Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran), informed me of its decision to withdraw the designation of several experienced Agency inspectors assigned to conduct verification activities in Iran under the NPT Safeguards Agreement. This follows a previous recent withdrawal of the designation of another experienced Agency inspector for Iran.
These inspectors are among the most experienced Agency experts with unique knowledge in enrichment technology. They have conducted essential verification work at the enrichment facilities in Iran which are under Agency safeguards.
With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one third of the core group of the Agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran.
This measure, while formally permitted by the NPT Safeguards Agreement, has been exercised by Iran in a manner that affects in a direct and severe way the ability of the IAEA to conduct effectively its inspections in Iran.
I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure which affects the normal planning and conduct of Agency verification activities in Iran and openly contradicts the cooperation that should exist between the Agency and Iran.
This profoundly regrettable decision by Iran is another step in the wrong direction and constitutes an unnecessary blow to an already strained relationship between the IAEA and Iran in the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement.
Without effective cooperation, confidence and trust will continue to be elusive and the Agency will not be in a position to discharge effectively its verification mandate in Iran and provide credible assurances that nuclear material and activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes.
Our experience demonstrates that shutting out Agency inspectors affects our essential verification mandate and is not the way of working in a cooperative manner.
I call upon the Iranian Government to reconsider its decision and to return to a path of cooperation with the Agency. I also call upon the highest authorities of Iran to engage with me at the earliest opportunity to correct course and work with the Agency for the complete clarification of the outstanding safeguards issues.