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Good evening Madam Chair,
The United States would like to extend its appreciation to the Director General (DG), the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, and their staff for their continued dedication and professionalism in carrying out the Agency’s critical responsibilities in Iran. We welcome the Director General’s May 31 report on verification and monitoring in Iran. The DG’s thorough, factual, and timely reporting on this matter remains essential for establishing international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States, in close coordination with our allies and partners, is engaging in diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy and a vital instrument in addressing the international community’s longstanding concerns with Iran’s nuclear program. We are making progress, but much work remains ahead of us. To accomplish this objective, confidence must be rebuilt – in Washington, in Tehran, and elsewhere.
In this context, Iran’s steps to limit the IAEA’s verification and monitoring activities, including under its Additional Protocol, will only make it harder to re-establish pragmatic diplomacy and reach the outcome Iran says it seeks. IAEA verification is a cornerstone to the nonproliferation regime and the foundation on which the JCPOA is built. Iran should not undermine that foundation at the very time we all seek a mutual return to compliance.
We commend Director General and his team for their tireless efforts to engage Tehran on maintaining necessary cooperation, in particular the understandings reached that allow for information to be collected and preserved in Iran that will enable the Agency to maintain continuity of knowledge related to specified JCPOA-related monitoring. We strongly encourage Iran to avoid any action that would prevent the collection of or IAEA access to the information necessary for it to quickly re-establish that continuity of knowledge. Such action would, at a minimum, seriously complicate ongoing efforts to reach an understanding on how Iran can return to compliance with its JCPOA commitments in return for a similar U.S. resumption, and would be inconsistent with Iran’s stated desire for all participants to return to such performance.
As the Director General’s latest report and the numerous interim reports since we last met make clear, Iran continues escalatory steps that exceed the JCPOA’s constraints. In particular, Iran continues installing and operating numbers and types of centrifuges beyond the JCPOA’s limits, producing quantities and enrichment levels of uranium also beyond the JCPOA’s limits, and producing uranium metal. Since this Board last met, Iran has also exceeded JCPOA constraints by enriching uranium to 60 percent U-235.
All of these steps, and Iran’s scaling back of IAEA access, raise significant proliferation concerns. We urge Iran to refrain from taking further steps beyond the JCPOA’s limits and to return to all of its JCPOA commitments, including by allowing the IAEA to have unimpeded access to sites and activities necessary to fulfill its monitoring and verification responsibilities under the JCPOA, and by fully implementing the Additional Protocol. We further urge Iran to join the United States in reaching and implementing an understanding for a mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA.
We have long highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate resources in support of the IAEA’s essential verification and monitoring role in Iran. We welcome the contributions of financial support for these efforts over the past years and were pleased in March to announce another contribution of 600,000 euros to these important efforts, in order to ensure requisite funding into 2022. Our financial support for the IAEA’s efforts reflects the importance we ascribe, now and into the future, to the continued ability of the IAEA to carry out its essential verification work in Iran. It is our sincere hope that achieving a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA will lead to expanded work for the IAEA in resuming the necessary monitoring and verification of Iran’s nuclear-related JCPOA commitments. We will want to join with other Member States to ensure the IAEA has the necessary resources for such work.
With these comments, the United States welcomes the Director General’s report contained in document GOV/2021/28, as well as the Director General’s interim reports contained in GOV/INF/2021 documents numbered 17, 19 – 24, 26 -29, and 31 since his previous quarterly report. We request that these important reports be made public, consistent with longstanding practice, so there may be a clear understanding of the facts reported by the Director General.
Thank you, Madam Chair.