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France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States thank Director General Grossi for his report on the implementation of safeguards in Iran contained in GOV/2023/43.
We welcome the statement made by Denmark on behalf of a group of 63 States, to which I will add separate remarks on behalf of our four countries. We fully support and commend the DG and the Secretariat for their professional, independent and impartial verification of Iran’s safeguards obligations. We commend their repeated efforts to engage Iran to clarify information concerning the correctness and completeness of its declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement. The IAEA should continue to evaluate all safeguards-relevant information available, in line with its mandate and standard practice.
It has been more than four years since the IAEA raised questions regarding possible undeclared nuclear material at a number of undeclared locations in Iran. The Board has adopted three resolutions in reaction to Iran’s persistent lack of substantive cooperation, most recently in November 2022, when the Board decided that it is “essential and urgent”, that Iran act to fulfil its legal obligations and clarify all outstanding safeguards issues without delay.
On March 4 2023, Iran made commitments to the Agency regarding the outstanding safeguards issues and Agency verification and monitoring activities. We recall that this Joint Statement was agreed in the context of Iran’s continued escalation of its nuclear program, as demonstrated by the detection of uranium enriched at 83.7%. This constituted an extremely grave development, and further strengthened the view that there is no credible civilian justification for Iran’s nuclear programme.
As the DG has reported in the clearest terms, there has been no progress whatsoever both on outstanding safeguards issues and on verification and monitoring activities since the last Board. Instead, Iran persists in its deliberate refusal to engage earnestly with the Agency.
On outstanding safeguards issues, we note that Iran has still not addressed the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin found by the Agency in Turquzabad and Varamin. As clearly requested by the Agency, Iran needs to provide, without further delay, technically credible information on the current location(s) of nuclear material and contaminated equipment in relation to Turquzabad and Varamin.
We note that the Agency’s assessment of the activities undertaken in Marivan remains as set out previously: that Iran conducted explosive experiments in preparation for the use of neutron detectors at this site. This is a stark reminder of why we need to continue to demand full transparency from Iran on all outstanding safeguards issues.
Unless and until Iran provides technically credible explanations in response to the Agency’s outstanding questions, as reiterated in the November 2022 Resolution, the Agency will not be able to confirm the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement or provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. Such assurances are critical for the international community and the international non-proliferation regime.
In addition, we note that the Agency still awaits resolution of the discrepancy, detected more than a year ago, between the amount of natural uranium from Jaber Ibn Hayan Laboratory declared by Iran and the amount verified by the Agency. The Agency considers Iran’s accountancy “not to be based on scientific grounds, and therefore, not acceptable”. We call upon Iran to engage the Agency to explain the shortfall of nuclear material and demonstrate ‘valid and technically sound measurement results’. It is worth recalling that this material is related to a previous safeguards site of concern – LavisanShian.
Finally, we once again recall that implementation of modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement is a legal obligation for Iran which cannot be modified or stopped unilaterally. Iran has announced the locations of new nuclear facilities and the Agency has asked Iran to provide required preliminary design information. Iran must respond to these requests imminently. Iran is the only state with significant nuclear activities implementing a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement but not modified Code 3.1.
We note with regret that there has been no progress in implementing the 4th March Joint Statement, despite the Agency’s request to install additional cameras and for access to data on cameras previously installed. We urge Iran to allow the Agency to install all cameras it deems necessary, provide the Agency with access to all existing recorded data, and agree specific arrangements to fill the gaps in the Agency’s knowledge for the periods during which recorded data does not exist.
Furthermore, we note the de-designation of experienced Agency inspectors and denial of visas for Agency officials dealing with Iran during this period – which runs counter to the co-operative relationship that should prevail between Iran and the Agency. These actions undermine the Agency’s ability to carry out its safeguards mandate. We urge Iran to fully facilitate the implementation of the Agency’s safeguards verification activities. The Board will monitor this closely. Furthermore, the recent attempts at intimidation by Iran, aimed at discouraging Board members from raising their concerns at Board meetings are unacceptable. It is the legitimate right of Board members to participate in the debate on all agenda items as they see fit as set out by the Board of Governors’ Rules of procedure.
Iran cannot continue to fail to meet its legal safeguards obligations. We urge Iran to act without delay to clarify and resolve all outstanding issues. The Director General has made clear asks in his report and requested engagement from Iran. The November 2022 Resolution makes clear the Board’s requirements of Iran. Iran must urgently deliver both sets of requirements.
If Iran fails to implement the essential and urgent actions contained in the November 2022 Resolution and the 4th March Joint Statement in full, the Board will have to be prepared to take further action in support of the Secretariat to hold Iran accountable in the future, including the possibility of a resolution.
We reiterate that, should Iran clarify all outstanding issues and enable the IAEA Director General to confirm that these issues have been duly addressed, we will not deem further reports on developments necessary. We would like to thank the IAEA for their impartial and professional work on this issue. We encourage the Director General to continue reporting to the Board of Governors and welcome making the report contained in GOV/2023/43 public, in line with long-standing practice.
Thank you, Chair.