Mr. Paul Leventhal
Nuclear Control Institute
1000 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 804
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Leventhal,
Thank you for your fax of June 24 1998. As you might have presumed I had already seen your "letter to the editor" in the Washington Post and had, together with Mr. Garry Dillon, considered your concerns.
Firstly, you should be aware that in the context of its verification activities the IAEA does not take any member state "at its word". Verification is based on evidence and not upon trust and nowhere is that principle more vigorously applied than in Iraq. The IAEA has never accepted Iraq's declarations at face value and has always sought verification through, for example, Iraqi documentation, supplier state information and as necessary excavation of burial sites involved in Iraq's unilateral destruction activities.
Secondly, your reference to "more passive environmental monitoring" is incorrect. The IAEA's ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) activities in Iraq are far from passive. They are very wide- ranging, are highly intrusive and benefit from the same unlimited rights of access that are associated with our "disarmament" activities in Iraq, OMV employs all of the technologies used in the disarmament activities and wide-area environmental monitoring is but one of those technologies. Implementation of the OMV not only addresses the obvious need to monitor Iraq's use of its known assets but also gives at least equal stress to the vital need to continue to search actively for clandestine assets through the follow-up of available information, the pre-emptive inspection of hitherto un-inspected sites and through a comprehensive wide- area monitoring programme. The risk from Iraq lies not in the past, but in the present and the future. Protection from such risks is the function of OMV.
Thirdly, the IAEA's fifth consolidated progress report did not conclude that "Iraq's most recent accounting of its nuclear programme is 'full, final and complete". The progress report simply records that Iraq had satisfactorily completed the purely editorial task of producing a consolidated version of its FFCD which incorporated into one document all of the additions and revisions that had been made to Iraq's September 1996 version of the declaration resulting from its discussions with the IAEA Action Team. However, paragraph 79 of the IAEA's fourth consolidated progress report did contain the following statement.
"Mere are no indications of significant discrepancies between the technically coherent picture which has evolved of Iraq's past programme and the information contained in Iraq's FFCD-F issued on 7 September 1996 as supplemented by the written revisions and additions provided by Iraq since that time. However, taking into account the possibility, albeit remote, of undetected duplicate facilities or the existence of anomalous activities or facilities outside this technically coherent picture, no absolute assurances can be given with regard to the completeness of Iraq's FFCD. Some uncertainty is inevitable in any country-wide technical verification process which aims to prove the absence of readily concealable objects or activities. The extent to which such uncertainty is acceptable is a policy judgement.''
I do not propose to address the five specific points that you raised save to say that some of them remain to be "work in progress" and are already scheduled to be raised again when Mr. Dillon meets with the Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad next week.
In conclusion, please be assured that the IAEA is not unaware of your fundamental concerns as evidenced by the attached abstracts from our October 1997 and April 1998 progress reports to the Security Council.