Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s Remarks to the Media at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference (Excerpts)

October 20, 2017

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be attending the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference (MNC). I see many familiar faces here in the audience – my diplomat colleagues, other representatives of foreign states, as well as the past and incumbent heads of international organisations who are involved in nonproliferation. Thank you all for attending this event, which we regard as a very important one. 


On July 1, 2018, we will mark 50 years since the opening for signature of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the main pillar of the modern system of international security. Regrettably, we must admit that the regime, which was created in keeping with this document and which provided the legal framework for a number of other vital agreements, has entered a difficult period and has been subjected to serious trials.

One of the main explanations for this is that some countries have put in question the universal norms and rules and are seeking to use selfishly the achievements that were made through collective efforts and compromises.


We are watching with alarm the insistent attempts to misuse the resources of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to turn it into a tool of political pressure or a system for rechecking intelligence data, to expand its mandate to include functions not linked with the Agency’s official goals and tasks, forcing the Agency to check nuclear disarmament as well as military activities not linked with nuclear materials.

We operate on the premise that the IAEA, acting as a drive belt for the non-proliferation regime, should remain a professional technical mechanism for verifying commitments regarding guarantees and, in addition, play a central role in coordinating international cooperation in the field of physical nuclear security (PNS), which should be voluntary and not lead to disclosure of sensitive information. The states must be responsible for ensuring PNS within their territories, including determining appropriate parameters for national systems and security measures.

For our part, we will work to ensure that the agency's safeguard system remains objective, depoliticised and substantiated, and that it is based on international law and promotes the consolidation of common achievements, such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear programme. The IAEA, the only agency authorised by the UN Security Council, carries out regular inspections in Iran and confirms its strict compliance with its obligations. We hope that we will be able to jointly preserve and fully uncover the unique potential of this Action Plan. In any case, returning to the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme that existed prior to the adoption of the JCPOA is impossible. There can be no question about restoring the UN Security Council sanctions.

Clearly, the failure of the JCPOA, especially through the fault of one of its most active participants and, in fact, the leader of the P5+1, would be a warning sign for the entire international security architecture, including the prospects for settling the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula (NPKP). Its resolution calls for vigorous diplomatic efforts. The main task at the current stage is to prevent a military conflict, which would inevitably lead to a major humanitarian, economic and environmental disaster. All parties involved should exercise restraint. As a reminder, every UN Security Council resolution that was adopted on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, in addition to sanctions, contains provisions about the need to resume talks. There is no alternative to diplomatic methods for settling the NPKP through dialogue between all interested parties.


Question: I believe everyone here agrees with you that the nuclear deal on Iran must be preserved. One related threat has to do with the verification of the so-called Section T. Does it make sense to strengthen the IAEA mandate with regard to verification of Section T?

Sergey Lavrov: It [is] impossible to strengthen what does not exist. The IAEA has no mandate to verify Section T. This reflects the consensus that was reached at the six-party talks with Iran with the participation of the EU and that was unanimously enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. I act on the premise that changes to any part of this consensus require the consent of all six members plus, of course, Iran. I am convinced – as our European colleagues are – that any attempts to begin this conversation may bury the most important agreement in the sphere of strategic stability and nuclear non-proliferation.