Statement on Iran to the November 2016 IAEA Board of Govenors Meeting, as delivered by U.S. Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate

November 17, 2016

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr. Chairman,

The United States extends its appreciation to the Director General for his November 9 report on Iran’s implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  We commend the DG, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, and their staff, for the continued professionalism in carrying out their responsibilities in Iran.  We welcome the Director General’s confirmation that the IAEA continues to verify and monitor Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments.

The Agency’s continued verification and monitoring of Iran’s detailed, technical, and comprehensive JCPOA commitments provides the basis for international assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.  In order to maintain such assurance, Iran must strictly adhere to all commitments and technical measures for their duration.  In this regard, we note with concern Iran’s accumulation of heavy water in excess of the limit set forth in the JCPOA of 130 metric tons.  We welcome the Secretariat’s update on Iran’s plan to remedy this issue by removing sufficient heavy water in order to bring its stockpile well beneath this limit.  We urge Iran to complete without delay its plan to resolve this issue.  Nothing short of full implementation will assure the international community that Iran continues to uphold its commitments.

Mr. Chairman,

We have noted Iran’s notification to member states that Iran is making available heavy water for sale.  Such a step alone does not fulfill Iran’s JCPOA commitments.  Iran has a JCPOA commitment to not accumulate heavy water beyond the needs set forth in the agreement.  Any excess heavy water cannot remain in Iran.  As the JCPOA clearly states, if Iran seeks to remain under the cap by “making available” excess heavy water for sale, such heavy water must also be “delivered to the international buyer.”  Simply notifying states that this heavy water is for sale without removing it from Iran does not fulfill this JCPOA commitment.

We welcome the Director General’s report that the IAEA continues to evaluate the initial declarations submitted by Iran under the Additional Protocol, and to conduct complementary accesses to sites and other locations in Iran.  The transparency and verification measures contained in the JCPOA supplement and enhance the Agency’s existing authorities under Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, but do not replace them.  Should any new nuclear concerns arise in Iran, the IAEA maintains its full safeguards-related authorities to investigate them.  Any new and credible concerns of undeclared nuclear activities can and must be pursued by the IAEA, and we have full confidence the Agency would do so appropriately.

The United States greatly appreciates the characteristic professionalism of the Director General’s reports under this agenda item.  The Director General’s reports and briefings provide the detail needed to allow the Board of Governors and the JCPOA participants to accurately assess Iran’s implementation of its commitments, and have strengthened the foundation of verification on which the JCPOA rests.  We welcome this approach based on longstanding precedent, and expect it will continue in the future.

The issues discussed in the Director General’s report underscore the importance of robust and sustained IAEA efforts to fulfil its monitoring role on the ground – efforts that require appropriate resources.  The United States remains committed to working with all Member States to ensure the Agency has the resources necessary to carry out its important responsibilities in Iran through the full duration of the JCPOA.  We welcome the numerous pledges of financial support for the IAEA’s efforts, as well as the integration of appropriate JCPOA monitoring and verification costs within the regular budget.  New responsibilities in Iran must remain funded in a sustainable manner, and without detracting from the Agency’s other essential tasks globally in safeguards, security, safety, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

For this reason, we are pleased to announce today a new pledge of one million dollars for JCPOA monitoring and verification efforts in Iran.  We urge all Board members to continue their financial support for the IAEA’s critical responsibilities in Iran, which will remain a high priority for the Agency for many years to come.

With these comments, the United States takes note of the Director General’s report contained in document GOV/2016/55, and requests that the report be made public.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.