Iran’s new uranium plant violated UN resolutions, Ban says

29 September 2009
Low-enriched uranium

A newly revealed Iranian uranium enrichment facility violates United Nations Security Council resolutions because of the delay in its disclosure, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“This is a question of when you should inform your intention or the existence of such facilities, or a plan to be transparent and credible – when you have such intent to build these facilities,” he told a news conference at UN Headquarters, adding that he had made this clear to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he met with him in New York last week.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed last week that on 21 September Iran informed it in a letter that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country.

“They should have informed, notified the IAEA a long time before. Not just before everything would be completed,” he added. “What has happened before 21 September, while this facility was being constructed? Therefore, there’s clearly a question of transparency.”

Mr. Ban said Mr. Ahmadinejad told him he would be ready to accept IAEA inspections, and he later met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on the nuclear issue as well as that of promoting human rights.

As Iran prepares to meet with Western powers in Geneva on Thursday over its nuclear programme, which it says is for the peaceful production of nuclear energy but which the United States and others say is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, Mr. Ban repeated his oft-stated argument that the onus is on Tehran to prove its case.

“I made it quite clear that when they argue that their nuclear facilities are genuinely for peaceful purposes, the burden of proof is on their side,” he said. “I urged him [Mr. Ahmadinejad] to open the country's new structure to prompt and full inspection, and to engage constructively in negotiations.”

Turning to Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. Ban said he had stressed to Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon the importance of returning to the Six-Party Talks bringing together the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the US in an effort to resolve the issue of Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

In June, the Security Council unanimously condemned the DPRK’s 25 May nuclear test conducted in “violation and flagrant disregard” of relevant Council resolutions.

Mr. Ban said he thought DPRK showed a positive attitude towards his proposal to open a communication channel between it and the UN, and he assured Mr. Pak that the world body would continue to provide aid to address all the humanitarian difficulties, particularly the food security issue.

 

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