U.S. Statement – As Prepared for Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – Agenda Item 5 – Verification and Monitoring in Iran (JCPOA)
Vienna, Austria, June 6, 2023
The United States extends its appreciation to the Director General for his May 31 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 undertaking the Agency’s JCPOA-related responsibilities in Iran. The Director General’s thorough, factual, and timely reporting on these matters remains 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 activities far beyond JCPOA limits. In particular, we have underscored that Iran’s 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. We again call on Iran to end this deeply troubling activity that runs counter to the behavior of all other states worldwide. 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 that pose grave proliferation risks.
Last September, Iran ended hopes that a mutual return to JCPOA implementation may be near by demanding that safeguards obligations be implemented differently in Iran than in all other states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement. However, as we know, such demands are simply impossible to accept. Nowhere in the world would IAEA inspectors ignore possible undeclared nuclear material and activities, and the detection of nuclear material particles at multiple undeclared locations.
Especially given these unresolved safeguards issues, we again note with serious concern the Director General’s previous conclusion that Iran’s actions have undermined the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran should take actions that build international confidence and deescalate tensions, not continue to undermine essential assurances.
Iran’s undeclared modification of advanced centrifuge cascades at Fordow in January, in clear violation of its safeguards obligations, remains deeply concerning. Even more alarming was the Agency’s subsequent detection there of uranium particles enriched over 80 percent. We note the Agency’s assessment that the information Iran ultimately provided was not inconsistent with Iran’s explanation for the particles. Intentional or not, Iran’s actions continue to intensify tensions and push unprecedented boundaries. As we have made clear, such an incident should never happen again.
Since the Director General’s previous report, Iran has failed to clarify the discrepancy in the amount of nuclear material it declared in its dissolution of uranium metal early last year. Iran’s technically unsound explanations are entirely unacceptable. We will address this serious matter and the other outstanding safeguards issues further under the safeguards agenda item. For now, I will underscore that Iran’s level of cooperation remains significantly lacking overall, and far short of the expectations outlined by the Board in November.
We note the Director General’s assessment that, with respect to the March Joint Statement, the process must be sustained and uninterrupted, and that for these activities to be effective, the Agency must re-establish a satisfactory understanding of Iran’s inventory of centrifuge components. Since early 2021, Iran has manufactured advanced centrifuge components, and produced uranium ore concentrate and heavy water, without providing any monitoring data or relevant records to the Agency. As reported by the Director General, this dramatically increases the time and effort required to establish a new baseline of Iran’s nuclear activities.
We urge Iran to cooperate fully with the Agency in the implementation of these Joint Statement measures, including an approach that provides the Agency with data recordings from new and previously installed monitoring equipment as described by the Director General, and look forward to further reporting from the Director General on their status.
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/2023/24. We request it 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.