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

March 1, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Thank you, Madam Chairperson

It is with a sense of purpose and renewed energy that we have started 2021. Not only is the distribution of vaccines offering everyone hope of exiting today’s pandemic, but we now know just how significant our response to that pandemic has been.


My report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 covers our activities in the last few months in verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Since my previous quarterly report, I have issued 11 reports containing updates on those activities. These reflect a number of notable developments related to Iran’s program over the past few months.

On 15 February 2021, Iran informed the Agency that Iran would “stop the implementation of voluntary transparency measures as envisaged in the JCPOA, as of February 23, 2021”, including the provisions of the Additional Protocol and Modified code 3.1 of the subsidiary arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.

I had already informed that stopping or limiting the Agency's verification and monitoring activities at this stage would have a serious impact on the Agency's ability to report on the implementation of Iran's commitments.

On 21 February 2021, I had discussions in Tehran with Vice-President Salehi and Foreign Minister Zarif to find a mutually agreeable solution for the Agency to continue essential verification activities. As it has been announced, we were able to reach a temporary bilateral technical understanding. You will find the terms of this understanding attached as an Annex to my report. I want to emphasize that it is a temporary technical understanding and that it is compatible with Iranian law. It is to enable the Agency to resume its full verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA if and when Iran resumes its implementation of those commitments.

Madam Chairperson,

I have also issued a report on the NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  

In this report I recall that, in accordance with Article 39 of its Safeguards Agreement, agreed Subsidiary Arrangements cannot be modified unilaterally. Iran is therefore required to continue the implementation of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to that Agreement. Not doing so, would be inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement.

Madam Chairperson,

The presence of multiple uranium particles of anthropogenic origin, including isotopically altered particles, at a location which was not declared by Iran, is a clear indication that nuclear material and/or equipment contaminated by nuclear material has been present at this location. After 18 months, Iran has not provided the necessary, full and technically credible explanation for the presence of these particles. In the absence of a technically credible explanation from Iran, the Agency is deeply concerned that undeclared nuclear material may have been present at this undeclared location and that such nuclear material remains unreported by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.

With regard to three other locations, none of which was declared to the Agency, Iran has not answered any of the Agency’s questions relating to the possible presence at these locations of nuclear material.

Results of environmental samples taken in 2020 at two of these locations found particles of anthropogenic uranium. Last month, we conveyed our results and related questions to Iran.

During my trip to Tehran on 20-21 February 2021, I stressed to the Government of Iran my concern at the lack of progress in clarifying the safeguards issues relating to the four locations mentioned. I expressed my readiness to engage Iran in a proactive and focussed effort to break the impasse, and to clarify and resolve these issues without further delay.