The head of the United Nations atomic energy agency today stressed the need for both Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to cooperate in resolving outstanding issues regarding their nuclear activities.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said the Agency remains committed to working with the two countries on nuclear verification activities, and urged the Governments to fulfil their obligations.
“The DPRK’s statements concerning a third nuclear test and its intention to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, together with its previous statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor, are deeply regrettable,” said Mr. Amano, in his introductory statement to the Agency’s annual General Conference in Vienna, which brings together representatives from the IAEA’s 155 member States.
“Such actions are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
Mr. Amano noted that the IAEA has been unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK since 2009, which has limited the Agency’s knowledge of the country’s nuclear programme.
“I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in implementing its Safeguards Agreement and to resolve all outstanding issues,” he said.
Turning to Iran, Mr. Amano said the Middle Eastern country is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, adding that “the Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A round of talks on the issue is planned for 27 September in Vienna, and the Board of Governors has stressed that it is essential for Iran to immediately conclude and implement the structured approach. Mr. Amano added that the IAEA is committed to working with Iran’s new Government to resolve outstanding issues by diplomatic means.
Given the nature and extent of credible information available to the Agency about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr. Amano said: “It remains essential and urgent for Iran to engage with us on the substance of our concerns.” He also reiterated that Agency’s request that Iran, without further delay, provide substantive answers to its detailed questions regarding the location within the Parchin site and the foreign expert, and provide access to the location concerned.
“I continue to urge Iran to fully implement its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations and to engage with the Agency to achieve concrete results on all outstanding substantive issues,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Amano also reported on the progress made in the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was endorsed in the aftermath of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011.
“Recent events in Japan are a clear reminder of the continuing impact of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The leak of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi is a matter of high priority that needs to be addressed urgently,” he said.
“Recognizing the importance of this issue, the IAEA international peer review mission to Japan in April recommended that Japan establish an effective plan and mechanisms for the long-term management of liquid waste. The announcement by the Japanese Government of a basic policy for addressing this issue is an important step forward.”
Mr. Amano added that the IAEA remains ready to assist Japan and will send a second international peer review mission in the next months to offer further advice.