E3 Statement on the NPT Safeguards Agreement with Iran at the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting in March 2024

05.03.2024 - Speech

IAEA Board of Governors, March 2024

NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Statement by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom


France, Germany, and the United Kingdom thank Director General Grossi for his report on the implementation of Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement contained in GOV/2024/8.

We commend the DG and the Secretariat for their continued professional, independent and impartial verification of Iran’s fulfilment of its safeguards obligations. We commend their repeated efforts to engage Iran to clarify information regarding the “correctness and completeness” of its declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement. Due to Iran’s prolonged failure to address outstanding safeguards issues, the Agency is unable to assure that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful.


It has been five years since the Director General first reported evidence to the Board of possible undeclared nuclear material and activities at a number of locations in Iran. Since then, Iran has failed to resolve these long-standing concerns, despite numerous resolutions by the Board, most recently in November 2022. In that time, the number of instances where Iran has acted against its legal safeguards obligations has grown. Let us briefly recall these issues:

- Iran has yet again failed to provide any technically credible explanations regarding Turquzabad and Varamin, despite having promised the Agency further information in August 2023. It has been five years since the Turquzabad investigation was opened and three and a half years since the Varamin investigation was opened. We must ask Iran, then, whether any of the nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment used at these locations remains in its territory and is not included in its declaration.

- Iran refuses to implement Modified Code 3.1 – a legal obligation that Iran cannot unilaterally suspend or modify. Iran is not giving the Agency required design information for multiple new nuclear facilities, even as it begins construction. It is unacceptable that the Agency is forced to rely instead on commercially available satellite imagery to monitor these activities. This is particularly concerning given Iran’s history of constructing undeclared nuclear facilities. As the DG notes, Iran remains the only State with significant nuclear activities that is not implementing Modified Code 3.1 as part of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

- In September last year, Iran de-designated a number of experienced Agency inspectors and claimed that this was in response to action taken at the Board by some member states. This is a political move, described as “extreme and unjustified” by the Director General. Iran is obstructing the Agency’s ability to effectively conduct its verification activities in Iran. We echo the Director General’s strong condemnation and urge Iran to reverse it and to promptly re-designate those inspectors.


Since the Board last met four months ago, no progress was made on implementation of the Joint Statement between the IAEA and Iran of 4 March 2023. That Joint Statement was agreed by Iran more than a year ago now, and it is clear that Iran has no intention to implement the commitments it made. We recall Iran also previously failed to implement the Joint Statements of 5 March 2022, 15 December 2021, 12 September 2021, and 26 August 2020. Let us be clear. Iran does not need new frameworks to co-operate with the Agency in order to resolve all outstanding safeguards issues. Such a framework already exists: the NPT Safeguards Agreement Iran signed and ratified, and the legally binding obligations it contains.


On the long-standing nuclear material discrepancy at the Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF), we note that Iran has corrected its accounting reports, and that these indicate that the amount of Uranium sent from Jaber Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratory (JHL) to UCF was less than had been declared by Iran in 2003-2004. We note the Agency’s conclusion that this case “requires further consideration”. We expect Iran to fully co-operate with the Agency to clarify all outstanding questions. This is of particular concern as undeclared uranium metal experiments were conducted at the same laboratory in Iran between 1995 and 2002. This raises the question of the possible diversion of uranium metal.


The Director General is unable to provide this Board and the wider international community the assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. Iran’s public statements regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons should be of grave concern to us all. We echo the Director General in therefore questioning the “correctness and completeness” of Iran’s safeguards declarations. Iran’s comments are an unacceptable provocation and completely incompatible with Iran’s legal obligations under the NPT as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State.


The Board has already adopted three resolutions on this matter. At the September 2023 Board, 63 member states joined a statement delivered by Denmark expressing deep concerns with Iran’s behaviour. Iran has still not implemented the essential and urgent actions contained in the November 2022 Resolution. As reported by the DG, Iran has not made any progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues. After so many missed opportunities and lost time, the need for the Board to hold Iran accountable to its legal obligations is long overdue. Iran must urgently, fully and unambiguously co-operate with the Agency. In the absence of decisive and substantive progress, the Board must be prepared to adopt another resolution at its next meeting, and to consider future action as necessary, including making a finding under Article 19 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. Iran cannot be allowed to evade its NPT safeguards obligations any further.


We encourage the Director General to continue reporting to the Board of Governors and welcome making the report contained in GOV/2024/8 public. In its next report to the Board, we request the IAEA inform the Board whether it can exclude the possible presence of undeclared materials in other locations in Iran. We stress our unwavering support to the IAEA for their impartial and professional work on this issue.

Thank you, Chair.

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