E3 Statement at the IAEA Board of Governors on verification and monitoring in Iran (JCPoA), September 2021
Thank you Madame Chair,
France, Germany and the United Kingdom would like to thank DG Grossi for his latest report contained in GOV/2021/39 and DDG Aparo for the Technical Briefing. We commend the Agency for its timely, independent and objective reporting.
As E3 we remain fully supportive and are committed to the negotiation process undertaken by all JCPoA participants and the United States in Vienna, focussed on facilitating a return of the US to the deal, bringing Iran back into full compliance with its commitments and restoring the benefits of the JCPoA for all. We strongly encourage Iran to urgently seize this diplomatic opportunity.
At the same time, we are deeply concerned by Iran’s continued violations of its nuclear-related commitments, and recent escalations. Since the last Board of Governors in June, Iran has continued to conduct unauthorised activities with uranium metal and has, for the first time, produced uranium metal enriched to 20%.
Iran has no plausible civilian reason for such activity, which provides weapons-applicable knowledge gain. Iran should halt the production of uranium metal immediately.
Iran has also started the process of doubling its production rate of High Enriched Uranium since the Board last convened. The production of HEU is unprecedented in a non-nuclear weapons state. This is profoundly concerning, as it represents a critical step for nuclear weapons production and provides irreversible nuclear weapons–related knowledge gains. We hope this Board can stand united in calling on Iran to immediately stop the production of HEU.
Iran has also continued to stockpile uranium enriched to 20%. Iran has made significant efforts to convert its stockpile of Low Enriched Uranium enriched up to 5% to 20%. This in addition to 60% production also significantly reduces the time it would take for Iran to obtain fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s continued development of powerful, advanced centrifuges is permanently improving the country’s enrichment capabilities. Iran has installed and is operating advanced centrifuges on a mass scale. Iran continues to enhance its enrichment capacity by installing greater numbers of advanced centrifuges, including at the underground Fordow facility. We strongly urge Iran to cease these activities.
Collectively, these steps present a pressing nuclear proliferation risk, have irreversible consequences for Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the JCPoA. It is particularly regrettable that Iran has deepened its systematic violations of the JCPoA at a time when all JCPoA participants and the United States are engaged in substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a diplomatic solution to restore the JCPoA. We urge Iran to cease further escalation, and to constructively reengage in negotiations without further delay.
In this context, we are concerned by the continued limits placed on the IAEA’s monitoring and surveillance activities in Iran. Iran needs to restore all accesses by resuming its provisional application of the Additional Protocol and reinstating all JCPoA-related transparency provisions in full, thereby allowing the IAEA unimpeded access to all sites and activities the Agency requires according to its reporting mandate. By limiting accesses whilst simultaneously escalating its nuclear programme, Iran is making it harder for the international community to be assured about the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. We know that our very serious concerns about Iran’s actions are widely shared among members of this Board.
We appreciate the intense efforts of the IAEA Director General to engage with Iran. We welcome the joint statement between the Director General of the IAEA and the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran issued on 12 September, which confirms the IAEA’s inspectors will be permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media which will be kept under the joint IAEA and AEOI seals in Iran. It is important that Iran implements this agreement without delay.
We once again thank the IAEA for its accurate reporting, despite the limitations placed on its activities, and welcome the most rigorous and impartial implementation of the mandate conferred on it by the United Nations Security Council.
We encourage the DG to keep the Board informed regarding progress on monitoring and verification in Iran in all its aspects. It is important that the Board continues to monitor the situation closely. We would welcome the Agency’s latest quarterly report on monitoring and verification in Iran being made public.