KUWAIT, 16th February, 2016 (WAM) — The International Atomic Energy Agency can provide nuclear technology to Kuwait, and the rest of the Gulf countries, to improve the way they treat diseases, better use of water resources, and help monitor the sea environment, the IAEA chief has said.

Nuclear technology, which is totally different than nuclear power generation, can help diagnose and treat cancer, Director-General, Yukiya Amano, said when explaining one of the uses of this technology.

Amano, in an interview with the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, recalled that IAEA helped western African countries diagnose the Ebola virus and was now working on detecting the Zika virus. “We help in reducing the population of mosquitos that transmit Zika virus,” he added.

The IAEA can also help Kuwait and Gulf states, to have a better understanding of their underground water resources, he noted. “I have seen a lot of drip irrigation,” added Amano, “and by using nuclear technology we can better understand the behavior of water, and thus better use it.”

Sea water is also very important for the Gulf countries, said Amano, who noted that they have teams specialised in what he called ocean environment who can help “monitor the sea environment through nuclear technology.” Amano said that Gulf countries “need nuclear technology to help their nationals, (treat) cancer, (better use of) water, protect sea water, but in order to do that countries in the region should cooperate, and IAEA can provide technology unilaterally and collectively.” As for Kuwait, he said, “We would like to know what you need, and if you decide we can tell how we can help. This type of cooperation is very much needed.

“We would like to contribute to a better life by nuclear technology,” said Amano.

Amano, meanwhile, said that the IAEA could help the regional countries with the proper use of the nuclear power only if they decided to build nuclear power stations, “but safety must come first.” Amano was in Kuwait yesterday where he took part in a seminar, co-organised by Kuwait and the Vienna-based IAEA, on nuclear applications for sustainable development in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Asked about the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 Group that was agreed upon in July 2015, Amano said that IAEA had been monitoring the preparatory steps by Iran to execute the agreement up until January 18th, the implementation day, when the agency announced that the Islamic Republic was fully abiding by the deal. “We are monitoring and verifying the Iranian commitment related to nuclear activities,” said Amano.

The Iranian nuclear agreement was concluded following marathon negotiations between Tehran and the international community. The agreement curbs Iran’s nuclear capabilities by reducing the number of centrifuges and the country’s stocks of highly enriched uranium. In return, economic sanctions will be lifted. Amano affirmed that enriched uranium and heavy water were shipped out of Iran.

“Implementation (of Iran’s nuclear deal) is taking place well, but we need to work very hard to see everything been done properly,” said Amano.

Amano was asked about the safety of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, which was overlooking the Arabian Gulf Sea, and said he was discussing the issue with governments of Iran and the GCC, the latter already expressing concern over the safety of the reactor.

“I take it very seriously that Gulf states are concerned about the safety of Bushehr,” he underlined. “It is very important for Iran to know we are ready to cooperate to enhance the safety of Bushehr,” he said.

With the concern regarding proliferation of nuclear weapons, Amano said the IAEA was supporting the creation of a nuclear weapons’ free zone in the Middle East, a request that has been repeatedly tabled by the Arab group to the IAEA, but failed to win enough support.

“IAEA is a technical organisation working in a very political environment,” explained Amano.

On North Korea’s recent rocket launch, Amano called on Pyongyang to implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions, saying that the state should not conduct nuclear tests nor launch missiles.

North Korea asked IAEA inspectors to leave the country in 2009, but the organisation maintained the capacity to monitor the country’s nuclear activities. Amano said that North Korea was not an IAEA member but it was obliged to implement the organisation’s safeguards with regards to nuclear activities.

WAM/tfaham/Moran