Preparatory Committee for NPT Review Conference: A Closer Look at Iran's Views and Action Course in Nuclear Field

Monday, April 29, 2013

Iran Review Research Team

The second session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has started at the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 22 and will continue until May 3, 2013. The session is headed by Ambassador Cornel Feruta of Romania.

According to Article 8 of the NPT, “Five years after the entry into force of this Treaty, a conference of Parties to the Treaty shall be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to review the operation of this Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized.” In general, the review process of the NPT focuses on two main tasks: firstly, to prevent the treaty from being weakened and undermined by providing suitable conditions to increase the weight and credibility of the NPT; and secondly, to design and create diplomatic mechanisms conforming to temporal conditions in order to facilitate full implementation of the NPT.

During these meetings, two speeches were delivered on the sidelines of the Preparatory Committee’s session. The first speech was addressed to the representatives of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) by Undersecretary of Iran Supreme National Security Council [Ali Baqeri], and the second speech was delivered by Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva, Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, as rotational head of the NAM. Both speeches included very important points. The most important and the most transparent positions taken by countries on various international issues are usually announced in such statements, but they are often made available only to diplomats and a small group of the audience. Therefore, for better  understanding of the audience of Iran Review website, we have chosen 17 pivotal points of the two speeches in order to shed more light on the viewpoints and the course of action taken by Iran on nuclear issues both within framework of the NAM, and alone.

A) The Islamic Republicof Iran and common views with the NAM members

Member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, which is currently headed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, have been actively present in the second session of the Preparatory Committee for NPT Review Conference. The NAM members released a detailed statement on various issues related to the nonproliferation of the nuclear weapons, which was read by Iran ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva, Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, in the opening session of the Preparatory Committee’s session on April 22, 2013. In that statement, the member states of the NAM took the nuclear-weapon states to task for their performance with regard to promoting nuclear nonproliferation. They also emphasized the need for complete annihilation of such weapons while calling for the promotion of the peaceful use of the nuclear energy and respect for countries’ right in this regard, stressing the importance of creating nuclear weapon-free zones, especially in the Middle East, and highlighting the universal nature of the NPT. Prominent points of the NAM statement include:

1. Iran, along with other member states of the NAM, reaffirmed that the goal of the NPT review process is to encourage overarching implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, especially its Article 4 on the peaceful use of the nuclear energy, and Article 6 on the nuclear disarmament. The NAM member states emphasized nuclear disarmament as their highest priority in this regard while describing nuclear weapons or the threat to use such weapons as a great threat to humanity. The NAM member states also criticized nuclear-weapon countries for their failure to fulfill their obligations with regard to nuclear disarmament, mentioning the slow pace of the nuclear disarmament as cause of great concern. They also announced that reduced deployment of nuclear weapons or changing their operational state can by no means be considered a substitute to nuclear disarmament and total annihilation of such weapons. Therefore, they urged the nuclear-weapon states to fulfill their legal obligations with regard to the destruction of such weapons and prove their goodwill by implementing the obligations they had accepted within framework of the NPT and the decisions made in previous conferences on the review of the NPT, including review conferences in 2000 and 2010. The member states of the NAM also called on the nuclear-weapon states to show more respect for the principles of “transparent supervision” and “irreversibility” in their measures related to nuclear disarmament.

2. Iran and the NAM reaffirm the importance of the unanimous conclusion of the ICJ that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and the bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. The Group also emphasizes the necessity to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling transfer, use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction, without further delay.

3. The Group firmly believes that the mere possession or any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular, International Humanitarian Law. The Group therefore stresses that, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, as the only absolute guarantee against the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the NWS must refrain, under all circumstances, from the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty. In this connection, the Group calls for the commencement, without any further delay, of the negotiation for conclusion of a universal legally binding instrument on effective, unconditional, nondiscriminatory and irrevocable security assurances by all NWS to all NNWS parties to the Treaty against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

4. Iran and the Group of NAM States Parties to the NPT emphasize the significance of full, effective and nondiscriminatory implementation of article IV of the Treaty on “the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty. The Group stresses that, as stipulated in that article, nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting this inalienable right. Furthermore, the Group once again reaffirms that each State party, in line with its national requirements and in accordance with its rights and obligations under the Treaty, has a sovereign right to define its national energy and fuel-cycle policies, including the inalienable right to develop, for peaceful purposes, a full national nuclear fuel-cycle. Accordingly, the Group stresses that the choices and decisions of each State party in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be respected without prejudice to its international cooperation agreements and arrangements for peaceful use of nuclear energy and its fuel-cycle policies.

5. Iran and the NAM reaffirm the importance of the right of all States parties to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Group strongly rejects, and calls for the immediate removal of, any restrictions or limitations posed on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including restrictions on exports to other States parties of nuclear material, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.

6. The Group once again reaffirms the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities and that any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities, operational or under construction, poses a threat to international peace and security and a great danger to human beings and the environment and constitutes a grave violation of international law, the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the regulations of IAEA.

7. I. R. Iran and the NAM recognize that the IAEA is the sole competent authority for the verification of compliance with obligations under the respective safeguards agreements of Member States. The Group expresses its full confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the IAEA and strongly rejects any politically motivated attempts by any State to politicize the work of the IAEA, including its technical cooperation program, in violation of its Statute.

In this context, the Group underlines the importance of strict observance of the IAEA statute and relevant comprehensive safeguards agreements, in conducting verification activities. Bearing in mind the Agency’s responsibility in protecting safeguards’ confidential information and given the undesirable incidents of leakage of such information, the Group stresses the need for strengthening the regime for the protection of safeguards confidential information.

8. NAM is of the firm belief that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, which is an important contribution towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, does not substitute the legal obligation of the total elimination of nuclear weapons by the NWS. The Group calls upon the NWS to fulfill their obligations in achieving the objectives of the treaties to establish NWFZ and their protocols. In this regard, the Group strongly calls for the withdrawal of any related reservations or unilateral interpretative that are incompatible with the object and purpose of those treaties.

In this regard, the Group strongly supports the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as a priority, and calls for the full implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, which is an integral and essential part of the package of decisions reached without a vote that enabled the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995. This resolution remains valid until its objectives are achieved.

9. NAM State Parties to the NPT express their serious concern over the long delay in the implementation of the 1995 Resolution and urge the three cosponsors of the Resolution to take all necessary measures to fully implement it without any further delay. Recalling the consensus decision contained in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference on convening in 2012, of a Conference on the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East, NAM State Parties to the NPT express their profound disappointment on not contradicts and violates the collective agreement of the States Parties contained in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. They strongly reject the alleged impediments presented by the conveners for not convening the Conference on schedule, and express their serious concern that the 2ndPrepCom for the 2015 NPT RevCon is meeting while the Conference has not been convened yet. They urge the UN Secretary General, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian federation, to convene the Conference without any further delay in order to avoid any negative repercussions on the relevance and credibility of the NPT, its 2015 Review process and the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime as a whole.

10. Iran as the chair of the NAM would like to refer to the Final Document of Tehran Summit in August 2012, in which the Heads of State or Government, while recalling the initiatives by Iran, Egypt and Syria and resolutions submitted on behalf of the Arab Group on the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East, called upon all parties concerned to take urgent and practical steps for the establishment of such a zone and, pending its establishment, demanded that Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so., to renounce possession of nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards and the conduct its nuclear related activities in conformity with the non-proliferation regime. They expressed great concern over the acquisition of nuclear capability by Israel which poses a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other States, and condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals. They also called for the total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear related scientific or technological fields to Israel.

B. Iran’s Views and Steps in Solving Iran’s Nuclear Issue and the Process of Negotiations with P5+1 ( Chosen from Iran's Deputy Secretary of SNSC Speech at NAM Ambassadorial Meeting )

11. The Islamic Republic of Iran, because of its membership in the NPT and the IAEA, has officially expressed its commitment to internationally recognized mechanisms and subsequently the non-divergence of its peaceful nuclear activities towards military goals.  As for its responsibilities, my country has completely carried out its treaty obligations and has provided necessary access to IAEA so that it can continuously and closely monitor our peaceful nuclear activities. By doing so, Iran has addressed any possible concern about such activities and has provided necessary assurances about their peaceful nature to IAEA -- which is the only credible relevant international authority. Thus, in return for the fulfillment of such obligations by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, one would naturally expect the people of Iran to be able to enjoy their basic rights as stipulated in relative treaties and conventions; with no restrictions, conditions or limitations. 

12- The Islamic Republic of Iran until 2005– in the context of an agreement it had reached with 3 European countries and in an effort to build confidence – voluntarily undertook to implement a series of measures that went beyond its safeguards obligations as well as its obligations to the Agency’s statutes and those of the NPT. Again, in an effort to provide unilateral confidence, the Islamic Republic of Iran, implemented each and every demand by the European parties for a long period of time which some of them have been mentioned here:

1. Suspension of enrichment activities for 26 months.
2. Implementation of the Additional Protocol -- before its ratification -- for 26 months.
3. Suspension of yellowcake to AUC conversion for 8 months.
4. Suspension of AUC to UO2 conversion for 8 months.
5.  Suspension of UO2 to UF4 conversion for 8 months.
6.  Suspension of UF4 to UF6 conversion for 8 months.
7. Suspension of the manufacturing of parts for 3 months.
8. Granting access and 20 rounds of inspections of enrichment equipment parts manufacturing facilities.
9. Granting access and 2 rounds of inspections of enrichment R&D centers.
10. Granting access and inspection of 26 military sites.

However, back in 2005 and despite all such efforts and in complete disregard for all international laws and regulations, the 3 European parties to negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, tabled a written proposal that required Iran to dismantle its nuclear fuel cycle.

13- In 2010 the two parties agreed for the talks to be conducted in the context of “ talks for cooperation”. Regretfully some members of the P5+1 did not remain committed to obligations of this agreement. If those P5+1 members had remained committed, much progress would have been made. On the same lines, if P5+1 had looked at the provision of fuel for Tehran’s Research Reactor through the prism of “cooperation” this need in itself could have turned into prospect that would have helped facilitate the issue’s resolution. However, P5+1’s illogical and uneven proposals that were tabled in the “Istanbul one” (2011) talks once again wasted the opportunity that had presented itself. They had not only failed to propose a binding framework for the sale of fuel for Tehran’s Research Reactor, as well as medical isotopes that were desperately needed by one million Iranian sufferers, but also refused to agree over a formula to exchange fuel and thus provide fuel as needed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. As from the above, the President of Brazil and Prime Minster of Turkey, after receiving letters from the US President, visited Tehran to put their initiative into motion. Their effort was met with the constructive cooperation and engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran and culminated in the issuance of the “Tehran Declaration” for the exchange of fuel. Hardly a few days had passed from the issuance of the Declaration – which again, as attested by Brazil and Turkey, was a response to letters from the US President – when, because of pressure by the United States and as a result of an illogical and unwise decision, resolution 1929 was passed by the UNSC and against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The resolution later became a major obstacle in the way of advancement of cooperation and win-win interaction between the two parties and managed to stymie Iran’s constructive efforts.

14- Although these events have happened in the past, but unwise and reckless actions can still render existing opportunities as useless an lead to a repast of old experiences.

In the most recent stage, the Islamic Republic of Iran closely studied the P5+1 proposal that was tabled in “Almaty One” talks and with consideration to the plan that was tabled by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Moscow talks, tabled a logical, constructive and positive response in the “Almaty Two” talks:

1. The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to work and engage – within the parameters of the NPT -- with the P5+1 to find a resolution for the totality of the nuclear issue.

2. If the P5+1is presently not prepared to work towards a comprehensive resolution of the issue, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to take a preliminary step or steps. This of course is dependent on the other party’s readiness to a simultaneous step or steps that are proportionate and are of the same weight and consistency and recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran’s rights – especially the right to enrichment – as defined by   the NPT. In this context, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to implement a number of proposals that were tabled by P5+1 in the “Almaty One” meeting.

15- Now the 5+1 is faced with three options:

First; to comprehensively and completely resolve the issue in one setting. The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced its readiness to do just that and work towards reaching such a result. In this context my country tabled a comprehensive plan in the Moscow talks.
Second; the step by step resolution of the issue -- by taking a number of simultaneous reciprocal steps that will be of the same consistency and weight -- by the two parties as initial steps and as tabled and proposed in Almaty Two talks.
Third; no forward movement and setting aside the proposals that were tabled by 5+1 in Almaty One.

16- Finally Iran believes that the ball is in the 5+1’s court. Therefore, it must firstly demonstrate its serious determination to practically advance the talks by choosing one of Iran’s two proposed options i.e. the “complete resolution” of the issue in “one sitting” or choose a reciprocal “step by step” progression that is based on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proposal as tabled in Almaty Two. Furthermore it must demonstrate its practical determination to enter into constructive, serious, substantive, effective and result oriented talks with Iran while demonstrating its practical respect for the elements of “talks for cooperation”. Thirdly, by unconditional acceptance of the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation -- specially the right to enrichment within the confines of the NPT – rid 5+1 of accusations of disregard for international treaties and selective dealing with international laws and regulations and fourthly, by providing the necessary authority to negotiators, help with the advancement of talks and allay suspicions of buying time, shying away from dialogue or engaging in talks for the sake of talks.

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