An official website of the United States government

Ambassador Kennedy: Comments on Presentations by Iran and North Korea at Conference on Disarmament
February 28, 2012

Statement of Ambassador Kennedy to the Conference of Disarmament

Mr. President,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on several of the presentations we heard today.  With regard to the statement made by the representative of the DPRK, the content of his remarks was incorrect and unacceptable.   The record of the DPRK in the military and nuclear field and the response of the international community speaks for itself.  I would also like to express disappointment that such comments were made just a week after senior US envoys engaged with DPRK representatives in Beijing.  I will conclude by echoing the comments just made by RoK Deputy Kim Bong-hyun who expressed the hope that the DPRK will demonstrate its “willingness and sincerity toward denuclearization through concrete actions, thereby creating an appropriate environment for the resumption of talks.”

Let me also address the stated commitment to nuclear disarmament just voiced by FM Salehi which stands in stark contrast to Iran’s failure to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.

Indeed, Iran has moved in the opposite direction by expanding its capacity to enrich uranium to nearly twenty percent and continues to move forward with proscribed enrichment and heavy-water related activities, all in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Iran continues to deny the IAEA and broader international community the transparency and cooperation necessary to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

The November IAEA Director General’s report provided the most detailed account to date of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.  We believe that this report demonstrates that Iran has been deceiving the international community with respect to its nuclear intent and the nature of its program.  The activities in the report taken together can only plausibly be described as building blocks for a nuclear weapons program. Once again, just last week, Iran missed an opportunity to cooperate with the IAEA during the visit to Iran of the IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards.

This is hardly illustrative of a commitment to nuclear disarmament.  Iran’s persistent stonewalling of the IAEA’s investigation of a possible military dimension to its nuclear program is very troubling, and it is incumbent on Iran to provide credible assurance of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.

As we have repeatedly said, we do not dispute Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program.  But with that right come responsibilities.  Iran has a responsibility to address the urgent concerns of the international community.