U.S. ambassador to IAEA: Iran’s words not matching with its actions
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 7 /Trend Т .Konyayeva/
Iranian nuclear program still causes concerns of the international community due to lack of Iran's proper cooperation, despite Iran's assurances about the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities, Glyn Davies, the U.S. ambassador to IAEA, believes.
"We believe that the international community is justifiably concerned that Iran's nuclear activities are not exclusively peaceful in nature," Davies told Trend in the exclusive interview. "What Iran says is not the issue, what Iran does and how Iran acts that is the issue here."
Iranian nuclear program has caused concern since 2003, when the IAEA became aware of its concealed activity. In late 2003, Iran signed the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and voluntarily announced about the suspension of uranium enrichment. However, it returned to this activity. Iran insists that as a party to the NPT it has the full right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons. However, it is necessary as fuel for atomic power plants. Several countries, including the U.S., are sure that Iran strives to develop nuclear weapons and call for to prevent this development.
Until now, the UN Security Council adopted six resolutions, four of which are aimed at imposing sanctions against Iran, demanding to abandon uranium enrichment, and two resolutions containing warnings.
According to Davies, the international community has concerns that Iran kept elements of its nuclear program secret, the concern that Iran refuses to cooperate with the IAEA, to allow the Agency to verify the peaceful nature of Iran's program.
"The IAEA is working hard to clarify the nature of Iran's nuclear program since 2002, when an Iranian opposition group revealed in Iran the presence of the secret Iranian enrichment program," he told. "And in September 2009 Iran declared to the IAEA the second secret enrichment plant that was under construction in Qom. And we believed into that because it was afraid that others had already gained knowledge about that new facility and they were right on that score."
In 2009, prior to the Geneva the meeting between Iran and the P5+1 countries, the IAEA has confirmed the receipt of Iran's notification about the construction of the second uranium enrichment plant on the territory without the consent of international organizations. The Agency has demanded that Iran provide specific information and give access to the new facility near the city of Qom.
The IAEA Board of Governors condemned Iran for building the second uranium enrichment plant and urged Tehran to prove that "no decisions were made on the construction of other nuclear facilities, which are not declared to the agency." Then, talks with Iran had been suspended until 2010.
Davies believes, two Directors General - Mohammad ElBaradei and Yukiya Amano reported essentially the same thing that Iran has failed to report on many issues including important nuclear material, testing centrifuges and enrichment activities.
"Iran has failed to provide timely design information for installations in which nuclear material processing and storage have taken place or will take place," Davies said. "Iran refuses to answer the IAEA's questions or to give the IAEA access to its nuclear facilities, and to talk to the people they need to talk to."
"We believe Iran's refusal to provide clear responses to the IAEA's questions about military nuclear researches and about undeclared nuclear sites has left the Agency unable to confirm that all aspects of Iran's nuclear program are peaceful," he said. "That leads us to conclude that Iran is a threat because it is not upholding its commitments under the NPT and because it continues to expand and enlarge its nuclear program and strengthen its ability to develop nuclear weapons."
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.
According to the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which is signed individually between the IAEA and each country, the IAEA inspectors should be provided with greater rights of access to locations arousing suspicion.
In addition, states assume the obligation to submit more detailed documentation for the construction of new nuclear facilities at the design stage. The Protocol grants a possibility to conduct unannounced inspections if the IAEA has any doubts.
Late 2003, Iran agreed to sign the Additional Protocol, but this document has been never ratified by the Iranian parliament.
In February 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an order to suspend the additional protocol.
Iran's scientific achievements does not prove peaceful purpose of nuclear activities
According to Davies, Iran is technically quite capable in many ways but there has been no independent confirmation of these nuclear achievements that Iran has claimed.
"In the past we found that Iran has sometimes exaggerated its abilities and its accomplishments," he said. "The claims that Iran is making do not demonstrate the exclusively peaceful nature of the nuclear program."
In February, Iran announced two achievements in the nuclear field - development of the fusion technology and production of new radioactive drugs.
Development of the fusion technology named IR-IECF has been started since March 2010. This technology is used in cancer treatment, too.
New type of anti-prostate and lung tumor radiopharmaceuticals Bombesin Gallium-68 (68 Ga-bombesin) was produced at medical, industrial and agricultural research center located in town of Karaj affiliated to Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Davies noted only the IAEA has the responsibility to verify that nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful in nature.
"The latest report we have got from Mr. Amano, the Director General, says very clearly that Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to the Agency to verify all of Iran's nuclear material is in peaceful activities," Davies underscored.
"I would say with regards to that in the general manner: this is not much about Iranian scientific achievements because Iranians are quite capable to have them. They've got good scientists. It is really about the nuclear program's relationships with the rules that Iran signed up to. When they signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and when they joined the IAEA," Davies thinks.
Tour of nuclear facilities was an Iranian ploy
Iran by inviting a certain number of ambassadors to a certain few nuclear facilities wasn't addressing the concerns of the international community, Davies believes.
"I think that tour was a real failure because many of the ambassadors they invited shows not to go," the ambassador noted. "I don't think that invitation changed anything about Iran's international obligations."
Early January, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh extended the invitation to tour some of the Iranian nuclear sites to the P5+1, some European countries, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Group of 77, the Arab League.
Among the invitees were Russia and China, pursuing a dual-track strategy toward Iran, as well as Brazil and Turkey, who voted against the new UN sanctions in 2010. Such countries as USA, UK, France and Japan, voted for the sanctions, have not been invited.
Iranian authorities had planned to demonstrate the foreign representatives two uranium enrichment plants in Natanz and Arak heavy water plant.
According to Davies, the invitation hasn't change the central point which is that Iran has obligations to the IAEA and to the international community.
"A pre-arranged guided tour for a very few ambassadors is a real theatre, it's a distraction," he said. "It is hardly the same thing as a full cooperation with the IAEA."
Davies noted the IAEA is a multilateral body who charges quite ensuring that countries abide by the nuclear obligations.
"Iran was trying to persuade these few IAEA ambassadors of its cooperation with the international community. The vast majority of ambassadors in Vienna declined the invitation recognized this for what it was. This was a ploy," Davies undercsored.
The most ambassadors declined to go on a tour and told Iran what Iran has not to have tours of a few facilities, but it would rather to cooperate with the IAEA, Davies added.
"Iran should provide the necessary access to the IAEA to monitor and to verify its nuclear facilities and to answer the IAEA's questions," Davies thinks.
West has not slammed the door in Iran and extending a hand to them
According to Davies, the discussions in Istanbul were long and difficult. "We were under no illusions that this process would be easy, and certainly the experience of the talks in Istanbul enforced the impression that we had," he said.
Talks on Iran's nuclear program between the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, China, Russia, France, Great Britain - and Germany) and Iran were held in December, 2010 in Geneva after a 14-month break. The next round of discussions took place on 21-22 January, 2011 in Istanbul. The meeting was chaired by EU High Representative for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
After the Istanbul talks, when addressing to journalists, Ashton told that she was disappointed with the results of discussions on Iran's nuclear program and with lack of movement by Iran.
Davies believes "the only thing Iran did in Istanbul, it presented preconditions for moving ahead: they demanded recognition of the right to enrich uranium and they demanded the lifting of sanctions."
"These preconditions were unacceptable, and each one of the P5+1 members made clear that we can't proceed on that basis," Davies said. "Iranians were trying to demand that these concessions be made before they were going to sit down and have a real discussion. That is a reason why the Istanbul talks were not opportunely successful, because Iranians were unwilling to come without unacceptable conditions."
Davies noted the objective of the P5+1 has been to build confidence to a phased approach, to address the serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program and the obligations imposed on Iran that are sorted out in repeated Security Council's resolutions and resolutions of the IAEA.
"We were not offering to engage with Iran as obligate to talk," he added.
"It's up to Iran to take concrete and convincing steps toward credible engagement," Davies underscored. "We haven't clapped the door in them, we are extending a hand to them and they continue to refuse to step to that door and they continue to slap down our hand."