TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (Mehr News Agency) - Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh on Tuesday told the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors that the technical matter of Arak reactor was being politicized.
He said that the countries funding the aid to the reactor "have assumed the role of supervising, even interfering and imposing their politically motivated and discriminatory policies in the technical evaluation process."
Here is the full text of the statement that Soltanieh read out at the IAEA board meeting.
At the outset I would like to express the appreciation of my delegation to Director General and the Deputy Director General MS Ana Maria Cetto, her staffs for report as well as comprehensive technical briefings on proposed programs. We commend the Technical Cooperation Department for its impartiality and professionalism in preparing the Technical Cooperation program for 2007-08.
Associating myself to the statements made by distinguished Ambassadors of Bolivia and Cuba on behalf of the majority of Agency's Member States that is, the Group of 77 and China as well as the Non-Aligned Movement, I am obliged to express sincere appreciation of my Government for their valuable supports.
According to Article III of the Statute, the Agency is authorized to encourage and assist research on, and development and practical application of, atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world. The Technical Cooperation of the Agency is the main pillar which guarantees the sustainability of the Agency's role in promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy throughout the world. The Technical Cooperation of the Agency is the main incentive for developing Member States. One of the serious shortcomings of the Agency is the existing mechanism for founding Technical Cooperation projects, namely from voluntarily contribution. It is not justified that the main pillar of the Agency be based on voluntarily unpredictable and un-assured basis where the Safeguards activities are founded from the Regular Budget. The expectation of the developing countries in this respect has been totally ignored during the last decades. We have been witnessing that in a number of occasions the donors have assumed the role of supervising, even interfering and imposing their politically motivated and discriminatory policies in the technical evaluation process of the projects in the Secretariat, on the pretext that they are funding the TC projects. This status quo must be corrected without further delay.
It is a matter of profound regret that the Technical Assistant and Cooperation Committee is politicized. I would therefore like to draw the attention to the principles stipulated in the Statue Article III, Para c, "In carrying out its functions, the Agency shall not make assistance to members subject to any political, economic, military, or other conditions incompatible with the provisions of this Statute."
I would like to also refer to the Agency's documents INFC1RC/267 approved by the Board of Governors titled "GUIDING PRINCIPES AND GENERAL OPERATING RULES TO GOVERN THE PROVISION OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BY THE AGENCY", where it emphasized "the provision of technical assistance constitutes a major, high- priority function of the Agency, and responsibility for its success devolves on all Departments of the Secretariat", and more emphasized, "The Agency shall not make technical assistance subject to any political, economic, military or other conditions incompatible with the provisions of the Agency's Statute."
The last but not the least is the relevant resolution of the 50th General Conference of the Agency, GC (5)/RES/10, where in its operative paragraphs it recalled and reiterated the objective and functions of the Agency in this respect in the following manner:
- Encourages the Member States to continue requesting Agency's safety review services in order to enhance, nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety and integrated regulatory review missions in order to improve the regulatory effectiveness continuously.
- Encourages the Secretariat to implement a more integrated assessment process in the establishment of its safety priorities and to incorporate the insight of this process into all of its review services.
- Encourages the Secretariat and Member States, if so desire, to make effectiveness of the Agency Technical Cooperation resources for the further enhancement of the safety.
My delegation was disappointed that few Member States have objected the adoption of a project, which have been proposed by the Secretariat, following intensive in house screening, and evaluation by different Departments of the Agency. The politically motivated objection not only has politicized the Technical Cooperation Committee, but also it has posed serious questions on the impartiality and professionalism of the Technical Cooperation Department, weakening Agency's constructive role in promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the most safe and secure manner.
In spite of the fact that the Secretariat has eloquently described all technical, financial and legal aspects of the projects proposed for Iran during two intensive technical briefing. I would however add the following further clarification in order to facilitate the decision of the Technical Cooperation Committee:
- The Heavy Water Reactor, IR 40, will be the substitute for the 5 MW- Tehran Research Reactor. Where it's normal lifetime is already passed.
- The reactor is designed and is being constructed to mainly produce radioisotopes for medical, agricultures and industrial applications.
- Potential suppliers denied Iran from having even light water reactor to substitute Tehran Research Reactor. Therefore Iran had to rely on its own indigenous capabilities for construction of a new research reactor.
- The reason that Iran decided to choose heavy water reactor rather than light water, was the fact that it operates with natural uranium where the light water research reactors requires enriched uranium, at least 22%. The original fuel of Tehran reactor received from United States was 93% enriched uranium.
- When the decision was made a decade ago, Iran was not sure that it will soon succeed to enrich uranium required for light water reactor.
- The Agency has been provided with full and detailed information on design and construction of IR 40 and has visited both the research reactor site as well as the heavy water production plant. Therefore it is under the full surveillance of the Agency's Safeguards.
- The requested and proposed project is merely to receive technical recommendations of the Agency on nuclear safety, which is the first priority among the objectives of the IAEA to ensure safe operation of nuclear facilities throughout the world.
- Iran has not requested, through this project, any assistance for construction, nuclear fuel, and equipment, but merely Agency's expert missions on safety aspects.
- Iran is contributing almost half of the required budget for its project for program 2007-08 as government cost sharing.
- The laboratories and hot cells in the vicinity of Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor are not designed to reprocess the spent fuel. The detailed information, DIQ, has been submitted to the Agency.
- In fact the small research project was terminated more than a decade ago therefore the phrase "Suspension of reprocessing activities '' in the resolutions of the Board of Governors and the UN Security Council is incorrect and contrary to reality. As reported by DG in his last report, there is no reprocessing activity in Iran. Therefore the resolutions do not have legal basis.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran is determined continue the construction and make the reactor operational as soon as possible in order to fulfill the increasing demands for radioisotopes specially by cancerous patients. However through the proposed project, the Agency's supervision and physical presence will be augmented, since both Safeguards inspectors as well as safety experts will be involved in IR40. This is a clear indication of political will of Islamic Republic of Iran for full transparency and concerns on safety aspects in its peaceful nuclear activities.
Since regretfully few delegations have politicized this august technical body, I am forced to give the following remarks:
Reviewing the developments of the past almost four year at the IAEA, the Board of Governors, one could simply conclude that if Iran was not party to the NPT, its nuclear issue was not put as an agenda item, no resolution was passed, no intrusive inspection was made, the nuclear dossier was not referred to the Un Security Council, and at this juncture its proposed humanitarian project were not under scrutiny at the Technical cooperation Committee or the Board. If any one hesitate such assessment could refer to proposed projects for Israel. It is shameful that those few countries that publicly declare to be strong proponents of the NPT and its universality, such as Canada and Australia, do not even dare to touch upon this issue and raise concerns on provision of technical assistance and cooperation to a non-parties of the NPT which has long dark record of violation of all resolutions of the IAEA as well as the United Nations Security Council and categorically rejects the NPT and Agency's Safeguards. It has nuclear facilities such as heavy water reactor given by European and US. Its reactor is not only outside the Agency's Safeguards but is not operated in accordance with the Agency's safety standard, rejecting even safety experts to visit and give recommendations. Therefore there is serious concern about its operation and radionuclide release to environment. It is astonishing that governments of these countries assume that these bitter realities could be kept as secret from public. Although the western media try to conceal the facts but thanks to advance global telecommunications, that news are spread out and received in few seconds, even in remote villages in least developing countries. Soon or later the governments of these countries will be brought to judgment and shall be questioned for deception of their own nation as well as international community.
The Iranian proverb says:
"The sun shall not be hidden behind the clouds for ever!"
In conclusion, the Technical Cooperation Committee is expected to refrain from politics, which undoubtedly endanger the spirit of cooperation among Member States and instead to facilitate technical cooperation between the developing countries and the developed countries.
Considering the above explanations, as well as descriptions, clarification and assurances given by the Secretariat, the adoption of all Technical Projects of developing countries by the Committee, shall assure the developing nations that the Agency is taking steps to enhance the promotional pillar, contributing towards the ultimate goal of promotion of safe and secure application of the nuclear energy throughout the world.
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