U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Verification and Monitoring in Iran

U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Ambassador Jackie Wolcott

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 3: Verification and Monitoring in Iran

Vienna, November 22, 2018


Madam Chair,

The United States welcomes the Director General’s November 12th report on verification and monitoring in Iran. We once again extend our appreciation to the Director General, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, and their staff for their continued professionalism and dedication in carrying out their responsibilities in Iran. The Secretariat can continue to count on the full support of the United States as it implements the Agency’s important mandate in Iran. The Director General’s thorough and professional reporting on Iran’s nuclear activities remains essential for the Board to continue to accurately assessing Iran’s implementation of its safeguards obligations and nuclear commitments. We have every confidence that the IAEA will continue to carry out its responsibilities in Iran with the highest level of professionalism and diligence.

Madam Chair,

The United States has made clear why we ended U.S. participation in the JCPOA, and the unfortunate fact that Iran’s aggressive and malign conduct continued unabated following the conclusion of the nuclear deal in 2015. Since that time, Iran has only deepened its destabilizing support for militants and proxies in the region, continued its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles, and sustained the repression of its people. We regret that the JCPOA did not put us on a path to addressing Iran’s malign conduct, or put a nuclear weapons capability permanently out of reach.

For these reasons, the United States ceased participating in the JCPOA, and on November 5th, we re-imposed the remaining U.S. sanctions previously lifted under the nuclear deal. We hope this focuses minds in Tehran on the need to end its destabilizing conduct and return to the negotiating table as quickly as possible. As President Trump has made clear, we look forward to concluding a comprehensive agreement with Iran that addresses the totality of our concerns, and fully reintegrates Iran politically and economically into the international community. To achieve this goal, Iran must be willing to change its behavior, and to take lasting steps that demonstrate that its nuclear program will forever remain exclusively peaceful.

Three years ago, the Director General assessed that Iran previously pursued “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” as part of a “coordinated effort.” This former nuclear weapons program was clear enough then, and in reviewing Iran’s nuclear weapons file today, seized from Iran earlier this year, the previous military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program are even clearer now. Iran carefully maintained these files for years, despite the assurances it made under the JCPOA that it would never pursue a nuclear weapon. The troubling question remains of why Iran sought to preserve this information and expertise, underscoring the key weakness of temporary restrictions in the deal. Iran must end its longstanding efforts to deny and conceal the reality of its former nuclear weapons program, and return to the negotiating table to finally resolve these issues. The facts of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program must be addressed in a clear and straightforward manner, without further lies and deception.

Madam Chair,

Nothing short of full Iranian cooperation will allow the IAEA to assure the international community that Iran is upholding its obligations and commitments. As the Director General has made clear, the Agency has the authority to request information or access to any relevant location in Iran – civil or military – if it has credible need to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities. Iran remains obligated to address any such issues to the IAEA’s satisfaction, and must fully cooperate with the IAEA’s safeguards efforts. It is regrettable that Iran’s grudging cooperation forces the Director General to repeatedly remind us that “timely and proactive cooperation by Iran” facilitates its work and “enhances confidence.” Such cooperation must be the norm.

We welcome the Director General’s statement that the IAEA continues to evaluate Iran’s declarations under the Additional Protocol, and confirmation that it has conducted complementary access inspections under the Additional Protocol to all sites and locations in Iran that its inspectors needed to visit. As is standard for all countries with the Additional Protocol, the IAEA has the authority to request access to any location in Iran to verify Iran’s declarations under its Additional Protocol and Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement when a question or inconsistency has arisen. Iran must fully cooperate with all IAEA requests for such information and access, and all nuclear-related activities in Iran must be fully consistent with Iran’s safeguards obligations.

The IAEA has a fundamental responsibility to pursue any new concern about undeclared nuclear material or safeguards-relevant activities in all states under IAEA safeguards, and we have full confidence in the Agency and its highly skilled and professional inspectors to do so appropriately. In Iran, the IAEA maintains its full safeguards authorities to investigate any new question or concern regarding Iran’s nuclear activities, including any issue that may reduce the Agency’s confidence in its previous assessments and assurances.

In this context, and according to standard safeguards practices, we support the IAEA’s continued, careful assessment of the nuclear archive materials from Iran’s past nuclear weapons program. We have the highest confidence that the Agency will independently and professionally review these materials, in combination with all other available information, to appropriately inform its monitoring and verification activities in Iran. Consistent with its mandate, the IAEA must continue to review and act upon credible, safeguards-relevant information that raises a safeguards-relevant question or inconsistency. It is only by such action, and Iran’s cooperation with any such requests, that international confidence can be established and maintained in support of a diplomatic resolution to the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

Madam Chair,

We have long underscored the importance of sustained efforts by the IAEA to fulfill its crucial monitoring role in Iran, and the need for the necessary resources to carry out these important tasks. The United States welcomes the numerous pledges of financial support for the IAEA’s verification and monitoring efforts in Iran, as well as the integration of appropriate verification costs into the regular budget. We must continue to ensure that the IAEA’s vital responsibilities in Iran never detract from the Agency’s other essential tasks globally in safeguards, security, safety, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

With these comments, the United States welcomes the Director General’s report contained in document GOV/2018/47, and requests that the report be made public.

Thank you.