IAEA BoG – U.S. on Verification and Monitoring in Iran

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 3: Verification and Monitoring in Iran in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2231

U.S. statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, November 24, 2021

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman,

The United States extends its appreciation to the Director General (DG), the Deputy DG for Safeguards, and their staff for their continued dedication and professionalism in carrying out the Agency’s critical responsibilities in Iran. We similarly appreciate the DG’s November 17 report on verification and monitoring in Iran and the Secretariat’s tireless efforts in pursuit of its critical verification mandate in Iran. The DG’s thorough, factual, and timely reporting on these matters remains essential for establishing international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Chair,

As the DG’s latest report documents, Iran continues to undertake significant expansions of its nuclear program beyond Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limits. Continued nuclear escalations take us further away from a return to mutual JCPOA compliance — not closer to it.

Importantly, as Secretary Blinken has made clear, all participants should be realistic that the opportunity to return to full mutual compliance with the JCPOA — will not last forever. We urge Iran to move toward, and not further away from, the diplomatic solution it says it seeks.

The United States, in close coordination with our allies and partners, remains steadfast in our commitment to achieving a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy and a vital instrument in addressing the international community’s longstanding concerns with Iran’s nuclear program.

As we look to the resumption of JCPOA discussions on November 29, we continue to pursue these goals in good faith and have made clear we are prepared to lift all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA if Iran resumes compliance with all of its commitments under the deal, and, let me say, Mr. Chair, that President Biden is committed to stay in full compliance with the JCPOA so long as Iran does the same.

Mr. Chairman,

The United States commends the Director General and his team for their continued efforts to engage Tehran on JCPOA-related verification and monitoring issues, as well as on the urgent and outstanding safeguards concerns that we will address later in this agenda.

Given these good faith efforts on the part of the DG, it is extremely disappointing that Iran has failed to fully uphold all the understandings reflected in the September 12 Joint Statement with respect to temporary JCPOA monitoring measures. Resumption of mutual compliance with the JCPOA will be increasingly difficult the longer the gap in continuity of knowledge regarding key JCPOA commitments. In particular, Iran must permit the IAEA to install replacement cameras to monitor centrifuge component manufacturing at the Karaj complex immediately and should clarify the status of the missing data storage medium and recording unit previously reported by the DG.

We encourage the DG’s continued efforts to install replacement cameras at Karaj and request that he provide a timely update to the Board following any additional engagement with Tehran on this critical issue. IAEA verification is the foundation upon which any mutual return to JCPOA compliance must be built. We welcome the DG’s strong and continued efforts to maintain that foundation – but the onus must be on Tehran to provide the necessary cooperation.

Mr. Chair,

As the Director General’s November 17 and interim reports make clear, Iran’s escalatory advances beyond JCPOA limits continue unabated. Iran continues to install and operate numbers and types of centrifuges not permitted under the deal, and to produce quantities and enrichment levels of uranium far beyond the JCPOA’s limits. It is very troubling that Iran continues work with uranium metal – including the production of metal enriched to 20 percent U-235 – and continues to use advanced centrifuges for producing uranium enriched to 60 percent U-235, a level far beyond Iran’s needs. Iran has no credible, peaceful need to undertake these activities, which have direct relevance to nuclear weapons development. We note with particular concern Iran’s own statements that only countries with nuclear weapons have taken such steps with respect to enrichment.

If Iran is genuinely interested in a mutual return to compliance with the deal, it should stop taking provocative steps that far exceed the JCPOA’s limits. Instead, we urge Iran to implement the verification and monitoring measures included in the deal, including by fully implementing the Additional Protocol, which will facilitate a faster return to mutual compliance. We likewise urge Iran to adopt a constructive approach aimed at achieving a mutual return to full compliance, including the lifting of sanctions provided for under the deal, as quickly as possible.

Mr. Chairman,

We have long highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate resources in support of the IAEA’s essential verification and monitoring role in Iran. We welcome the continued contributions of financial support for these important efforts and we were pleased to announce earlier this year the latest U.S. contribution to help ensure requisite funding into 2022 and beyond. Our longstanding financial support reflects the importance of the IAEA’s essential verification work in Iran. It is our sincere hope that achieving a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA will lead to expanded work for the IAEA in resuming the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the deal. We fully intend to join with other Member States to ensure the IAEA continues to have the necessary resources for this important mission.

With these comments, Mr. Chair, the United States appreciates the DG’s report contained in document GOV/2021/51, as well as the DG’s interim reports contained in GOV/INF/2021 documents 43 and 44. We request that these reports be made public, consistent with longstanding practice, so there may be a clear understanding of the facts reported by the Director General.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.