On 24 November 2013, China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed on a Joint Plan of Action with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Plan is aimed at achieving "a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful." Iran is to undertake a series of "voluntary measures" over a period of six months.
This is an important and encouraging development after several years of little or no progress in efforts to address international concerns about the nature of Iran's nuclear programme.
The Joint Plan of Action is an agreement among seven IAEA Member States. It envisages the Agency undertaking monitoring and verification of the measures to be implemented by Iran. The Permanent Representatives of the seven countries have submitted a request to the Agency to this effect.
I therefore considered it appropriate to convene this meeting of the Board of Governors to seek your endorsement of the Agency undertaking the monitoring and verification, in response to the request.
My report on Monitoring and Verification in the Islamic Republic of Iran in Relation to the Joint Plan of Action outlines the nuclear-related measures which we have been requested to monitor and verify, as well as the implications for the Agency.
We will need to nearly double the staff resources devoted to verification in Iran. We will need to significantly increase the frequency of the verification activities which we are currently conducting. Our inspectors will need access to additional locations. We will have to acquire and install more safeguards equipment and analyse more samples. And the volume of analytical work and reporting will increase.
This additional effort will result in increased costs to the Agency, which we estimate at around six million euros over the next six months.
We expect to cover around 500 000 euros of the extra costs within the Department of Safeguards through re-prioritization of our work, re-scheduling of activities and re-allocation of staff.
But the Agency will still need additional extrabudgetary contributions of some 5.5 million euros for the six-month period. I call upon countries which are in a position to do so to make the necessary funding available.
The Agency needs to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, so these estimates are preliminary and may have to be revised later.
A report on the Status of Iran's Nuclear Programme in Relation to the Joint Plan of Action was circulated on 20 January. In the coming months, I will issue regular brief updates.
Under the Joint Plan of Action, the Parties will establish a Joint Commission which "will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern."
We welcome cooperation which Member States, including those belonging to the Joint Commission, may wish to provide as we fulfil our responsibilities. But it goes without saying that the Agency will continue to act independently, in accordance with the Statute.
I ask the Board to endorse the Agency undertaking monitoring and verification in relation to the nuclear-related measures set out in the Joint Plan of Action, subject to the availability of funds.
This will be a further important step towards achieving a comprehensive solution to the Iran nuclear issue. But there is still a long way to go.
Before concluding, I wish to note that we will continue our regular work of implementing safeguards in Iran, which will be presented in detail in my quarterly reports.
At the March Board, I will also report on implementation by Iran of the six practical measures agreed in the Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was signed by Iran and the Agency last November. I hope to identify the next measures envisaged under the Framework.
I hope that all of the work undertaken by the Agency will provide an important contribution to advancing the resolution of the Iran nuclear issue and will lead to further positive developments.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.