IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 5c: NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran

March 9, 2023

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

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Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States appreciates the Director General’s recent report, and the continued professional and impartial efforts of the Director General and the Secretariat to implement Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. In particular, we note the DG’s intensive engagement with Iran related to undeclared locations in Iran where the Agency has detected the presence of nuclear material, and the need for Iran to provide required clarifications necessary to resolve the Agency’s questions. As we have made clear, these questions relate to Iran’s NPT-required safeguards agreement, and Iran’s requirement to provide such clarifications to the Agency is a legal obligation separate from its JCPOA commitments.

In June 2020, following Iran’s initial refusal to provide the IAEA required access to two of the locations in question, the Board adopted a resolution calling on Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA without further delay. Unfortunately, significant concerns relating to Iran’s safeguards obligations remain unresolved after more than two years because of Iran’s lack of substantive engagement. The Director General’s report highlights that while questions related to Location 2 may be considered no longer outstanding at this stage, Iran has not provided answers regarding past uranium metal work or clarified the current location of the nuclear material. The Director General concludes that the activities and nuclear material were not declared by Iran as required under its Safeguards Agreement, adding to the legacy of past Iranian safeguards failures.

As the Director General has previously reported, Iran’s lack of technically credible engagement has prevented progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations. Iran’s failure to provide required clarifications is seriously affecting the ability of the Agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, the core assurance that we rely on the Agency to provide.

Mr. Chair,

We welcome the March 5 Joint Statement by the Director General and Iranian Vice-President and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran for the clarification of these critical safeguards issues. The commitments in the Joint Statement must lead to concrete actions and substantive engagement by Iran, which, on too many occasions in the past, has failed to deliver on promises to cooperate. Iran must finally take the opportunity presented by the Joint Statement to promptly provide the Agency with the necessary written explanations and related supporting documents, including the required clarifications, so that the outstanding safeguards issues can be clarified and resolved. As the Director General has stated publicly, “the only way these issues go away is if they are clarified to the full satisfaction of the IAEA.”

Mr. Chair,

We remain deeply concerned by the Director General’s reports that since February 2021 Iran has stopped implementing its Additional Protocol. This significantly impacts the ability of the Agency to provide credible assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. We also remain seriously concerned by Iran’s decision to stop implementing modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, contrary to its legal obligations. We reiterate that modified Code 3.1 is legally binding on Iran and cannot be unilaterally modified or suspended.

As we have long made clear, the Board has a responsibility to support the Director General and the Secretariat in their efforts to maintain the effectiveness of the international safeguards system. The JCPOA does not, cannot, and will not absolve Iran of its responsibilities under its NPT Safeguards Agreement. Let us be clear here again today, Iran must provide the required cooperation without further delay, and these issues must be fully and appropriately resolved in accordance with Iran’s safeguards obligations. Otherwise, they will remain an outstanding concern for this Board. Only Iran can provide the information needed to resolve these issues. As we look forward to marking a new era on these issues, we also look to the Director General’s continued reporting toward the full resolution of these important matters.

With these comments, the United States takes note of the Director General’s report on implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement with Iran contained in document GOV/2022/5 and requests that it be made public, consistent with longstanding practice.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.