Statement by H.E Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Seventh NPT Review Conference (Excerpts)

3 May 2005, New York

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. President,

Despite the difficulties that the non-proliferation regime has historically faced, we can generally assess that the NPT has been successful in containing the number of nuclear-weapon States. Without the NPT, there would have certainly been more nuclear weapons in the hand of more countries in the world. This in turn would have put our planet at greater risk of more insecurity and instability.

On the other hand, the Treaty has not been successful in attaining the objective of nuclear disarmament as it has been called for in its Article VI. The continued existences of thousands of nuclear warheads in the nuclear-weapon States' stockpiles, which can destroy the entire globe many times over, are the major sources of threat to global peace and security. Unfortunately, the limited efforts of the two major nuclear-weapon States right after the Cold War to reduce their nuclear arsenals have faced serious setbacks, particularly in recent years. Nuclear weapons continue to be deployed in other countries; a fact that exacerbates the situation.

Following the major efforts by States Parties to strengthen the Treaty, the 2000 NPT Review Conference welcomed enthusiastically "the unequivocal undertakings by the Nuclear-Weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States Parties are committed under Article VI". Accordingly, the Conference adopted the 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI....

In a nutshell, the following developments must be fully taken into account in our appraisal:

1. Concerns continue to remain over the research and development of new non-strategic and low-yield nuclear weapons. Commitments need to be renewed to ban developments of new nuclear weapon systems.

2. The principle of irreversibility should be applied to all unilateral, bilateral and multilateral nuclear disarmaments. The nuclear-weapon States should ensure that irreversibility would apply also to their existing measures in removing the warheads from the nuclear weapon systems.

3. Effective steps should be taken to lower the operational status of nuclear weapons to reduce nuclear war. Consequently, there should be a commitment to revise nuclear doctrines, policies and postures to reflect such lowered operational status.

4. Development of national missile defense systems would instigate new arms race in outer space and should be avoided. Fresh efforts should be made within the CD to negotiate the arrangements to prevent arms race in outer space. In the meantime the nuclear-weapon States should make a commitment in this Conference to make every effort to prevent such an arms race.

5. Unilateral nuclear disarmament measures should be pursued vigorously and go well beyond removing warheads from deployment.

6. Submission of more detailed information, inter alga, on the total current numbers of nuclear weapons, the numbers and yield of their warheads, the plan for the deployment and development of missile defense, and the inventories of fissile materials for weapon purposes, are expected from the nuclear-weapon States as a confidence building measure and transparency.

7. The negotiation on a verifiable fissile material cut off treaty needs to be started at the CD within its overall program of work....

The 2000 Review Conference, under the Chapter on "Article VII" of its Final Document reaffirmed that total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, and agreed that legally binding security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT strengthen the non-proliferation regime, and called upon the Preparatory Committee to make recommendations about it to the 2005 Review Conference.

We regret that the Preparatory Committee was disabled from producing such recommendations. It is abhorrent that during the same period, the dangerous doctrine of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states and threats were officially proclaimed by the United States and NATO.

Therefore, we propose that the Conference would establish an AD-Hoc Committee to work on a draft legally binding instrument on providing security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty, and to submit the draft of the legal instrument to the next Review Conference for its consideration and adoption.

As a first step to address the twin issues of illegality of use and NSA, we believe that as suggested by the NGO community this conference should adopt a decision through which the Conference "decides that the threat or use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States shall be prohibited."

Mr. President,

The inalienable right of the States to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes emanates from the universally accepted proposition that scientific and technological achievements are the common heritage of mankind. Nuclear technology has been recognized as a source of energy and a viable option within the sustainable development policies with broad applications in the field of food and agriculture, human health, power generation and industry, water resource management and environment. The promotion of the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes has been, therefore, one of the main pillars of the NPT and the main statutory objective of the IAEA.

It is unacceptable that some tend to limit the access to peaceful nuclear technology to an exclusive club of technologically advanced States under the pretext of non-proliferation. This attitude is in clear violation of the letter and spirit of the Treaty and destroys the fundamental balance which exists between the rights and obligations in the Treaty. The Treaty itself has clearly rejected this attempt in its Article IV by emphasizing that "nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

Let me make it absolutely clear that arbitrary and self-serving criteria and thresholds regarding proliferation-proof and proliferation-prone technologies and countries can and will only undermine the Treaty. Iran, for its part, is determined to pursue all legal areas of nuclear technology, including enrichment, exclusively for peaceful purposes and has been eager to offer assurances and guarantees that they remain permanently peaceful. But, no one should be under the illusion that objective guarantees can theoretically or practically amount to cessation or even long term suspension of legal activity which have been and will be carried out under the fullest and most intrusive IAEA supervision. Cessation of legal activity is no objective guarantee against so-called break-out; it is indeed a historically tested recipe for one....

This conference would be succeeded if we act together and focus our efforts towards major issues of high importance. Non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use are the pillars of the Treaty. The international community has lent this responsibility to each of us to preserve the integrity of the Treaty and promote its implementation. This would be achieved if we take appropriate decisions on:

1. Concrete steps towards ensuring universality of the NPT;

2. Realization of the commitment by Nuclear Weapons States not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Non-Nuclear Weapons States parties to the Treaty through concluding a legally binding instrument;

3. Ensure and promote the basic rights of states parties to unhindered access to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes without discrimination;

4. Reconfirm the undertakings by Nuclear-Weapon States to implement 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament;...