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

Board Room at the IAEA Board of Governors

U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 6: Verification and Monitoring in Iran

Vienna, September 12, 2018


The United States welcomes the Director General’s August 30 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 Director General’s thorough and professional reporting on Iran’s nuclear activities is essential for the Board to accurately assess 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. The Secretariat can continue to count on the full support of the United States as it implements the Agency’s mandate in Iran.

On May 8, President Trump announced that the United States was ending U.S. participation in the JCPOA because the deal ultimately failed to protect the American people, our allies, and our partners in the region from Iran’s continued aggressive and destabilizing behavior. Unfortunately, this behavior got worse under the deal, not better. Since the conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015, Iran deepened its support for militants and proxies in the region, continued its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles, and further undermined the human rights of its people.

We regret that the JCPOA did not put us on a path to addressing Iran’s malign conduct. It also did not put a nuclear weapons capability permanently out of reach. Instead, it delayed an unacceptable expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, a program that the Director General assessed in December 2015 had previously included “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” As we now know, Israel has obtained Iran’s own files, files that are being shared with the IAEA and that appear to plainly expose Iran’s longstanding efforts to deny and conceal the previous military dimensions of its nuclear program.

Looking forward, President Trump made clear that the United States is ready, willing, and able to negotiate a new and better deal that comprehensively addresses our concerns, and fully reintegrates Iran politically and economically into the community of nations. In order to achieve this goal however, Iran must be willing to change its behavior, and to take lasting steps that demonstrate once and for all that its nuclear program will forever remain exclusively peaceful.

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.

In addition, we welcome the IAEA’s request for clarifications under the Additional Protocol regarding Iran’s plans relevant to the development of the nuclear fuel cycle, including research and development activities for naval nuclear propulsion. Iran must fully cooperate with all IAEA requests for information and access regarding such plans, and all nuclear-related activities must be fully consistent with Iran’s safeguards obligations.

Nothing short of full Iranian cooperation will allow the IAEA to assure the international community that Iran is upholding its obligations and commitments. The Director General should not have to routinely appeal for “timely and proactive cooperation by Iran.” Such cooperation must be the norm. As the Director General has made clear, the Agency has the authority to request additional information or access to any relevant location in Iran – civilian or military – if it has credible need to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities.

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. Iran remains obligated to address any such issues to the IAEA’s satisfaction. Any new concern of undeclared nuclear material or safeguards-relevant activities can and must be pursued by the IAEA, and we have full confidence in the Agency and its highly skilled and professional inspectors to do so appropriately.

It is in this context, and according to standard safeguards practices, that we support the IAEA’s careful assessment of the newly acquired archive materials from Iran’s past nuclear weapons program. The existence alone of the archive demonstrates that Iran sought to preserve the information and expertise from that past 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. As the United States noted when we joined consensus on the December 2015 Board resolution on verification and monitoring in Iran, the IAEA must continue to review and act upon any new safeguards-relevant information it receives and judges sufficiently credible to raise a safeguards-relevant question or inconsistency.

We have long underscored the importance of robust and sustained efforts by the IAEA to continue to fulfill capably its monitoring role on the ground 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 have consistently made clear that the IAEA’s responsibilities in Iran must not 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 expresses appreciation for the Director General’s report contained in document GOV/2018/33, and requests that the report be made public.

Thank you, Chair.