The board of governors of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency is meeting in Vienna, where it is expected to vote on a measure further criticizing Iran for its nuclear program.
The resolution against Iran was crafted by the U.S. and five other world powers (Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany).
The board is taking up a draft resolution that expresses "deep and increasing concern" that Tehran's atomic activities are leading to toward the development of nuclear weapons. However, it stops short of referring the matter to the U.N. Security Council or setting a deadline for Iran to comply.
The board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes about a week after it alleged there is "credible" evidence that Iran is trying to build nuclear warheads.
Iran has denied the allegations and says its nuclear program is peaceful. Iran's IAEA envoy, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, has accused the agency of leaking secret information about his country's nuclear program that has jeopardized the lives and safety of its scientists.
The resolution was crafted by the U.S. and five other world powers (Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany).
On Thursday, the U.S. IAEA envoy said, after 10 years of probes, the agency's information indicates Tehran has carried out activities "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." Glyn Davies also said Iran had chosen to "denigrate" the IAEA and its methodology instead of addressing concerns. He commented in a letter to the agency's 35-member board.
Recent Israeli media reports have said the government has been considering a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites.
But U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, before a meeting Thursday with Israel's defense minister, cautioned Israel not to take military action against Iran.
The U.N. Security Council has passed four sets of sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop nuclear activities that have both civilian and military uses.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh sent a letter to the IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano before holding the Board of Governors conference.
The full text of the letter comes as follow:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I have to refer to the following communications:
The letter of H. E. Dr. Fereydoun Abbasi's, No. 30/090492 dated 30 October 2011 where His Excellency suggested that "the DDG for Safeguards Mr. Nackaerts, to be delegated to Iran for discussion aiming at resolution of matters and to put an end to seemingly endless process";
My letter No. 2002/2011 dated 3 November 2011 where I reminded that "It is necessary that the Agency refrain from distributing any materials or documents before completion and conclusion of its investigation. I am looking forward to receive the Agency's team in November 2011";
The letter of Mr. Amiri, Director of National Nuclear Safeguards, to Mr. Nackaerts where he announced "I would like to inform you that we are currently examining the questions posed in your letter [30 September 2011]. The response to your letter will be provided to the Agency."
It is a matter of concern and disappointment that the contents of the above letters specifically the main elements, such as sending the Agency's team to Iran before the Board of Governors in November 2011, aiming at resolution of the matter leading to completion and conclusion of the investigation, are not reflected in your report GOV/2011/65 dated 8 November 2011.
The Director General is highly expected to submit factual reports reflecting comprehensively the developments related to safeguards verification since his previous reports. The Director General shall not politicize the technical organization, IAEA, by bias and selective approach contrary to the spirit and letter of the Statute in his reports.
It is a matter of deep regret that your report is in full contravention with the above legitimate expectations and it is not balanced and factual.
Your objection to the generous cooperative offer of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the prompt Agency's engagement prior to the Board of Governors in November 2011, pose serious questions on your intention to resolve the issue and to put an end to the endless process.
You are hereby strongly advised to rectify the above mentioned concerns in your introductory statement at the opening of the Board of Governors on 17 November 2011.
A. A. Soltanieh
Ambassador and Resident Representative
Non-Aligned Movement in a statement on Implementation of the NPT safeguards Agreement and Relevant Resolution of United Nations Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran in IAEA Board of Governors' conference stressed talks and diplomacy to be the only long-term solution for Iran's nuclear issue.
Non-Aligned Movement in the statement circulated on November 18, 2011 expressed its deep dissatisfaction and concern about "selective submission" of the IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano report to some member states and called it against the principle of equality of all countries.
The full text of the statement comes as follow:
1. The Vienna Chapter of the Non-Aligned Movement wishes to thank the Director General, Mr. Yukiya Amano, for his report on the Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran as contained in document GOVl2011/65.
2. At the same time, NAM wishes to reaffirm the importance of Director General reports being issued in a timely manner. The late issuance of reports results in Member States having to prepare for meetings of the Board of Governors under significant time constraints.
3. Before expressing its comments on the Director General's Report, NAM would like to reiterate its principled positions on the matter:
a. NAM reaffirms the basic and inalienable right of all states to the development, research, production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations. Therefore, nothing should be interpreted in a way as inhibiting or restricting the right of states to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. States' choices and decisions, including those of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel cycle policies must be respected.
b. NAM recognizes the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of Member States and stresses that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency's activities, specially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency.
c. 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.
d. NAM considers the establishment of a nuclear- weapons-free-zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East as a positive step towards attaining the objective of global nuclear disarmament and reiterates its support for the establishment of such a zone in accordance with relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.
e. NAM reaffirms the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities and that any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities -operational or under construction -poses a serious danger to human beings and the environment, and constitutes a grave violation of international law, of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and of regulations of the IAEA. NAM recognizes the need for a comprehensive multilaterally negotiated instrument prohibiting attacks, or threat of attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
f. NAM strongly believes that all safeguards and verification issues, including those related to Iran, should be resolved within the IAEA framework, and be based on sound technical and legal grounds. NAM further emphasizes that the Agency should continue its work to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue within its mandate under the Statute of the IAEA.
g. NAM stresses that diplomacy and dialogue through peaceful means as well as substantive negotiations without any preconditions amongst the concerned parties must remain the means whereby a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear issue is found.
4. NAM stresses that the issue of non-proliferation should be resolved through political and diplomatic means and that measures and initiatives taken in this regard should be within the framework of international law, relevant, conventions and the United Nations Charter.
5. NAM takes note that the Director General has stated once again that the Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran at nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used (LOFs) as declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.
6. NAM welcomes the clear distinction made by the Director General between obligations emanating from Iran's Safeguards Agreement and other requests by the United Nations Security Council. In this regard, NAM notes that the Director General has stated in his report that "Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations" emanating from relevant provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. NAM recalls that the Director General has previously reported lran's assertion that some of the Agency's requests "had no legal basis since they are not falling within Iran's Safeguards Agreement", an assertion elaborated by Iran in Document INFCIRC/810 as well. NAM encourages Iran to enhance its cooperation with the Agency to provide credible assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran in accordance with international law.
7. NAM encourages the Secretariat to continue to refrain from including extensive technical details pertaining to sensitive proprietary information in the report of the Director General.
8. NAM welcomes the continued cooperation between the Agency and Iran as elaborated in the latest report of the Director General, and in this regard, notes the following:
a. That Iran has declared to the Agency under its Safeguards Agreement, 15 nuclear facilities and 9 LOFs, and that the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at these facilities and LOFs.
b. That the activities of production of nuclear material, particularly those related to enrichment, continue to remain under the Agency's containment and surveillance and that to date, the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz and Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP)have been operating as declared.
c. That the Agency has confirmed that the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) corresponded with the design information provided by Iran, that the facility was at an advanced stage of construction, and that Iran and the Agency agreed on a safeguards approach for FFEP. The results of the environmental samples taken at FFEP up to 27 April 2011 did not indicate the presence of enriched uranium.
d. That the Agency has continued to monitor the use and construction of hot cells at the relevant nuclear facilities in Iran, and confirmed that Iran is not conducting reprocessing activities in any of the facilities declared under its Safeguards Agreement.
e. That Iran has provided the Agency with access to the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak, at which time the Agency was able to carry out a design information verification (DIV). The Agency verified that the construction of the facility was ongoing, and that the coolant heat exchangers had been installed. According to Iran, the operation of the IR-40 Reactor is planned to commence by the end of 2013.
f. That the Agency also carried out an inspection and a DIV at the Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP), and confirmed that Iran has started to install some equipment for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel fabrication.
9. NAM notes the standing requests by the Secretariat for further information regarding the design and scheduling of the construction of new nuclear facilities, and continues to encourage Iran to provide design information regarding its nuclear facilities in accordance with its full-scope safeguards agreement with the Agency.
10. NAM notes that the Director General mentioned in his report that he reiterated to Iran his position regarding the need to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other relevant obligations, in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. NAM recalls that Iran responded by extending an invitation to the Deputy Director General for Safeguards to visit its nuclear facilities and that the question of the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program was discussed during that visit. NAM welcomes such invitations, and that Iran as a confidence building measure, has provided the Agency during the visit with access to:
a. An installation where research and development (R & D) on advanced centrifuges was taking place, as well as extensive information on its current and future R & D work on advanced centrifuges.
b. The Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) for the first time since 2005, at which time the Agency observed that the HWPP was operating.
11. While noting the DG's concern regarding the issue of possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program, NAM also notes that Iran has still not received the documents relating to the "alleged studies". In this context, NAM fully supports the previous requests of the Director General to those Members States that have provided the Secretariat information related to the "alleged studies" to agree that the Agency provides all related documents to Iran. NAM expresses once again its concerns on the creation of obstacles in this regard, which hinder the Agency's verification process. NAM recalls that the Director General previously reported in document GOV/2009/55 that:
a. The Agency has limited means to authenticate independently the documentation that forms the basis of the alleged studies.
b. The constraints placed by some Member States on the availability of information to Iran are making it more difficult for the Agency to conduct detailed discussions with Iran on this matter.
12. In light of the aforementioned obstacles, NAM requests further clarification on the methodology adopted by the Agency in arriving at its assessment as contained in paragraph 42 of the report.
13. NAM welcomes the will of Iran "to remove ambiguities, if any'', as well as its suggestion that the Deputy Director General for Safeguards (DDG-SG) should visit Iran for discussions aiming at the resolution of matters. NAM notes the reply by the Director General, indicating his preparedness to send the DDG-SG to "discuss the issues identified" in his report to the Board of Governors. In this context, NAM welcomes the continuation of this positive dialogue and cooperation between Iran and the Agency.
14. NAM requests clarification from the Agency for not incorporating Iran's comments on all the new information in this report prior to its official release.
15. Bearing in mind the Agency's responsibility in protecting safeguards confidential information, NAM remains concerned by recurring incidents of leakage of such information that, in the absence of adequate corrective measures by the Agency, calls into question the credibility of its regime for the protection of safeguards confidential information.
16. NAM welcomes Iran's resolve to continue cooperating with the Agency, and still looks forward to the safeguards implementation in Iran being conducted in a routine manner. In this context, NAM encourages the Agency and lran to continue engaging substantively without delay for the purpose of providing clarifications regarding the issues identified in the report, with a view to the prompt resolution of these issues in accordance with the Work Plan on "Understanding of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Agency on the Modalities of resolution of the Outstanding Issues" (INFCIRC/711).
17. NAM reiterates its principled position that diplomacy and dialogue are the only way for a long term solution of Iran's nuclear issue. NAM encourages all Member States to contribute positively to that effect.
18. Before concluding, NAM wishes to express its deep concern and dissatisfaction at the selective circulation of the Director General's report, or parts thereof, to certain Member States prior to its official release to all Member States. This runs counter to the principle of the sovereign equality of all Member States enshrined in the IAEA Statute and should not be repeated in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
The Development and Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Today eight countries
are possessing nuclear weapons. The five nuclear weapons states
United States, Russia (former Soviet Union), United Kingdom, France
and China, are the only countries allowed to have nuclear weapons
according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) from 1970. All
members of the United Nations except Israel, India and Pakistan have
signed the NPT.
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