Delivered on: 7 March 2023
Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered:
»E3 joint statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on Iran’s implementation of its nuclear commitments under the JCPoA«
On behalf of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, I thank Director General Grossi for his latest report contained in GOV/2023/8, and Deputy Director General Aparo for his Technical Briefing.
The E3 thank the Agency for its objective reporting of Iran’s nuclear programme and encourage the Director General to keep the Board informed of all activities, and on developments requiring clarification by Iran. We would like to express our appreciation for the Agency’s professional and impartial work, and in particular, inspections of Iran’s facilities.
We note that following discussions between the Director General and Vice-President Eslami, and that, due to the Director General’s efforts, a Joint Statement was agreed on 4 March where Iran agreed “on a voluntary basis” to “allow the IAEA to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities”. We also note that the Director General reported in his report GOV/2023/8 that Iran has agreed to facilitating an increase of the frequency and intensity of Agency verification activities.
We will hold Iran accountable for the prompt and full implementation of such agreed actions, considering the seriousness of the continued and increasingly severe escalation of its nuclear programme. These actions have moved Iran even further away from its 2015 commitments. The Director General reports that:
- Iran has continued expanding its stockpile of 5%, 20% and 60% enriched uranium to new extremes. The stockpile of 60% enriched uranium, which is of particular proliferation concern, is now more than two IAEA significant quantities, twice the amount of nuclear material from which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded.
- Iran continues to install new centrifuge cascades, including advanced centrifuges, in significant numbers. We are particularly worried about Iran’s announcements to install further advanced centrifuges and cascades at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. This would substantially increase Iran’s enrichment capacity at this former covert underground facility. Iran has no credible civilian justification for running an enrichment programme out of Fordow, given the fact that the facility is not suited to run any form of meaningful civil enrichment programme.
- We also reiterate our grave concern with the significant work on uranium metal previously reported, and associated critical irreversible knowledge gains. We reiterate our call on Iran not to commence any further work related to the production of uranium metal. Furthermore, a new issue has arisen with regards to a discrepancy, detected almost a year ago, between the amount of natural uranium from JHL declared by Iran and the amount verified by the Agency. Iran must clarify this without delay.
The E3 are especially alarmed by the recent sampling at Fordow, which showed the presence of HEU particles of uranium enriched to 83.7% U-235. This is significantly inconsistent with the level of enrichment declared by Iran and Iran has yet to convince us that this was due to its claimed ‘unintended fluctuations’. We call on Iran to fully cooperate with the Agency to provide technically credible explanations for the origin of these particles. This unprecedented enrichment at up to 83.7% U-235 is an extremely grave escalation which comes against the highly concerning backdrop of continued accumulation of high enriched uranium up to 60% and Iran continuing to expand its enrichment capabilities. There is no credible civilian justification for enrichment to this level in Iran. This step, along with Iran’s wider nuclear programme, brings Iran dangerously close to actual weapons-related activities. This further undermines Iran’s arguments that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes. We support the Director General continuing to regularly and fully report on this issue.
We also note with grave concern the centrifuge configuration changes made by Iran at Fordow without prior notice to the IAEA, and implemented a few hours after the Agency had carried out a site inspection on January 16. As the IAEA has confirmed, this is inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and undermines the Agency’s ability to implement effective safeguards measures at Iran’s nuclear facilities. We would also like to recall that Iran providing a revised DIQ and facilitating an increase of the frequency and intensity of Agency verification activities at FFEP does not address all our concerns. Iran is still using a configuration which enables it to quickly produce high enriched material at levels considerably over 60%, as demonstrated by the presence of particles of uranium enriched up to 83.7%.
The Director General states in his report that Iran’s decision to stop cooperating with the monitoring and verification activities agreed in the JCPoA means the Agency would no longer be able to re-establish continuity of knowledge even in the event of a full JCPoA resumption. Iran’s decision to remove Agency surveillance and monitoring equipment has had detrimental implications for the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. We urge Iran to re-install all equipment deemed necessary by the IAEA and to allow for the monitoring and verification of its nuclear programme as agreed in the JCPoA. It is of utmost importance that Iran implements in a timely manner the Joint Statement between the AEOI and the IAEA to allow the IAEA to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities. Iran should take the necessary steps to provide the Agency with the information necessary to rebuilding continuity of knowledge. This has become more necessary than ever given the increasing seriousness of Iran’s escalations.
The full range of findings outlined by the Director General’s report are alarming: Iran continues its unprecedented and grave nuclear escalation. There is no credible civilian justification in Iran for these activities, which are completely inconsistent with Iran’s JCPoA commitments. The presence of HEU particles of uranium enriched up to 83.7% U-235 at Fordow, as reported by the Agency, is a major escalatory step and is of extremely grave concern, as is the continued accumulation of high enriched uranium. Iran’s continued nuclear escalation raises further questions about the intent of Iran’s nuclear programme, which is a clear threat to regional and global security.
We strongly support the Director General continuing to regularly and fully report on this issue. We deeply regret that Iran did not accept the fair and balanced deal that the JCPoA Coordinator tabled in March and August last year, and instead chose to accelerate its programme. Iran bears full responsibility for this situation. We urge Iran to immediately stop and reverse its nuclear escalation, and allow for complete transparency with the IAEA by re-applying the Additional Protocol, as an important confidence-building step. We also recall that, under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, Iran is legally obliged to implement Modified Code 3.1. and cannot change its application or withdraw from it unilaterally.
We will continue consultations, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s unabated and dangerous nuclear escalation. We ask the Director General to keep the Board of Governors informed ahead of the June Board, and provide earlier updates as necessary, and would ask for this report to be made public.