IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 5 – Verification and Monitoring in Iran in Light of UNSC Resolution 2231 (2015)
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, March 7, 2023
The United States extends its appreciation to the Director General for his February 28 report on verification and monitoring in Iran in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. We thank the Director General, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, and their staff for their continued dedication and professionalism in carrying out the Agency’s JCPOA-related responsibilities in Iran. The Director General’s thorough, factual, and timely reporting on these matters is essential to the international community’s understanding of Iran’s nuclear program.
As the Director General’s report makes clear, Iran continues to expand its nuclear program far beyond JCPOA limits, including through the deployment of new advanced centrifuges and the continued accumulation of highly enriched uranium. We have underscored that Iran’s continued production of uranium enriched up to 60 percent has no credible peaceful purpose. No other country in the world today utilizes uranium enriched to 60 percent for the purpose Iran claims. Iran should cease this deeply troubling activity that runs counter to the behavior of all other states worldwide. Since November, Iran has increased production of this material by initiating new operations at Fordow. Iran argues it is unfairly targeted by others. The reality remains that Iran continues to single itself out through its own actions. Iran should cease its nuclear provocations and its continued pursuit of steps that pose grave proliferation risks.
Last September, Iran ended hopes of a swift return to full implementation of the JCPOA by making demands it knew to be impossible and unrealistic. Iran demanded that its safeguards obligations be somehow implemented differently from those of all other states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement. However, as we know, nowhere in the world would IAEA inspectors turn a blind eye to possible undeclared nuclear material and activities, in particular the detection of nuclear material particles at multiple undeclared locations.
The United States commends the Director General and his team for their enduring commitment both to the Agency’s mandate on the JCPOA and its essential mission on the outstanding safeguards matters to be addressed later in the agenda. Especially given these unresolved safeguards issues, we note with serious concern the Director General’s conclusion that Iran’s actions have had detrimental implications for the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran should take actions that build international confidence rather than undermining such essential assurances.
We note with particular concern Iran’s undeclared modification of advanced centrifuge cascades at Fordow, and the Director General’s conclusion that Iran’s failure to declare this change in advance was inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under its Safeguards Agreement. This violation of Iran’s safeguards obligations should be viewed by the Board with the seriousness it deserves. Perhaps even more alarming was the Agency’s subsequent detection at Fordow of uranium particles enriched to over 80 percent. Iran must clarify this issue immediately. Whether intentional or inadvertent, Iran’s actions continue to intensify tensions and push unprecedented boundaries.
On top of these issues, the Director General reports the detection of a new discrepancy in the amount of nuclear material involved in Iran’s dissolution of uranium metal. This new issue is only the latest in a long series of safeguards concerns in Iran. We believe it should be considered along with the other outstanding safeguards issues of concern, and we will address these issues further under the safeguards agenda item.
We look forward to the Director General being able to finally report on the progress Iran has now reportedly pledged toward resolving these issues. We note the joint statement issued by Iran and the IAEA at the conclusion of the Director General’s recent high-level discussions in Tehran, as well as the Director General’s relevant comments, including in his opening statement to this Board meeting. Should Iran follow through on its reported decision to take up certain transparency measures as conveyed to the Director General, it would be an encouraging sign, but we of course need to see if these steps are, in fact, implemented.
We have long highlighted the importance of providing adequate resources for the IAEA’s essential verification and monitoring role in Iran. We welcome the continued contributions of financial support for these important efforts and were pleased to announce earlier U.S. contributions. We fully appreciate the financial demands of these responsibilities and will continue to join other Member States in providing the IAEA with the necessary resources for this important mission.
With these comments, the United States takes note of the Director General’s report contained in document GOV/2023/8, as well as the Director General’s interim reports contained in GOV/INF/2022 documents 24 and 25, and GOV/INF/2023/1. We request that these reports be made public, consistent with longstanding practice, so there may continue to be a clear international understanding of the facts reported by the Director General.
Thank you, Chair.
US Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – March 2023 BOG Agenda 5 – Verification and Monitoring in Iran in Light of UNSC Resolution 2231 – 2015 (PDF)