IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 6 (d) Iran

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna

Mr. Chairman,

The United States would like to thank the Director General for delivering, once again, a careful and detailed report on the Agency’s implementation of the IAEA Safeguards Agreement in Iran and of UN Security Council resolutions adopted with respect to Iran.  The Secretariat and, in particular, the Safeguards Department under the robust leadership of Deputy Director General Heinonen deserves our appreciation for its continued perseverance, as demonstrated in this 29th report to the Board on the topic, documenting Iran’s failure to comply with its international nonproliferation obligations.  As the report details once again, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is used for peaceful purposes.

Mr. Chairman,

As I mentioned, there are now 29 reports on Iran. Each has contained descriptions of Iran’s failures to comply with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement.  Since 2006, these reports have also noted Iran’s failure to comply with its UN Security Council-mandated obligation to suspend its uranium enrichment- and heavy water-related activities.  In response to these reports, the international community has repeatedly expressed its concern over the nature of Iran’s nuclear program through multiple IAEA Board resolutions and five UN Security Council resolutions.  The U.S. has repeatedly called on Iran to restore international confidence, and we have presented Iran with opportunities at confidence-building by pursuing unprecedented efforts at engagement over the past eighteen months.

Regrettably, Iran has given us all too little to show for our efforts.  Iran has a long history of avoiding substantive discussion, as demonstrated by its refusal to answer many of the IAEA’s most pressing questions about its nuclear activities, especially concerning the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.  Moreover, Iran has increased some of its most proliferation sensitive nuclear activities such as uranium enrichment.  This latest report concludes:

  • First, that Iran has declared that its stockpile of low enriched uranium hexafluoride at Natanz increased by 362 kilograms since February to approximately 2,427 kilograms, a direct violation of Iran’s UN Security Council obligations and Board requirements.
  • Second, Iran continues to produce near twenty percent enriched uranium, a further direct violation of Iran’s UN Security Council obligations and Board requirements.  This step was also taken contrary to the IAEA’s request for Iran to respect the letter of its Safeguards Agreement and put in place appropriate revisions to the safeguards procedures before increasing the enrichment level; Iran did not agree to these safeguards revisions until two months later.
  • Third, Iran continues to take forward its heavy water-related activities in further contravention of UN Security Council resolutions.  We note that Iran also has refused to allow the Agency access to the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) and to the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) for taking samples.  Moreover, the Agency reports that, contrary to UN Security Council demands, construction at the IR-40 reactor at Arak is ongoing and that the Heavy Water Production Plant seems to have resumed operation.
  • Fourth, Iran still refuses to provide the Agency with the information it needs to fully understand the purpose of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom and the chronology of its construction.  Iran is not providing access to the original design documentation for the Fordow plant or to companies involved in the design and construction of the plant.  The IAEA needs this information to help verify Iran’s claims as to the ultimate, supposedly peaceful, purpose of this facility and to help ensure that there are no other undeclared facilities in Iran.
  • And fifth, the Director General recounts in his report several key issues and questions related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s program, issues that remain unresolved by Iran.  Specifically, the Agency has sought clarification on whether Iran’s exploding bridgewire detonator activities were solely for civil or conventional military purposes.  Inspectors have sought to verify whether Iran developed a spherical implosion system.  Inspectors need to clarify studies that suggest Iran was working to adapt its missiles to hold a nuclear payload, and they need clarification on details relating to the manufacture of components for initiating high explosives systems.  Furthermore, the report again raises concerns that these possible military-related aspects of Iran’s nuclear program may have continued beyond 2004.

    Despite Iran’s unwillingness to engage the IAEA on core issues related to possible military dimensions, the Director General clearly states that substantive and proactive engagement on these issues by Iran is essential to enable the Agency to make progress in its verification of the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations.  The Agency, once again, requests it be permitted to visit all relevant sites, have access to all relevant equipment and documentation, and be allowed to interview relevant persons, without further delay.  My government fully supports the Director General’s repeated requests.

We should also not forget that Iran failed to declare its decision to construct the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.  This failure is in violation of its obligations under modified Code 3.1.  This is in addition to the fact that the construction of an additional enrichment plant was another direct violation of three Chapter VII UN Security Council resolutions.  The United States fully supports the IAEA’s legal determination that agreed Subsidiary Arrangements cannot be changed unilaterally and, therefore, the modified Code 3.1, as agreed to by Iran in 2003, remains in force.  The Director General again reminds us that Iran remains the only state with significant nuclear activities that refuses to acknowledge its legal obligations under the modified Code 3.1.  In continued defiance of this obligation, Iran has failed to notify the IAEA in a timely manner about the decision to construct or to authorize the construction of new nuclear facilities including the Darkhovin reactor and the Fordow plant, and has not provided all the necessary design information.

As the Director General clearly notes, these actions by Iran in contradiction of its obligations under modified Code 3.1, raise further concerns about the completeness of Iran’s declarations.  And of significant concern are Iran’s public statements, reflected in the Director General’s report, that Iran is “continuing the process” of constructing one or more new enrichment plants, although Iran has not made the required declaration under its safeguards agreement regarding a national decision to construct additional enrichment plants.

The Director General’s report notes that, when confronted with these concerns, Iran asserts incorrectly that either the question is beyond the scope of its safeguards agreement, or that UN Security Council resolutions are illegitimate.  This does not sound, to the United States, like confidence building.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me be straightforward:  the litany of safeguards violations, ignored UNSC obligations, and Iran’s overall refusal to address international concerns — as detailed in the DG’s report — undermines Iran’s frequent claim that there is nothing left to be worried about with respect to Iran’s nuclear program.  The United States and our international partners in this room have gone out of our way to seek opportunities to build mutual confidence.  When the P5+1 met Iran in Geneva in October 2009, the parties reached agreements in principle on three concrete actions that could have begun to build this confidence:  first, Iran agreed to meet again shortly with the P5+1 on its nuclear program and other issues; second, Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA’s investigation of the Qom enrichment facility; and third; there was agreement to implement the IAEA’s Tehran Research Reactor proposal.  Iran, however, failed to implement these agreements.

Mr. Chairman, let me speak for a moment to the IAEA’s Tehran Research Reactor, the TRR, refueling proposal from last year, which was in response to Iran’s request for assistance in obtaining a fresh fuel supply.  The proposal that the IAEA put forward after consultations with Iran, France, Russia, and the United States was fair, direct, and simple.  It would have met a legitimate and pressing humanitarian need for fuel for the TRR in order to maintain the supply of indigenously produced medical isotopes for Iran’s doctors and hospitals.  It also would have established a basis of confidence upon which additional negotiations on the core underlying concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program could have been undertaken by Iran and the P5+1.  The proposal offered multiple assurances that the project would be fully implemented.  The initiative would have been codified in a legally binding Project and Supply Agreement, to be approved by this Board and executed with the IAEA.  Furthermore, our Governments were prepared to offer political guarantees and President Obama spoke publicly in support of the project.

Unfortunately, Iran refused to take “yes” for an answer, and instead delayed for eight months while it continued to nearly double the amount of low enriched uranium it had produced in violation of three Chapter VII UN Security Council resolutions.   Iran also began enriching to nearly 20 percent, as previously described, and has now repeatedly insisted — as recently as last week — that notwithstanding any potential future progress on the TRR fuel-exchange proposal, it would continue to enrich to this higher level ad infinitum, including by adding a second cascade of centrifuges connected to the first, a step the Secretariat described in the June 2 Technical Briefing for Member States as a “major development” for safeguards purposes.

The United States appreciates the sincere efforts of our Brazilian and Turkish partners to try to find common ground.  We still think the TRR proposal, if Iran implemented it in a way that addressed the international community’s concerns, would be a positive step.  Nevertheless, we have a number of concerns about the elements of the so-called Joint Declaration.  First and foremost, it does not address the underlying issue of Iran’s non-compliance with its nonproliferation obligations.  The Joint Declaration also does not take into account Iran’s production or retention of nearly 20 percent enriched uranium and it asserts a right for Iran to engage in enrichment activities.  The Declaration does not indicate that Iran is willing to meet with the P5+1 countries to address the international community’s concerns about its nuclear activities even though Iran agreed to do so last October and it does not set a date certain for removal of the 3.5 percent LEU from Iran.  Further, the Declaration sets an unrealistic timeline for delivery of the fuel assemblies, insisting on full delivery within one year when such a result is clearly not within the technical capability of any state.  And, finally, it does not account for Iran’s continued accumulation of LEU since the IAEA first proposed the deal.  Removal of 1200 kg at present would still leave Iran with substantial stocks, decreasing the confidence-building value of the original proposal.  The Joint Declaration provides no alternative means of ensuring that the confidence-building element of the original arrangement would be maintained.

Mr. Chairman,

Since early 2009, the United States and our partners in the P5+1 have offered to constructively engage Iran — but Iran has failed to seize this opportunity. We arrive at this point fully eight months after we met with Iran in Geneva, and after Iran failed to live up to its three commitments made there: again, to implement the TRR proposal, to meet with the P5+1, and to fully cooperate with the IAEA on the enrichment facility at Qom.

Since 2006, there have been five UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend enrichment, and Iran has failed to do so.  We continue to move forward in the Security Council on a new resolution because of Iran’s persistent failure to meet its obligations, especially to that body.  Iran must understand that failure to address the concerns of the international community will lead to increased pressure and isolation.

President Obama has been clear from the beginning that Iran has rights but that it also has responsibilities.  Iran is singling itself out through its own actions.  To be clear: Iran can remove sanctions by taking action to resolve the concerns of the international community and by meeting its obligations.

Mr. Chairman,

We find ourselves closing in on a decade-long investigation which Iran seems determined to defy and to obfuscate.   The list of outstanding issues has grown and become even more alarming.  The fundamental issue remains: Is Iran willing to meet its international nonproliferation obligations, build international confidence, and enable the IAEA to provide assurances as to the peaceful nature of its nuclear program?  The Director General has told us that Iran is preventing the IAEA from doing so, and as the Secretary General of the United Nations alluded to on the opening day of the eighth NPT Review Conference, the onus is on Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its program.

Only when faced with the prospect of sanctions did Iran express any semblance of accepting a proposal on the TRR made eight months ago.  Iran’s insistence that it would continue to enrich to near twenty percent demonstrates its disregard for the world’s concerns, including its disregard for states that want to legitimately explore potential nuclear power programs within the NPT system Iran is working so hard to undercut.  Again, the United States joins others in urging Iran to take steps to resolve outstanding concerns.   To do this, Iran must:

  • fulfill all international obligations pertaining to its nuclear-related activities, including those called for by UNSCRs 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1835;
  • provide information and access necessary to resolve all outstanding issues, particularly with respect to possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program;
    • ratify and fully implement the Additional Protocol;
  • provide access to relevant companies, individuals, and documentation involved with the decision to construct the Fordow Plant and to the timeline during which such decisions and construction activities took place;
  • implement the modified Code 3.1and provide the IAEA with design information for, and access to, any new nuclear facilities planned or under construction;
  • and, most importantly, provide the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that Iran’s declarations are both correct and complete and that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

Iran has made it clear that it seeks a regional leadership role, including via its nuclear accomplishments.  However, Iran cannot be a leader as long as it ignores international norms and deliberately contravenes its nuclear obligations, a course leading only to its further isolation.   The question is not why Iran has been singled out.  The question is why Iran has singled itself out by refusing to take the steps this Board and the UNSC have said are necessary to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program.

The choice remains with Iran.  The United States and, we believe, the international community remain committed to a diplomatic solution based on a dual track approach to the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.  The UN Security Council resolutions and the Board resolutions speak plainly to the steps that Iran can take to address the world’s concerns about Iran’s actions.  As my President has said, with rights come responsibilities.  We ask only that Iran meet its responsibilities.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.