Thank you, Chair.
I have the honour to speak now on behalf of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
We would like to thank the Director General for his report on safeguards in Iran contained in GOV/2022/63. The report outlines the Agency’s continued efforts and engagement with Iran to clarify information relating to the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement.
We also recall the Director General’s previous reports to the Board of Governors since 2019 on Iran’s safeguards obligations, as well as the resolutions adopted by the Board on these matters contained in documents GOV/2020/34 and GOV/2022/34. The Board’s message in these resolutions was resounding and clear.
Regrettably, the Director General’s latest report once again underscores that Iran still has not provided the substantive co-operation necessary to clarify and resolve outstanding safeguards issues.
Resolving these issues remains central to establishing the international verification assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful. Exercise of the Agency’s authority to provide this assurance is central to the integrity of the NPT safeguards regime. As we have said, the outstanding issues in Iran are not historical – they are integral to the necessary verification assurances that Iran’s declarations are correct and complete.
In June of this year, the Board voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt a resolution calling on Iran to fulfill its legal obligations and engage with the IAEA to clarify and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues without delay. At the September Board meeting, 56 States joined a statement recalling that June resolution, and echoing the Director General’s concern that Iran had still not engaged with the Agency on the outstanding safeguards issues.
Unfortunately, despite the Board’s repeated calls, the Director General’s report makes clear that Iran’s lack of substantive co-operation remains serious and ongoing. The Agency has sought to clarify outstanding safeguards issues since 2019. Iran has been given ample time and opportunities to do so. Over the course of nearly four years, we have seen numerous meetings fail to produce substantive progress from Iran. Recent, last-minute promises from Iran to hold additional meetings in the future, after years of delay and denial, are late and inadequate. Iran must fulfill its safeguards obligations and provide substantive, credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles at undeclared locations.
Given the continued lack of substantive cooperation from Iran, and with sincere regret that Iran has again made it necessary, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States jointly propose to the Board today the new resolution contained in document GOV/2022/68 to support the Secretariat’s effort to resolve these matters.
As in past resolutions, our objective is to uphold our collective responsibility as Board members to ensure that IAEA safeguards and the non-proliferation regime are implemented in a fair and objective manner in Iran and globally. We strongly believe this Board cannot and will not be intimidated by threats from Iran, or others who echo those threats, that mischaracterise the objective of the proposed resolution. The aim of the resolution is to support the Director General’s efforts to finally obtain from Iran the substantive co-operation necessary for the Agency to verify that Iran is meeting the basic undertaking of its NPT Safeguards Agreement.
Our draft submitted for the Board’s consideration has the following main points:
First, the Board would express continued, strong support for the Agency’s professional and impartial efforts in carrying out its mandate in verifying Iran’s safeguards obligations. The Director General and the Secretariat continue to have our full confidence in this regard.
Second, the Board would decide that it is essential and urgent that Iran fulfill its legal obligations and take the specific actions called for by the Director General without delay. The actions include: Iran providing technically credible explanations for the presence of particles of man-made uranium at the three undeclared locations in Iran; informing the Agency of the current locations of the nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment; and providing all information, documentation and accesses the Agency requires to clarify all outstanding safeguards issues. Article 18 of Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement authorises the Board to take this step to ensure verification of the non-diversion of nuclear material. We hope Iran that would appreciate the seriousness of this decision and provide at the planned meeting later this month with the IAEA the substantive cooperation required; Iran should not miss the opportunity that meeting presents to make good on that long-awaited co-operation.
Receiving and verifying technically credible explanations from Iran, including by granting all access requested by the IAEA for this purpose, remains essential for the Agency to report that the issues are no longer outstanding, and for the Agency to be in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.
For the avoidance of doubt about the ultimate outcome we seek, we want to be clear. Once Iran provides the necessary substantive co-operation, and when the IAEA Director General reports that these issues have been duly addressed and are no longer outstanding, we will support removing the need for the Board’s consideration of these issues, including the request for the Director General to report on them. We would very much welcome Iran taking the opportunity before it to bring such an outcome to fruition. Reaching that outcome would be a significant success for Iran, the IAEA, and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Until that point, the Board should request the Director General to report on the implementation of Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement and of this resolution at the earliest appropriate date before the March Board of Governors.
As in the past, Iran has argued that any Board action under this item may undermine our efforts to restore the JCPOA. It is Iran that has undermined these efforts by seeking to politicise its safeguards obligations, and so the Board can support diplomacy by underscoring its absolute support for the Agency in carrying out its vital mandate.
Our delegations have engaged broadly with Board members to explain our thinking, solicit their feedback, and listen to their views on these matters. We thank the overwhelming majority that has already indicated support for this resolution, and would welcome the text being made public, should it be adopted. Thank you.