Iran must be “proactive and fully transparent” in declaring its nuclear activities, and should do so within the next few months to allay suspicions about its programme, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency said today.
Speaking before the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said despite progress in cooperation with Iran, unresolved issues continued to swirl around its undeclared nuclear programme in the nearly two years since it came to the Agency's attention.
“It is essential for the integrity and credibility of the inspection process that we are able to bring these issues to a close within the next few months, and provide the international community with the assurances it urgently seeks regarding Iran's nuclear activities,” the Agency chief said.
Referring to his report on the IAEA's verification work in Iran, Mr. ElBaradei said the Agency still needed to clarify the origin of high-enriched and low-enriched uranium contamination found at various sits related to uranium enrichment in Iran. The Agency was also receiving “changing and at times contradictory” information about the extent of Iran's efforts to import, manufacture and use centrifuges of the P-2 design, he added.
This pattern of engagement was “less than satisfactory,” he said, and, after a year of difficulties encountered by IAEA inspectors, “Iran needs to be proactive and fully transparent.”
Turning to the situation in other countries, the Director-General told the Board that since Libya announced last December it decision to eliminate all materials, equipment and programmes leading to the production of internationally proscribed weapons – including nuclear arms – the Agency has been working with the authorities in Tripoli to gain a complete picture of its nuclear programme.
“Libya has proactively cooperated with the Agency by providing information and prompt access to all locations requested. We are making good progress in understanding Libya's past nuclear activities but some aspects still need to be assessed, and it is important that Libya provide the necessary information to enable that assessment to be made,” he said.
Regarding Iraq, Mr. ElBaradei noted that it has been more than a year since the Agency's inspectors were last in the country and he hoped the Security Council would soon provide guidance on the future of their mandate. “Given the current level of instability in the country, and Iraq's past nuclear weapons related activities and capabilities, it is important and urgent that a credible verification and monitoring system be reinstalled,” he stressed.
As for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. ElBaradei said the IAEA has been unable to draw any conclusions about the country's nuclear activities since on-site verification activities were cancelled at Pyongyang's request at the end of 2002.