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Iran: Nuclear Power

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the next report of the Director-General on Iran's co-operation under the August 2007 Work Plan is due; and if he will make a statement. (174176)

We expect that the next report from the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohammed El Baradei, on Iran's co-operation with the agency under the Work Plan, will be released before the IAEA board in March 2008.

If Iran implements the Work Plan in full, it will be a step towards restoring trust in Iran's nuclear intentions. But addressing the outstanding issues is only one of the steps the international community requires Iran to take in order to restore confidence in its intentions. Iran needs to suspend enrichment, enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, as requested by the IAEA Board of Governors and required by UN Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, and 1747. Iran also needs to implement fully the additional protocol and additional measures that the IAEA has requested. Until Iran meets these obligations we will continue to follow the dual track strategy agreed with our partners in the “E3+3” (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States), and to discuss further measures aimed at persuading Iran to fulfil all its international obligations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the proliferation risk posed by Iran’s heavy water nuclear research reactor at Arak; and when the reactor is expected to be operational. (174178)

We are concerned about the proliferation risk that would be posed if Iran completes construction of a heavy water reactor. This type of reactor is particularly well suited for producing plutonium, which could be reprocessed and used in a nuclear weapon. This is reflected by the demands in UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747, which require that Iran suspends work on heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly reported that construction of the reactor has nevertheless been continuing. The February 2006 IAEA Director-General’s report noted the Iranians saying that the commissioning date for the reactor was likely to be postponed until 2011.