The second EU-Iran High-level Seminar on “International Nuclear Cooperation: Progress and Prospects,” held in Isfahan from 21-22 November 2017, is the second such seminar held on the basis of a joint initiative of Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi last year.
The EU and Iran had successfully held a first high-level seminar on 'International Nuclear Cooperation: Expectations and Responsibilities' in Brussels on 28 February and 1 March 2017.
This week's seminar provided a platform for follow-up of the previous seminar, including fruitful high level exchanges on how to advance peaceful nuclear cooperation, as foreseen under Annex III of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which makes a major contribution to the successful implementation of the JCPOA.
Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi expressed his appreciation of the progress achieved so far, which opens a new chapter in nuclear cooperation under Annex III of the JCPOA between the EU and Islamic Republic of Iran.
Senior Iranian participants included Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi and deputy for international, legal and parliamentary affairs of the AEOI, Behrouz Kamalvandi, and prominent parliamentarians while participants from the EU included Helga Schmid, Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Dominique Ristori, Director General of DG ENER, Stefano Manservisi, Director General of DG DEVCO, as well as Patrick Child, Deputy Director General of DG RTD and a representative of DG JRC.
Other participants included representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, some E3+3 countries, as well as a number of scientists and engineers.
The EU stressed that it remains fully committed to the full implementation of the JCPOA. The EU views the full and sincere implementation of the JCPOA`s Annex III as an essential element for long-term sustainability of the agreement. The JCPOA also paves the way for enlarged partnership across a number of areas such as energy and climate, culture, trade, investment and agriculture. The discussions during the seminar provided ample examples of the growing cooperation between the EU and Iran in the civil nuclear area such as the previous week's visits of a high-ranking delegation of Iranians scientists to the EU Joint Research Centre.
The seminar provided an opportunity for a detailed review of the latest developments in the area of nuclear governance, including nuclear safety, the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, as well as nuclear liability. It also reinforced both sides' clear understanding that international nuclear co-operation and nuclear governance are important elements which should be developed in parallel in order to optimize benefits for all sides.
Both sides agreed to continue deepening their cooperation in further developing the safe use of nuclear energy, and the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. In this regard, the EU notes recent progress, in particular the submission of the bill of accession to the Joint Convention of Spent Fuel Management and Nuclear Waste Management to the Majlis (Islamic consultative Assembly).
A number of cooperation projects are already being implemented such as support for Iran's nuclear regulatory authority, INRA, support for Bushehr stress tests, joint R&D activities and the carrying out of a feasibility study on the establishment of a Nuclear Safety Centre in Iran.
The EU is fully supportive of facilitating scientific cooperation in the framework of the EU's research and innovation program, Horizon 2020, and the Euratom Research and Training Programme. A roadmap on nuclear R&D cooperation was agreed and endorsed during the seminar.
Both sides expressed their satisfaction at the impressive progress achieved so far in the areas of nuclear co-operation and governance. They agreed to hold a follow-up high- level seminar to be organized by the EU before the end of 2018. They also agreed to organize other joint activities, including a workshop on nuclear liability and insurance.