MR. ELBARADEI: Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, my report to the council today is an update on the status of the
International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear verification activities in Iraq pursuant
to Security Council Resolution 1441 and other relevant resolutions.
I reported last to the council on 14 February, I explained that the agency's inspection
activities has moved well beyond the reconnaissance phase -- that is, reestablishing
our knowledge base regarding Iraq nuclear capabilities -- into the investigative
phase, which focuses on the central question before the IAEA relevant to disarmament:
whether Iraq has revived or attempted to revive its defunct nuclear weapons program
over the last four years.
At the outset, let me state one general observation:
namely, that during the past four years, at the majority of Iraqi sites, industrial
capacity has deteriorated substantially due to the departure of the foreign support
that was often present in the late '80s, the departure of large numbers of skilled
Iraqi personnel in the past decade, and the lack of consistent maintenance by
Iraq of sophisticated equipment. At only a few inspected sites involved in industrial
research, development and manufacturing have the facilities been improved and
new personnel been taken on, this overall deterioration in industrial capacity
is naturally of direct relevance to Iraq's capability for resuming a nuclear weapon
The IAEA has now conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at
141 sites, including 21 that had not been inspected before. In addition, the agency
experts have taken part in many UNMOVIC/IAEA inspections.
for nuclear inspections has continued to expand. The three operational air samplers
have collected from key locations in Iraq weekly air particulate samples that
are being sent to laboratories for analysis. Additional results of water, sediment,
vegetation and material sample analysis have been received from the relevant laboratories.
Our vehicle-borne radiation survey team has covered some 2,000 kilometers
over the past three weeks. Survey access has been gained to over 75 facilities,
including military garrisons and camps, weapons factories, truck parks and manufacturing
facilities and residential areas.
Interviews have continued with relevant
Iraqi personnel, at times with individuals and groups in the workplace during
the course of unannounced inspections, and on other occasions, in pre-arranged
meetings with key scientists and other specialists known to have been involved
with Iraq's past nuclear program.
The IAEA has continued to conduct interviews
even when the conditions were not in accordance with the IAEA prepared modalities,
with a view to gaining as much information as possible, information that could
be cross-checked for validity with other sources and which could be helpful in
our assessment of areas under investigation.
As you may recall, when
we first began to request private, unescorted interviews, the Iraqi interviewees
insisted on taping the interviews and keeping the record tapes. Recently, upon
our insistence, individuals have been consenting to being interviewed without
escort and without a taped record. The IAEA has conducted two such private interviews
in the last 10 days, and hopes that its ability to conduct private interviews
will continued unhindered, including possibly interviews outside Iraq.
I should add that we're looking into further refining the modalities for conducting
interviews to ensure that they are conducted freely and to alleviate concerns
that interviews are being listened to by other Iraqi parties. In our view, interviews
outside Iraq may be the best way to ensure that interviews are free. And we intend
therefore to request such interviews shortly. We are also asking other states
to enable us to conduct interviews with former Iraqi scientists that now reside
in those states.
Mr. President, in the last few weeks, Iraq has provided
a considerable volume of documentation relative to the issues I reported earlier
as being of particular concern, including Iraq's efforts to procure aluminum tubes,
its attempted procurement of magnets and magnets production capabilities, and
its reported attempt to import uranium. I will touch briefly on the progress made
on each of these issues.
Since my last update to the council, the primary
technical focus of IAEA field activities in Iraq has been on resolving several
outstanding issues related to the possible resumption of efforts by Iraq to enrich
uranium through the use of centrifuges. For that purpose, the IAEA assembled a
specially qualified team of international centrifuge-manufacturing experts.
regards to the aluminum tubes, the IAEA has conducted a thorough investigation
of Iraq's attempt to purchase large quantities of high-strength aluminum tubes.
As previously reported, Iraq has maintained that these aluminum tubes were sought
for rocket production. Extensive field investigation and document analysis have
failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81-mm tubes for
any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. The Iraqi decision-making
process with regard to the design of these rockets was well documented. Iraq has
provided copies of design documents, procurement records, minutes of committee
meetings, and supporting data and samples.
A thorough analysis of this
information, together with information gathered from interviews with Iraqi personnel,
has allowed the IAEA to develop a coherent picture of attempted purchase and intended
usage of the 81-mm aluminum tubes, as well as the rationale behind the changes
in the tolerance.
Drawing on this information, the IAEA has learned that
the original tolerance for the 81-mm tubes were set prior to 1987 and were based
on physical measurements taken from a small number of imported rockets in Iraq's
possession. Initial attempts to reverse-engineer the rockets met with little success.
Tolerance were adjusted during the following years as part of ongoing efforts
to revitalize the project and improve operational efficiency. The project languished
for a long period during this time, and became the subject of several committees,
which resulted in specification and tolerance changes on each occasion.
on available evidence, the IAEA team has concluded that Iraq efforts to import
these aluminum tubes were not likely to have been related to the manufacture of
centrifuge; and moreover, that it was highly unlikely that Iraq could have achieved
the considerable redesign needed to use them in a revived centrifuge program.
However, this issue will continue to be scrutinized and investigated.
With respect to reports about Iraq efforts to import high- strength permanent
magnets or to achieve the capability for producing such magnets for use in a centrifuge
enrichment program, I should note that since 1998, Iraq has purchased high-strength
magnets for various uses. Iraq has declared inventories of magnets of 12 different
designs. The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used
for missile-guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field
telephones. Through visit to research and production sites, review of engineering
drawings, and analysis of sample magnets, the IAEA expert familiar with the use
of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets
that Iraq has declared could be used directly for centrifuge magnetic bearings.
In June 2001, Iraq designed -- signed a contract for a new magnet production
line for delivery and installation in 2003. The delivery has not yet occurred,
and Iraqi documentations and interviews of Iraqi personnel indicate that this
contract will not be executed. However, they have concluded that the contract
-- that the replacement of foreign procurement with domestic magnet production
seems reasonable from an economic point of view. In addition, the training and
experience acquired by Iraq in pre-1991 period make it likely that Iraq possesses
the expertise to manufacture high-strength permanent magnets suitable for use
in enrichment centrifuges. The IAEA will continue, therefore, to monitor and inspect
equipment and materials that could be used to make magnets for enrichment centrifuges.
With regard to uranium acquisition, the IAEA has made progress in its investigation
into reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger in recent years. This
investigation was centered on documents provided by a number of states that pointed
to an agreement between Niger and Iraq for the sale of uranium between 1999 and
The IAEA has discussed these reports with the government of Iraq
and Niger, both of which have denied that any such activity took place. For its
part, Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of its relations
with Niger and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African
countries, including Niger, in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given
rise to the reports.
The IAEA was able to review correspondence coming from
various bodies of the government of Niger and to compare the form, format, contents
and signature of that correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related
documentations. Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence
of outside experts, that these documents, which formed the basis for the reports
of recent uranium transaction between Iraq and Niger, are in fact not authentic.
We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However,
we will continue to follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant
to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear material.
regarding Iraq possible intention to resume its nuclear program have arisen from
Iraq procurement efforts reported by a number of states. In addition, many of
Iraq's efforts to procure commodities and products, including magnets and aluminum
tubes, have been conducted in contravention of the sanctions control specified
under Security Council Resolution 661 and other relevant resolutions.
issue of procurement efforts remains under thorough investigation, and further
verification will be forthcoming. In fact, an IAEA team of technical experts is
currently in Iraq, composed of custom investigators and computer forensic specialists
to conduct -- which is conducting a... of investigation through inspection at
trading companies and commercial organizations, aimed at understanding Iraq's
pattern of procurement.
Mr. President, in conclusion, I'm able to report
today that in the area of nuclear weapons, the most lethal weapons of mass destruction,
inspection in Iraq are moving forward. Since the resumption of inspection a little
over three months ago, and particularly during the three weeks since my last oral
report to the council, the IAEA has made important progress in identifying what
nuclear-related capabilities remain in Iraq and in its assessment of whether Iraq
has made any effort to revive its past nuclear program during the intervening
four years since inspections were brought to a halt.
At this stage, the
following can be stated: One, there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities
in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as
being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related
prohibited activities at any inspected sites.
Second, there is no indication
that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.
Three, there is
no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge
enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have been --
it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges
out of the aluminum tubes in question.
Fourthly, although we are still
reviewing issues related to magnets and magnet production, there is no indication
to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in a centrifuge enrichment program.
As I stated above, the IAEA will naturally continue further to scrutinize and
investigate all of the above issues.
After three months of intrusive
inspection, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indications of the
revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq. We intend to continue our inspection
activities, making use of all the additional rights granted to us by Resolution
1441 and all additional tools that might be available to us, including reconnaissance
platforms and all relevant technologies. We also hope to continue to receive from
states actionable information relevant to our mandate.
I should note
that in the past three weeks, possibly as a result of ever-increasing pressure
by the international community, Iraq has been forthcoming in its cooperation,
particularly with regard to the conduct of private interviews and in making available
evidence that could contribute to the resolution of matters of IAEA concerns.
I do hope that Iraq will continue to expand the scope and accelerate the pace
of its cooperation.
The detailed knowledge of Iraq capabilities that
IAEA experts have accumulated since 1991, combined with the extended rights provided
by Resolution 1441, the active commitment by all states to help us fulfill our
mandate and the recently increased level of Iraqi cooperation should enable us
in the near future to provide the Security Council with an objective and thorough
assessment of Iraq nuclear-related capabilities.
However, however credible
this assessment may be, we will endeavor, in view of the inherent uncertainties
associated with any verification process, and particularly in the light of Iraq's
past effort of cooperation, to evaluate Iraq capabilities on a continuous basis
as part of our long-term monitoring and verification program in order to provide
the international community with ongoing and real-time assurances.
you, Mr. President.