IAEA Director General's Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors (Excerpts)

November 24, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr Chairperson,

Thank you for your forbearance as we again meet virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having returned yesterday from Tehran, I am ready to update you on the safeguards situation regarding Iran. I had extensive negotiations with senior Iranian officials to address Iran’s outstanding safeguards issues. As I will report, these negotiations proved inconclusive.

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Mr Chairperson,

My report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 covers relevant activities of the Agency in the past few months.

Up to 23 February 2021, the Agency verified and monitored the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. However, since that date, these activities have been seriously undermined as a result of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including the Additional Protocol.

In the absence of regular Agency access to its surveillance and monitoring equipment at all facilities and locations in Iran in relation to the JCPOA, the Agency considers the temporary agreement I reached with Iran in February 2021 facilitated the maintenance of continuity of knowledge. However, the repeated prolongation of the agreement, which has now been in place for around nine months, is becoming a significant challenge to the Agency’s ability to restore this continuity of knowledge.

In addition, contrary to the agreement reached between the Agency and Iran on 12 September 2021, the lack of access to the Karaj workshop has meant that the restoration of surveillance and monitoring at all of Iran’s facilities and locations in relation to the JCPOA could not be completed. This is seriously affecting the Agency’s ability to restore continuity of knowledge at the workshop, which has been widely recognised as essential in relation to a return to the JCPOA.

You have also received my report entitled NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which describes the Agency’s efforts since my last report to clarify questions relating to the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.

The presence of multiple uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at three locations in Iran not declared to the Agency, as well as the presence of isotopically altered particles at one of these locations, is a clear indication that nuclear material and/or equipment contaminated by nuclear material has been present at these locations.

I am also concerned by the incidences of Agency inspectors being subjected to excessively invasive physical searches by security officials at nuclear facilities in Iran. I reiterate the call upon Iran to take immediate steps to remedy the situation, and to implement security procedures at nuclear facilities in a manner consistent with internationally accepted security practices and Iran’s legal obligations in relation to privileges and immunities of the Agency and its inspectors.

In the two reports mentioned above, I informed the Board of Governors that I had accepted an invitation to visit Tehran to hold high level consultations with the Iranian Government as agreed in the Joint Statement of 12 September 2021.

On 23 November 2021, I had meetings in Tehran with the Vice President of Iran and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, H.E. Mohammad Eslami, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, H.E. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Despite my best efforts, these extensive negotiations and deliberations to address Iran’s outstanding safeguards issues, detailed in the two reports, proved inconclusive.

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