Remarks by Russian Governor of the IAEA Board of Governors and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at International Organisations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov on the motives behind the vote on the Board’s draft resolution on the NPT Safeguards

June 19, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Esteemed Madam Chairperson and esteemed colleagues,

Everyone knows one of the main principles of medical ethics: “Do no harm.” This is certainly applicable to the IAEA safeguards activities. Safeguards are designed to enhance nuclear non-proliferation, not the other way around.

We have noted important changes in the draft resolution submitted by Britain, Germany and France and we are grateful to them for taking into account a number of Russian remarks. At the same time, a comprehensive and meticulous analysis of the situation led us to the conclusion that the adoption of any Board resolution on this issue will not produce a positive result. On the contrary, the situation is very likely to deteriorate further.

We believe that Iran and the Secretariat have made definite progress on the access issue. To reach a positive result, the Agency and Tehran should continue their dialogue in line with standard practice and with due consideration for the parties’ concerns. Iran has definitely confirmed that it intends to meet the requests of the Secretariat, but to adopt a positive decision it needs to clear up certain issues. This is not unusual. In these conditions, there is no need for the Board to interfere in this sensitive matter. It is simply counterproductive and could lead to consequences that will be the exact opposite of declared intentions.

The tensions that have arisen around the issue of access in this specific case appear to be out of line because this does not create even the smallest risk of proliferation. If Iran conducted undeclared activities with small quantities of nuclear materials on the sites that the Secretariat wants to visit, it stopped them itself 16 or 17 years ago. There are no signs at all that Iran is conducting undeclared nuclear activities on these sites now. As IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards Massimo Aparo confirmed at the June 10 technical briefing, the Agency has no other questions. In other words, it is now only necessary to confirm whether Iran’s declaration covers all aspects in full. This poses no threat to the safeguards system, not to mention international peace and security, and must be settled in a calm, professional and non-confrontational manner during the continuing dialogue between the IAEA Secretariat and Tehran.

It is for these reasons that the Russian delegation voted against the resolution.

Thank you for your attention, Madame Chairperson.