Statement by Dr. Salehi, at the 63rd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency

September 16, 2019

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Madam President,

Acting Director-General,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to join you, here today, at the 63rd General Conference of the Agency. I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you, Madam President, on your election. Let me also pay tribute to the late Director General, Mr. Yukiya Amano for his prudent leadership over the past years and express our heartfelt condolences for his passing away.

Madam President,

At this critical point in time for multilateralism, this session of the General Conference is a unique opportunity to explore the challenges and locate our own places in addressing them. Considering the time-limit, I would like to confine myself to some salient issues, and draw the attention of the distinguished audience to my written statement which will be released afterwards.

The Islamic Republic of Iran holds sensible objectives for expansion of its peaceful nuclear program and application of nuclear technology in the fields of power generation, health and agriculture and has made reasonable success and progress in this regard. Based on its vast capacities, especially its young and highly talented scientists, Iran welcomes engagement with technologically interested partners.

Nuclear safety has always been one of our highest priorities. All safety measures of our nuclear facilities including Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) have been meticulously observed under strict supervision of Iran Nuclear Regulatory Authority. Last year, the OSART mission conducted an in-depth review of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant with an acceptable conclusion.

The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the responsibility of nuclear safety and security rests entirely with Member States and the measures and initiatives aimed at their strengthening must not be used as a pretext or leverage to violate, deny or restrict the inalienable rights of developing countries to research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

Iran has made progress in establishing a nuclear safety center as a technical support organization of its regulatory body that would be equipped with modern technologies and equipment through cooperation with the EU. Iran is closely monitoring and reviewing the progress in the domain of nuclear conventions and our Parliament recently ratified the accession bill to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the safety of Radioactive Waste Management, which will be completed upon its final approval.

Iran puts emphasis on establishing regional networks as to enhance nuclear safety and address emergency situations and by relying on its vast experience, knowledge and capabilities, express its readiness for joint cooperation with all the regional countries.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to provide optimum security for its nuclear facilities and material and recently hosted an Interregional Workshop on Introduction to Nuclear Security Detection Architecture, in cooperation with the IAEA in July 2019.

Madam President,

On the top, allow me to elaborate on the current status of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There is a broad agreement among the international community that the JCPOA is a real turning point in the history of multilateralism as an important international achievement.

Against lifting of nuclear related sanctions, Iran has accepted some provisional limitations on its nuclear program and provided unprecedented level of monitoring and access to the IAEA in the context of new commitments under the Additional Protocol and the JCPOA itself. In this regard, it is noteworthy that with only 3% of worldwide nuclear facilities, Iran has provided almost 20% of all Agency accesses.

At the same time, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always made it clear that acquiring, producing, stockpiling, and eventually the use of weapons of mass-destruction is neither legitimate under religious principles nor envisaged in Iran’s defense doctrine;

Amidst such an unprecedented record of verification and transparency in the history of the IAEA, and the principled position of Iran on nuclear weapons, the nuclear deal has been called by the US administration, the worst of the deals in the history of that country. It is noteworthy that the US itself has developed all categories of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, even used it against others, and in its Nuclear Posture Review threatens specific countries with use of such weapons.

Although the deal has been praised as an outstanding achievement of years of diplomatic efforts, respective states have failed to go beyond expressing regret for the violation of the UNSC Resolution 2231 by the US administration.

The outcome of the deal for us has now turned into inhumane and illegal sanctions against our trade, economy and foreign investments in clear contradiction with the provisions of the JCPOA and the UNSC Resolution. Unfortunately, such sanctions have also affected areas such as food, medicine, radiopharmaceutical products, and even Iran’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA). 

It should be emphasized that the JCPOA as a multilateral deal, encompasses rights and responsibilities for all parties, therefore, implementation of this deal by only one party is not a legitimate expectation, nor a practical possibility. I would like to ask the awakening conscience of the esteemed audience here; that having such an extensive cooperation with the Agency beyond the standard obligations under the CSA, and also having fully implemented our commitments under the nuclear deal without reaping its benefits, is it still fair for Iran to continue to implement the deal only at its own expense? what should then have been our fair and just reaction? Nevertheless, after the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, Iran has shown strategic patience for more than a year, to allow the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their commitments, including compensation of the effects of this withdrawal.

While respecting all good offices made so far by several countries with a view to save the JCPOA, unfortunately, we are still far from realizing the basic objectives of the deal and meeting the legitimate demands of Iran. Hence, there was no option for Iran other than resorting to the relevant provisions of the JCPOA to cease partially its commitments in order to provide a new window for diplomacy to preserve the deal. 

It should be noted that Iran’s partial cessation of its commitments is reversible in case of full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by the remaining parties to the deal.

I would like to highlight that the preservation of the JCPOA is a common responsibility of all members of the international community. If the international community fails to save the JCPOA promptly, multilateralism will lose its effectiveness, and any further peaceful resolution of the conflicts will be challenged, which will consequently serve the malign interest of war-mongers.    

Madam President,

We reiterate our conviction that the only remedy for international nuclear security lies within nuclear disarmament. We call for full implementation of Article VI of NPT and express our concern that not only the nuclear weapon States stand firm on retaining their arsenals and delivery systems, but also some of them actively pursue to modernize and even threaten to use them. This environment creates a disparity between rights and obligations of non-nuclear weapon States with those of nuclear weapon States, which is against the provisions of NPT. 

Establishment of the Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone is a necessity for international peace and security and is a global demand. However, the Israeli Regime and its illegal and illegitimate nuclear weapons program has been the main obstacle in this regard. We call for the IAEA to take urgent action and address this blatant violation of non-proliferation regime and the only obstacle for establishment of the Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone. 

To conclude, Madam President, the act of violation of the UN-Security Council resolution, and the imposition of unilateral unlawful sanctions as well as the application of extra-territorial national laws to other countries by the US, certainly endangers the international peace and security.

To bring back order to the current chaotic situation which multilateralism is facing, our individual or collective efforts should be directed at not only accomplishing new achievements, but also preserving the old hard fought ones as well. To this end, the destructive behavior of the US administration and the economic terrorism pursued by it against other countries should be condemned and rejected by the entire international community.


I thank you Madam President.