Azerbaijan, Baku, July 20 / Trend T. Konyayeva /
The ban on entry of two IAEA inspectors to Iran demonstrates Iran's attempts to restrict the access of the Agency to its nuclear facilities and thereby strengthens the international community's concern about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, French permanent ambassador to the IAEA Florence Mangin said.
"The international community needs the transparency and trust [from Iran]," Mangin said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
In late June, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran forbad two IAEA inspectors to enter the country. According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, inspectors were declared persona non grata in Iran. They have provided false information about Iran's nuclear program and prematurely divulged official information. In response, the IAEA issued a statement in which it reported about full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of its inspectors.
Mangin said that the ban on entry of two inspectors of the Agency and Iran's statement about their non-professionalism cause concern.
"This is unacceptable. We all are confident in the Secretariat's activity and the impartiality of Director-General," she said.
Mangin said that despite the fact that the Agency has a large staff of qualified inspectors, the availability of staff having rich experience and knowledge in a particular country, makes the work of the Agency more effective and efficient.
Iran's compliance with obligations to the IAEA
Mangin said that reports of IAEA Director General on the implementation of security measures in Iran include answers to the question of Iran's compliance with obligations to the Agency.
"All declared facilities are under Agency's supervision and all declared nuclear materials in these installations have not been diverted to non peaceful uses.
But the Agency is not able to confirm the absence of undeclared nuclear activities and materials in Iran," Mangin said.
This is due to a long period (20 years) of covert nuclear activities in the country, and not only a long time ago, even very recently, as you know, an undeclared enrichment facility was uncovered by the intelligence community.
This is due to Iran's lack of full cooperation with the Agency. This is also due to Iran's failure to implement the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement, and its declaratory' obligations under code 3.1 of its safeguards agreement, Mangin said.
The basic obligations of Iran on security measures were outlined in its Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/214). This agreement was ratified by the Iranian parliament and entered into force in May 1974.
Iran's Safeguards Agreement establishes the general principles. It does not contain the exact details of how guarantees will be applied. These details are specified in the additional provisions that do not require ratification by national parliaments.
Additional provisions specify the term when the state must inform the IAEA of new facilities. Code 3.1 in version 1976 requires the countries to report on new facilities normally not later than 180 days before it is planned to obtain nuclear material for the first time. Version of 1990 requires the countries to report on the new facility as soon as the decision about its construction was made.
"The many breaches of Iran's obligations reported by the IAEA created a lack of confidence and make Iran a special verification case for the Agency," Mangin said.
Unless full cooperation is obtained from Iran, through confidence building measures and transparency to clarify all aspects of current and past nuclear activities in Iran, in particular those which have a possible military dimension, and with the implementation of the Additional Protocol, the Agency and the international community will remain concerned about the nuclear program in Iran.
NPT and international security
"The issue of the universalisation of the NPT is an important one. The 2010 review conference in May in New-York re-emphasized the importance of the Treaty for international security and the need for its universal adherence was recognized by all Parties, including from the West," she said.
NPT is a multilateral international document developed by the UN Committee on Disarmament to prevent the expansion of the number of countries possessing nuclear weapons, ensure the necessary international monitoring of the obligations taken by the countries under the Treaty, create opportunities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Parties of the treaty are almost all independent countries of the world, except Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
As almost 180 States parties, Iran has committed itself to place all its nuclear materials and activities under Agency safeguards. If these obligations are not respected, this is Iran's decision, not someone else, she said.
"Of course, there is a particular regional dimension in the Middle East. This was also taken into account at the NPT context, and at the last review conference, we have reached an agreement on a significant step towards the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the region by organising a conference in 2012 with the participation of the UNSG, to be attended by all States in the Middle East," she said.
Vienna and Tehran agreements
According to Mangin, there is an obvious importance for Iranian people to have access with discontinuation to cancer diagnostic and treatment; this is a humanitarian question as highlighted by former IAEA DG
"The interest of the international community to address the Iranian nuclear crisis is also very high and our understanding is that all parties involved remain engaged to fix the problem of shortage of fuel elements for the Tehran Research Reactor," she said.
According to Mangin, the proposal for a fuel supply agreement as negotiated in November 2009 by the IAEA DG, was providing a confidence building measure between the parties and on Iran nuclear program exclusively peaceful objective, in complement to the E3+3 unrelenting efforts to try to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear program, which raises deep concerns.
Russia, U.S. and France immediately agreed to the proposal, Iran did not answer before May 2010," she said.
In October last year a plan was proposed under which through the IAEA, the low-enriched (3.5 percent) Iranian uranium had to be exported to Russia for enrichment to nearly 20 percent, and onward to France for reprocessing into fuel for the Tehran medical reactor. However, Tehran said it was ready to buy more highly enriched uranium or exchange its reserves, provided that the exchange will take place simultaneously on the Iranian territory.
Iran's decision to start uranium enrichment up to 20 percent to produce the fuel by itself was interpreted as a refusal for this confidence building agreement, Mangin said.
In February, Iran formally notified the IAEA of its intention to begin enriching uranium to 20 percent on its territory in accordance with the order by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to begin production of nuclear fuel from low-enriched uranium for a research nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes, i.e., the production of uranium, enriched to 20 percent.
With regards to the Tehran agreement, Mangin said that the letter sent by the three Ministers from Brazil, Turkey and Iran on May 17 has of course received all our consideration.
"We welcome the efforts of Brazil and Turkey on this issue," the ambassador said.
A trilateral agreement on the exchange of uranium was reached May 17 between Iran, Turkey and Brazil. The foreign ministers of these countries signed a draft agreement for the exchange of Tehran's low-enriched (3.5 percent) uranium to highly enriched (20 percent) fuel for the Tehran research reactor. The exchange, according to the document, will be carried out on Turkish territory. Under the agreement, Iran is ready to send to Turkey 1.2 tons of its low-enriched uranium in order to obtain 120 kilograms of nuclear fuel.
But, according to Mangin, many questions are not addressed in this document. In particular, the enrichment operations at 20 percent are not mentioned although they were started in this context.
"Can we expect the Vienna Group to agree on a fuel supply agreement while Iran continues to produce 20 percent enriched uranium with no need for this product, and having in mind the numerous UNSC resolutions that request Iran to suspend enrichment activities? Certainly not, there is a need for consistency," she said.
But, according to Mangin, the Vienna Group has clearly indicated its readiness for further discussion on this topic, including through a new technical meeting in Vienna "if M.
Amano feels that all parties are committed to find a solution".