Statement by Mr Abdul Samad Minty, Governor of the Republic
of South Africa at the Special Meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on the Implementation
of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Related Board
Resolutions, Vienna, Austria, 4 February 2006
outset, I would like to express through my brother Ambassador Ramzy, our heartfelt
condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those passengers and crew
that tragically died or were injured in the Egyptian ferry disaster that took
South Africa fully associates itself
with the statement made on 2 February 2006 by the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.
We also appreciate the informative and comprehensive factual report given
at the beginning of our special session by the Deputy Director General on recent
developments regarding the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The resolution that is before the Board would represent
a watershed in the Agency's efforts to deal with the outstanding issues relating
to the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme. This resolution
seeks to initiates a process whereby the Security Council will become more substantially
involved in the Agency's verification activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran,
with a diminishing and possibly subservient and even marginal role for the Board.
We have made it clear in the run-up to this special meeting that South
Africa has, as always, worked for the adoption of consensus decisions by the Board
on the Islamic Republic of Iran. South Africa, together with many others made
every effort to achieve this, and consensus was well within our grasp.
was a lack of agreement on the formulation of operative paragraph 2 and consensus
could have been possible if this action could have been deferred to March, consistent
with the improvement in operative paragraph 8.
Africa believes that in the absence of a definitive assessment by the Agency on
the implementation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of its NPT Safeguards Agreement
with the Agency, the Board cannot now consider referring a report or reports to
the Security Council and General Assembly.
The best approach is for the
Board to adopt decisions by consensus that would reinforce the work of the Agency
and create a climate conducive to resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to
the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme.
Africa's concerns related to the basic thrust and content of our work between
now at this Board and March are mainly based on the following;
the impact on the role, authority, impartiality and integrity of the Agency.
Secondly, the impact and consequences of our actions and decisions on the
need for the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue to implement voluntary, non-legally
binding confidence building measures to facilitate the process to find a long-term
sustainable solution to its peaceful nuclear programme.
Thirdly, the impact
on the NPT in the context of the role of the Agency, including the Board, in the
process to verify the non-diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear
weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
is seriously concerned about the impact and consequences of the decision by the
Atomic Energy Agency of Iran to resume research and development activities in
January 2006. Tensions have heightened and we have entered into a virtual confrontation
mode. We need to keep focus on the big picture and when emotions run high; facts
and common sense often become blurred, preventing us from finding a sustainable
and peaceful solution to this matter. We must guard against jeopardising the role
and responsibility of the Agency.
South Africa places a great importance
on the role, authority, impartiality and integrity of the Agency and we would
not wish to do anything that would reduce or undermine its solemn responsibilities.
We believe it is imperative that the Director General and the Agency should be
permitted to complete its verification work without undue pressure and hindrance,
and that should be our primary concern.
I wish to recall for the attention
of the Governors a very important decision that was taken by consensus at the
2000 NPT Review Conference, which is directly relevant to this matter, and I quote:
Conference reaffirms that IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying
and assuring, in accordance with the statute of IAEA and the IAEA safeguards system,
compliance with its safeguards agreements with States parties undertaken in fulfilment
of their obligations under article III, paragraph 1, of the Treaty, with a view
diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons
or other nuclear explosive devices. It is the conviction of the Conference that
nothing should be done to undermine the authority of IAEA in this regard. States
parties that have concerns regarding non-compliance with the safeguards agreements
of the Treaty by the States parties should direct such concerns, along with supporting
evidence and information, to IAEA to consider, investigate, draw conclusions and
decide on necessary actions in
accordance with its mandate."
decision reaffirms the special responsibility that rests on us to ensure that
our decisions and actions should not jeopardise the role and responsibility of
The reports by the Director General on the
implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran,
including the recent update given by the Deputy Director General, has shown a
positive and continuing trend of co-operation by the Islamic Republic of Iran
with the Agency. It is recognised that as a result of the corrective actions taken
by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Agency was able to clarify many, but regrettably
not yet all, of the outstanding issues.
South Africa expects that the co-operation
given by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency in clarifying these outstanding
issues will continue. Such proactive co-operation and support to the Director
General and his staff would allow the Agency to bring this matter to a close and
to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.
call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue to implement it's voluntarily,
non-legally binding confidence building measures, including the suspension of
its enrichment related activities.
South Africa welcomes the Islamic Republic
of Iran's continued implementation of the Additional Protocol as if it had been
ratified, and urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to complete the ratification
process as soon as possible.
Ratification and implementation of the Additional
Protocol and the continued full implementation of all the voluntarily, non-legally
binding confidence building measures, as called for by the Board in its previous
consensual decisions, are considered essential measures to facilitate the process
to clarify the issues related to the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear
The total elimination of all nuclear weapons
is our common objective, and, therefore, the issues of nuclear disarmament and
nuclear non-proliferation are inextricably linked to each other. This should not
be considered as some outdated position, since the reality is that those who have
nuclear weapons should not ever threaten non-nuclear-weapon States with the use
of nuclear weapons, but eliminate them.
Our concerted efforts to prevent
the proliferation of nuclear weapons should be matched by a concurrent effort
to eliminate, in a verifiable and irreversible manner, of all nuclear weapons
and of the universal adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
In terms of the application of the inalienable right to
the peaceful use of nuclear technology, NPT States Parties have undertaken to
pursue a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes in conformity with their obligations
under Articles I and II of the NPT. In verifying the non-diversion of nuclear
energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,
non-nuclear-weapon States have to conclude INFCIRC/153 type safeguard agreements
with the Agency. It is the responsibility of the Agency, as the competent authority,
to verify in accordance with these type of agreements, the fulfilment of the obligations
assumed under the NPT by these States Parties.
Governors should note in
particular that the Agency's verification of or inability to confirm the non-diversion
of nuclear material by a non-nuclear-weapon State in accordance with the INFCIRC/153
type safeguards agreement, will determine the further measures the Board may adopt,
including those measures outlined in Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute. In this
regard, the Board at its discretion may decide to notify the Security Council
and the General Assembly.
The Agency's investigation being undertaken in
the Islamic Republic of Iran is therefore undertaken in the context of verifying
the non-diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other
nuclear explosive devices, in accordance with the comprehensive safeguards agreement
between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Agency.
The focus of the Agency's
investigation is not to provide arguments or reasons for punitive actions to be
undertaken against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The focus is rather to facilitate
a process whereby the Islamic Republic of Iran could undertake corrective action
within a reasonable time, to enable the Agency to verify non-diversion. A process
currently ongoing, and which the Board will assess at its first regular meeting
in March this year.
We need to recognise that the issue
of the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear programme is a unique and special case,
and therefore decisions adopted by the Board in this regard should not be regarded
as setting a precedent for future cases to be dealt with by the Board.
implementation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of certain non-legally binding
confidence building measures is essential to addressing the outstanding issues
regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme.
South Africa has also consistently urged Members not to equate voluntary measures
undertaken by the Islamic Republic of Iran with the legally binding obligations
stemming from Members' safeguards agreements with the Agency.
regard South Africa has welcomed initiatives aimed at restoring confidence in
the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme, including the initiative
by the Russian Federation for a co-operation agreement with the Islamic Republic
of Iran on the enrichment of uranium.
South Africa strongly believes that
this initiative is aimed at restoring confidence in the peaceful nature of the
Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear programme and has no applicability beyond this
framework. All States Parties of the NPT in conformity with their obligations
under the Treaty have the right to develop research, production and use of nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes.
In conclusion Chairperson,
of the content of the decision adopted today through a vote, South Africa continues
to believe that we must resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations,
thereby avoiding a confrontation that could escalate into a spiralling conflict
with uncontrollable consequences.
I should like to inform
the Board that the instructions I have received from my capital are to abstain
on the text.
I thank you.