear-weapon states and training the fighter/bomber pilots of the host states to prepare for handling and delivering the US nuclear bombs against nuclear as well as non-nuclear-weapon states contravene both the letter and spirit of the NPT, in particular its articles I and II and the comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/153) with the Agency.

The Statute of the IAEA also stipulates that the Agency should conduct its activities towards “furthering the establishment of safeguarded worldwide disarmament”. The 2010 NPT Review Conference, albeit insufficiently, adopted certain actions in this regard. For instance in Action 5, the Conference resolved that: “the nuclear-weapon States commit to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament and to that end, they are called upon to promptly address the question of nuclear weapons regardless of their type or their location as an integral part of the general nuclear disarmament process.”

Furthermore, the nuclear-weapon states committed themselves to declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes and to place such material as soon as practicable under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material for peaceful purposes, to ensure that such material remains permanently outside military programmes. The Conference also called for wider application of safeguards to peaceful nuclear facilities in the nuclear-weapon states.

This is a matter of serious concern threatening the global security and the non-proliferation regime including the NPT. The Islamic Republic of Iran as a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT and a Member State of the IAEA, cannot accept the status quo regarding the development of nuclear weapons in Europe, which is not only a clear violation of the letter and spirit of the NPT by both United States and the European countries hosting nuclear weapons, but also they pose serious threat to global security.

On the other hand, the silence of Board of Governors vis-à-vis the nuclear weapons activities and violation of international law including resolutions of IAEA Board of Governors by the Zionist regime of Israel which is a serious threat to peace and security of the Middle East and world at large has posed questions and doubt on the responsible conduct of this body entrusted by the Statute. It is high time to bring about a serious reform in the Board of Governors structure, composition and mandate.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates,
In conclusion, I have to reiterate that nuclear weapons have no place in the defense doctrine of Iran, since the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran publicly announced the FATWA, the decree considering nuclear weapons religiously forbidden. Iran shall not accept a bit more than its obligation under the NPT – Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and not a bit less than its in-alienable right for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including enrichment for peaceful purposes.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has spared no effort in removing the ambiguities during last 10 years. The Agency has repeatedly reported that it has found no evidence of diversion of nuclear material or activities to military purpose, no smoking gun. Continuous allegations, all proved baseless, have kept the dossier open. This endless process has to be stopped.
The policy of sanction-dialogue, threat of military attacks against nuclear facilities, and state terrorist actions against nuclear scientists all have proved to be counterproductive. They have increased the solidarity and determination of the Great Nation of Iran to pursue its legitimate right for nuclear energy, specifically enrichment. The reports of the DG on continuous advancement of nuclear technology in Iran prove my assertion.

Mr. Chairman,
Depolarization and depolarization of the Agency, disengagement of the UN Security Council in this technical issue belonging to the IAEA along with dialogue are the only civilized ways in removing ambiguities, if any.

Finally I declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the most reliable stable strategic country in the region with great potential for resolving regional and global problems. It was evident that the policy of talk and pressure is doomed to failure. I therefore invite those few countries with hostile attitudes and conduct during past decades to change the gear from confrontation mode to the negotiating one for the purpose of cooperation. The window of opportunity is still open.

Thank you.