17 March 2006 The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear ambitions topped the agenda of a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council today, the first time the issue has been formally addressed by the 15-member body.
Following the meeting, a number of diplomats who attended the consultations told reporters that the Council is close to agreement on elements of a text reaffirming that Iran should comply with calls from the IAEA Governing Board and seeking a report from the Agency Director-General on the matter. They said consultations would resume early next week.
Council discussions today centred on an IAEA report requested by the Board of Governors last month which points to outstanding questions about Tehran’s activities. “Although the Agency has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the Agency is not at this point in time in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,” it states.
The report voices concern that “uncertainties related to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme have not been clarified after three years of intensive Agency verification.”
The report notes that under normal circumstances, drawing any conclusion about a country’s nuclear activities would take time, and the duration would be even longer in the case of Iran because of a number of factors, including the “undeclared nature” of Iran’s past programme. In 2003, it was discovered that Iran had carried out secret nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Before transmitting the report to the Council, Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said the 15-member body “will lend its weight to the IAEA’s efforts so as to make sure Iran will work as closely as possible with us.”