Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The United States appreciates the continued professional and impartial efforts of the Agency to implement Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. In particular, we commend the Director General for his extensive efforts to engage Iran on the need to clarify and resolve the Agency’s longstanding questions related to the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at three undeclared locations in Iran – Turquzabad, Varamin, and Marivan. Unfortunately, the Director General’s report makes clear that Iran has not provided the substantive cooperation necessary to resolve these serious, outstanding safeguards concerns related to possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
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. Since then, the Agency has provided Iran with numerous opportunities to provide the cooperation necessary to resolve the IAEA’s questions related to the three undeclared locations of concern. Regrettably, the Director General reports that Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the Agency’s findings at those locations. Nor has Iran informed the Agency of the current whereabouts of the nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment that the Agency assessed was moved from Turquzabad in 2018. In addition, the report reiterates that nuclear activities and associated nuclear material at Lavisan-Shian were not declared to the Agency by Iran as required under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.
We are deeply concerned that the Agency has reported that it cannot confirm the correctness or completeness of Iran’s declarations and is not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. Given the length of time that has passed and Iran’s repeated failure to provide credible explanations to the IAEA despite numerous IAEA requests, the Board of Governors has a responsibility to take appropriate action in support of the Director General, the Secretariat, and the international safeguards regime to hold Iran accountable to its safeguards obligations. Iran must cooperate with the IAEA to allow it to fulfill its verification and monitoring mandate without further delay.
To this end, we are co-sponsoring a resolution with our E3 partners calling on Iran to take action on an urgent basis to fulfill its legal obligations. It is essential that Iran provide the IAEA with all information and documents deemed necessary by the IAEA in order to clarify and resolve its questions. Only by providing such information will the Director General be able to conclude that the issues are no longer outstanding, and thereby remove the need for further Board consideration and action. Otherwise, these issues will remain an outstanding concern for the Board. In that regard, we greatly appreciate the Agency’s readiness to continue its engagement with Iran and request the Director General continue reporting on these important matters.
Let me reiterate a point already made in the statement by Germany introducing the resolution we have before us for consideration. We are not taking this action to escalate a confrontation for political purposes. We seek no such escalation. The Director General’s report to this Board was crystal clear about the status of the outstanding issues. Based on that report, it is also clear that Iran’s insufficient cooperation – and the longstanding deficit in verification assurance this has created – requires us all to act. If accurate, reports that Iran plans to reduce transparency in response to this resolution are extremely regrettable and counterproductive to the diplomatic outcome we seek. Restricting IAEA access and attempts to paint the IAEA as politicized for simply doing its job will serve no purpose. Again, we do not seek escalation. Instead, we seek credible explanations, consistent with Iran’s safeguards obligations, that can finally put these issues behind us. We would welcome the Director General being able to report that the Agency considers these issues to be clarified and resolved because of substantive Iranian cooperation. On that basis, we would see no need for further Board consideration and action on these issues.
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/2022/26 and requests that it be made public, consistent with longstanding practice.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.