E3 JCPoA Statement for IAEA Board of Governors meeting in November 2023
On behalf of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, I thank Director General Grossi for his latest report GOV/2023/57, and Deputy Director General Aparo for his technical briefing.
The E3 are extremely grateful to the Agency for the professional and impartial work of the team of inspectors and for the objective reporting on Iran’s nuclear programme. We encourage the Director General to keep the Board informed of all activities and developments requiring clarification by Iran.
Regrettably, the report again confirms that Iran has pursued its nuclear activities in further violation of its JCPoA commitments. Recent actions by Iran such as the de-designation of Agency inspectors in September demonstrate Iran’s continued, and determined denial of cooperation with the IAEA as required.
Since 2019, Iran has expanded its activities to levels unprecedented for a state without a nuclear weapons programme. In the reporting period, Iran has continued enriching far beyond what it committed to in the JCPoA. Its stockpile of uranium enriched up to 60% as reported by the Director General is now likely three IAEA Significant Quantities, i.e. likely three times the approximate amount of nuclear material from which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded according to the IAEA definition. Its stockpile of enriched uranium is now 22 times JCPoA limits. Iran has also installed additional advanced centrifuges in Natanz and continues to expand its centrifuge infrastructure which could be used to support a significantly increased ability to produce enriched uranium in blatant disregard for JCPoA provisions. We also recall significant work previously reported on uranium metal, which is a key step for the development of a nuclear weapon, and takes Iran dangerously close to actual weapons-related activity.
As the DG’s report makes clear the list of activities that the Agency is unable to carry out in relation to JCPoA monitoring is extensive and includes verification of: the production of heavy water; the amount of in-process low-enriched uranium; stable isotope production; as well as a number of broader nuclear commitments. The extent of this frustration of the Agency’s responsibilities was further exacerbated in June 2022 following Iran’s decision to remove all of the agency’s JCPoA related surveillance and monitoring equipment. These actions severely weaken the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
As E3, we have unreservedly called upon Iran to resume full compliance with the JCPoA, including by triggering the Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) in January 2020. Since then, we have strived in good faith to resolve the issues arising from Iran’s non-compliance. We have made all reasonable efforts to negotiate a return to the JCPoA, for which viable deals were tabled in March and again in August 2022. On both occasions, Iran refused to sign these agreements by making unacceptable demands going beyond the scope of the JCPoA, and instead has continued to advance its nuclear capabilities.
Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its commitments, including the Additional Protocol, has seriously affected the Agency’s verification and monitoring capabilities and activities. Furthermore, as the DG notes, the decision taken by Iran to de-designate experienced inspectors in September “directly and seriously affects the Agency’s ability to conduct effectively its verification activities in Iran, in particular at the enrichment facilities”. These factors, in addition to the Agency’s statement that it would no longer be able to re-establish continuity of knowledge of the process and inventories of core elements of Iran’s nuclear programme show Iran’s disregard for the Agency’s responsibilities.
Since 2019, Iran has deliberately and consistently chosen to escalate its nuclear activities beyond all credible civilian justification and in non-compliance with its JCPOA commitments. As a direct response to Iran’s serious and escalating non-compliance we, as E3, notified the JCPoA Coordinator of our decision not to proceed to further sanctions-lifting, in accordance with the JCPoA and with UNSCR 2231. We have subsequently taken the necessary measures to implement this decision. These steps are reversible should Iran fully comply with its JCPoA commitments.
It is now for Iran to de-escalate its nuclear programme by
- stopping the production of uranium enriched beyond 3.67%, and starting to reduce its stockpile of uranium enriched above this level, and returning to agreed limitations regarding the R&D, production, installation, feeding and use of centrifuges;
- re-applying all transparency measures that Iran stopped in February 2021 and that were agreed to in the 4 March Joint Statement between Iran and the IAEA;
- re-implementing and swiftly ratifying its Additional Protocol;
as well as by
- cooperating fully with the IAEA, including by re-designating experienced IAEA inspectors and issuing visas for IAEA officials.
These steps would contribute to restoring the transparency required and help re-build urgently needed trust between Iran and the international community.
Iran’s nuclear advances significantly harm international security and undermine the global non-proliferation architecture. We will continue consultations, alongside international partners, on how best to address increasing doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. We remain committed to a diplomatic solution and stand ready to use all diplomatic levers to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
We call upon Iran to de-escalate its programme and expect swift and meaningful further steps to fully restore the agreed level of cooperation with the IAEA for effective verification and monitoring.
Finally, we ask the Director General to keep the Board of Governors informed well ahead of the next meeting in March 2024, and provide earlier updates as necessary. We also ask for the report to be made public.