Statement by H.E. Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice-President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran at the 3rd High-level Seminar on International Nuclear Cooperation, Brussels, Monday, 26 November 2018
His Excellency Ristori,
It is such a distinct pleasure for me and my colleagues to join you here at the European Commission for the 3rd high-level seminar on International Nuclear Cooperation between Iran and in EU. Commissioner Cañete’s suggestion back in 2016 in the course of our meeting in Brussels served a worthy purpose and helped lay the foundations of a substantive initiative by which the two sides considered a timely response to the promising ambiance following the achievement of the hard-won nuclear deal. We are grateful to Señor Cañete and his European colleagues for all the preparations for the 3rd Seminar here, including, Ms. Mogherini and her colleagues, as well as the Directorates General for Energy, International Cooperation and Development (ICD), Research and Innovation (RI), and the Joint Research Center (JRC). The two-day event should allow us to take stock of our joint efforts over the past two years and explore and discuss concrete ways and means to move forward with a clear vision and firm steps.
Without any further argument, let me go to the heart of our joint enterprise. As just indicated, what we agreed in principle in 2016, reflected the positive and encouraging ambiance of the time and the need, on both sides, to materialize the achievements of the nuclear deal in the area of nuclear cooperation. Annex III of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reflects the concurrence of minds ensued and the final agreement of the signatories on the approaches and measures was needed to implement the agreement in this important and critical area.
I was a personal witness to how the content of Annex III was discussed – and eventually agreed. All of us know, with vivid memories, what went into that long, difficult process of negotiation and how we managed to agree on the final text. Let me tell you, no easy task at all. But, we made it, and subsequently followed through with what was needed, including the agreement on nuclear cooperation. The very fact that scientists and experts from Iran and EU sit down together to exchange knowledge and expertise in the realm of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is indeed a great achievement in itself. The European Union enjoys a unique status and experience in various fields of peaceful nuclear activity, including nuclear safety, nuclear governance, and nuclear research and development. Within the overall framework of our national approach to peaceful nuclear activity, and as part of our practical policies and measures, we have been keen to establish and expand cooperative efforts in these areas. That’s how and why the exchanges with the European Union were undertaken, and pursued seriously. The good intentions on both sides, coupled with the requisite political will, and supported by working on specific projects and concrete measures, has brought us to this point now.
We are certainly poised to draw on the achievements in the past, and try to take the width, depth and quality of cooperation between us to a higher level. I believe we can do that, and I rest assured, that EU also reciprocates the same feeling and determination.
Let me now turn to the less-rosy part of the bigger picture surrounding the generally fruitful cooperation between Iran and EU on the implementation of JCPOA. That, needless to say, reminds everybody of the American administration’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and their on-going efforts of all sorts to abort and tarnish the implementation of JCPOA, including through exerting pressure on others to follow its selfish and unprincipled line.
The non-constructive approach of the current U.S. administration shows that they, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, show no respect and compliance to the international commitments. Their withdrawal from multilateral or even international treaties comprise a long list including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution 2231.
It is obviously self-evident for the whole international community that these agreements and treaties are all the outcome of long-term and multilateral endeavors to make the world a better place to live and to respect each other. The logic behind the U.S withdrawal from the JCPOA in spite of thirteen consecutive reports by the IAEA that have all confirmed Iran`s compliance to its commitments, seems odd to all independent nations across the board.
Ironically, a permanent member of the UN Security Council is breaching its obligations for the peace and security of the world by denigrating the result of an internationally endorsed agreement through the same Security Council.
My dear colleague, Dr. Araghchi, will have more to say on that in a few minutes.
I would instead try to focus, in broad sense, on the substance of our work here at the 3rd Seminar; that is, how to proceed with our joint efforts towards the actual, effective implementation of the provisions of Annex III, despite ill-wishes by the very few. Looking at the program of the Seminar other than this opening session, gives us a good picture of the width and extensiveness of the state of our cooperation.
Let me just draw attention to a number of specific areas of existing cooperation and the need for a broader context in the future. The current cooperation on the Stress Test of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is currently under way. It is a matter of satisfaction that the European Commission has already concluded the necessary feasibility studies for establishing a nuclear safety center in Iran. Moreover, the mutual scientific visits of facilities in Iran and EU following the 2nd Seminar in Isfahan have served to advance the implementation of the roadmap on cooperation in the area of R&D. Cooperation in holding joint workshops, some already held and some others to be held, in Iran and in the European countries, points to the promising expanding cooperation. The support EU has lent to these activities is very much appreciated on our side.
Despite all these progress we shouldn’t deprive ourselves from opportunities for further cooperation. The Euroatom program has obviously envisioned a vast area of cooperation and we welcome any opportunities for mutual engagements within its framework.
Nuclear safety of our nuclear industry is a priority for us and the latest achievements are therefore of great importance because they will help to further enhance the safety of the entire fuel cycle.
I am sure the EU colleagues here concur with me that concrete progress in the implementation of the provisions of Annex III will serve to strengthen international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran`s nuclear program. And, to be honest with you, such a progress will as well serve to assure Iran of the actual commitment of EU to the embattled nuclear deal.
To conclude, let me just underline, once more, our genuine commitment to the continuation, and preferably, expansion and deepening, of constructive and fruitful engagement with the European Union in the field of ‘international nuclear cooperation.’ Both sides will benefit from such a progress, so will the international community. All of us need to move and act in a manner that would help mitigate genuine international and regional concerns in the field of international peace and security, especially in these turbulent and uncertain times and unprecedented onslaught against the cherished principles of international law and multilateralism. I wish you, Mr. Chairman, and the colleagues, Iranian and European, every success in the course of the two-day Seminar.
Thank you very much.