EU Statement on Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in Light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015)

Statement on the Occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 9-13 March 2020
March 9, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Madam Chair,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, the Republic of Moldova and San Marino.

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2020/5 on the verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015), and DDG Aparo for the technical briefing on 5 March 2020.

3. At the outset, the EU would like to reiterate its position that it regards the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament architecture.

Madam Chair,

4. The EU expresses its resolute commitment to and continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is determined to continue working with the international community to preserve the JCPOA, an important multilateral achievement, unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015). The JCPOA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture crucial for regional, European and international security. The JCPOA aims at providing the international community with the necessary assurances on the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and, in this regard, full implementation of the JCPOA remains essential.

5. The EU deeply regrets the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the re-imposed sanctions and calls on all countries to refrain from taking actions that impede the implementation of JCPOA commitments. Alongside the verified full implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of nuclearrelated sanctions is an essential part of the agreement. The EU has fully upheld its JCPOA commitments, including sanctions lifting as foreseen under the JCPOA.

Madam Chair,

6. The EU has repeatedly expressed its clear and grave concern with Iran's accumulation of low enriched uranium in excess of the JCPOA limit and the fact that its maximum enrichment level is above the limit set by the JCPOA. We are also concerned that enrichment in Fordow continues at an increasing pace. The current enriched uranium stockpile of 1020.9 kg of uranium represents a significant departure from the limits set in the JCPOA. Furthermore, the continued expansion of Iran's centrifuge R&D activities is particularly worrisome, as it significantly increases Iran's enrichment capacity. We also note that Iran continues to exceed the heavy water threshold set by the JCPOA. The aforementioned activities are inconsistent with the JCPOA and have severe and, in the case of R&D activities, irreversible proliferation implications.

7. The EU deeply regrets Iran’s announcement of 5 January that its nuclear programme would no longer be subject to any restrictions in the operational sphere. This announcement came at a time of severe tensions in the region. We take note that the IAEA has not observed any changes to Iran’s implementation of its commitments in connection with this announcement or in the level of cooperation by Iran in relation to Agency verification and monitoring activities under the JCPOA.

8. We strongly urge Iran to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and return to full implementation of its commitments without delay. All the EU Member States support the efforts of the JCPOA participants in addressing these issues within the JCPOA framework, including in the context of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism initiated by France, Germany, and the UK. Additionally, we recall the EU High Representative statement of 24 January 2020, informing that expert-level discussions are ongoing, addressing concerns regarding the implementation of nuclear-related commitments by Iran, as well as the wider impacts of the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and its re-imposition of sanctions. Furthermore, we support efforts by all JCPOA participants to preserve the JCPOA.

Madam Chair,

9. The EU commends, once again, the Director General and the Secretariat for their continued professional, objective, independent and impartial work in verifying and monitoring Iran's nuclear-related commitments in accordance with Iran's nuclear obligations, as well as the JCPOA and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015). We welcome the quality and scope of the technical information contained in the report and the complementary details provided during the technical briefing organised on 5 March 2020 on the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

10. We encourage the Director General to continue to provide further detailed information (as outlined in paragraph 4 of Board of Governors Resolution GOV/2015/72 of 15 December 2015) on all nuclear measures listed in all sections of Annex I of the JCPOA in his future reports. This will be essential to enable the Board to gain a full understanding of the ongoing JCPOA implementation and to react promptly should any issue arise.

11. The EU fully supports the IAEA's long-term mission of verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments and recalls the importance of ensuring the necessary resources – including sufficient and sustainable extra budgetary funds - for the Agency to carry out its role. To that end, we welcome that as of 26 February 2020, €4.2 million of extrabudgetary funding has been pledged to cover the costs of JCPOA-related activities for 2020 and beyond.

Madam Chair,

12. Implementation Day marked the beginning of Iran's provisional application of the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, pending its ratification and entry into force, and the implementation of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement. The EU calls upon Iran to continue to implement the Additional Protocol. We stress that full and timely cooperation by Iran is crucial to enhance confidence in Iran’s nuclear programme. We welcome the fact that in line with standard practice, the IAEA evaluates all available safeguards-relevant information and we encourage it to continue to do so as new information becomes available to it.

13. The EU supports the Agency's efforts to resolve the matter reported by the DG in paragraph 32 of the report, on the detection by the Agency of natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the Agency and urges Iran to intensify its interactions with the Agency.

14. The EU also welcomes that "the Agency's verification and monitoring of Iran's other JCPOA nuclear-related commitments continues, including those set out in Sections D, E, S and T of Annex I of the JCPOA". We ask the Director General to continue to include references to developments on all these aspects of Iranian compliance in his future reports to the Board.

15. The full and sustained implementation of the JCPOA together with reaching the Broader Conclusion is essential to help building international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. In this regard, the early ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol is essential.

Madam Chair,

16. We would like to request that, following past practice, the report is made public. Finally, with these remarks, the EU takes note of the Director General's reports.

Thank you, Madam Chair.