E3 Statement at the IAEA Board of Governors, November 2021, on the NPT Safeguards Agreement with Iran
IAEA Board of Governors, November 2021
Agenda item 6c: NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran
Statement by France, Germany and the United Kingdom
France, Germany, and the United Kingdom would like to thank Director General Grossi for his report on the implementation of safeguards in Iran, contained in GOV/2021/52, and Deputy Director General Aparo for the Technical Briefing on 18 November.
First, we would like to underscore our grave concern by the Director General’s report that IAEA inspectors operating in Iran have, for several months, been subjected to intimidation through excessively invasive physical searches. This is unacceptable and unprecedented. We express our full support for IAEA inspectors who carry out their roles with impartiality, professionalism, and dedication and must be able to undertake their duties without fear of intimidation. As the Director General noted, Iran’s new security procedures are inconsistent with both internationally accepted security practices and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA, and prevent IAEA inspectors from being able to effectively discharge their functions under the NPT Safeguards Agreement. Like all NPT state parties, Iran is legally obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure that Agency inspectors can effectively discharge their functions. We call on Iran to take immediate steps to prevent any further incidents from occurring, and encourage the Director General to promptly report any new incidents to this Board. We fully associate ourselves with the statement by Canada on behalf of a group of states.
We would like to commend the efforts of the Director General and the Secretariat in verifying Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations and commitments. We firmly support their professional and impartial efforts to fully clarify information concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement. We reiterate the importance of the IAEA continuing to evaluate all safeguards-relevant information available to it in line with standard practice.
We fully support the Director General’s tireless efforts to engage in substantial discussions with Iran in order to resolve issues related to four undeclared locations in Iran. It has now been over two years since these efforts commenced, and seventeen months since the Board adopted a resolution calling on Iran to fully co-operate with the Agency and satisfy its requests without any further delay. Yet Iran has still failed to provide the necessary explanation for the presence of anthropogenic nuclear material particles related to three locations, as well as the current location of natural uranium in the form of a metal disc.
In the absence of a credible explanation from Iran, we share the deep concerns of the Director General that undeclared nuclear material and/or equipment has been present at undeclared locations in Iran and its current location is not known to the Agency. As we’ve repeatedly stated, this is not just a question of Iran’s past activities but a live issue concerning the completeness and correctness of Iran’s safeguards declarations today.
The Director General’s report also noted Iran’s sustained lack of substantive engagement with the Agency since September, with no interactions at all on two of the outstanding cases and no meaningful progress in resolving the remaining issues. We recall that in Iran’s Joint Statement with the Agency of 12 September, Iran committed to enable the Director General to hold high-level consultations in Tehran on enhancing co-operation. Yet Iran delayed for over two months in scheduling this visit until the very eve of the Board, which has undermined the Director General’s ability to provide full and timely reporting to the Board.
The Director General updated the Board on 24 November that, despite his efforts, he had been unable to reach an agreement with Iran to address the issues raised in this report– which Iran has now had over two years to resolve – and also the issue relevant to the JCPOA item covered during his visit. The Director General asked for the Board’s continued support in his efforts to engage with Iran. Iran now needs to fully co-operate and actively engage with the Agency without further delay. Should rapid and tangible progress not be forthcoming, a meeting of a special board to take action will very soon become inevitable.
Finally, we echo the Director General’s call on Iran to fulfill all its legal obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its NPT Safeguards Agreement, including fully implementing Modified Code 3.1. We reiterate that implementation of Modified Code 3.1 cannot be modified or suspended unilaterally. In refusing to fully co-operate with the IAEA, Iran undermines the integrity of the global safeguards system.
We encourage the Director General to continue reporting to the Board of Governors, as appropriate, and would welcome making report GOV/2021/52 public.