France, Germany and the United Kingdom would like to thank Director General Grossi for his latest report contained in GOV/2022/4 and Deputy Director General Aparo for his Technical Briefing. We commend the Agency for its reporting, despite the limitations placed on its activities in Iran, and support its independence.
We note with concern that, since the last Board of Governors in November, Iran has continued to advance its nuclear programme by developing its stockpile of enriched uranium and conducting activities that provide permanent and irreversible knowledge gains. Iran’s nuclear programme has never before been this advanced, and is exposing the international community to unprecedented levels of risk.
In particular, Iran has nearly doubled its stockpile of Highly Enriched Uranium since the last Board and has begun to convert this material into Highly Enriched Uranium targets over the last two weeks.
Iran has also continued to stockpile 20% enriched uranium, and since the last Board, has begun to operate a cascade of advanced IR-6 centrifuges to do so at the underground Fordow facility. Iran has no plausible civilian justification for 20% and 60% enrichment and the production of Highly Enriched Uranium is unprecedented for a State without a weapons programme. Accumulation of uranium enriched at 20% and 60% is further reducing the time Iran would take to break out towards a first nuclear weapon. Iran’s R&D on, and extensive use of, advanced centrifuges have permanently improved its enrichment capabilities. This means that Iran’s continued escalations are irreversibly reducing the non-proliferation value of the JCPoA.
The IAEA has also been without crucial access to data on centrifuge and component manufacturing for over a year since Iran stopped implementing verification and monitoring arrangements agreed in the JCPoA, and suspended implementation of the Additional Protocol. The Agency reports that verification and monitoring activities have been seriously affected as a result of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPoA.
The E3/EU+3 have been engaged in intensive negotiations with Iran for eleven months. We are now very close to finalising a deal that would address our most pressing and immediate non-proliferation concerns, returning Iran’s nuclear programme to JCPoA limits as well as restoring JCPoA transparency measures and Iran’s implementation of the Additional Protocol. The rate of advances in Iran’s nuclear programme means this deal cannot remain on the table indefinitely. The window of opportunity is closing. We call on all sides to make the decisions necessary to close this deal now, and on Russia not to add extraneous conditions to its conclusion.
We strongly urge Iran to avoid undertaking any new escalations and in particular, call upon Iran to immediately cease all activity related to conversion of Highly Enriched Uranium, which will have practical implications for returning to JCPoA limits. We urge Iran to prepare to take steps towards reimplementation of the JCPoA, including by: firstly, ceasing the production of high enriched uranium and any enrichment above JCPoA limits; secondly, preparing to dispose of its stockpile of enriched uranium in excess of JCPoA limits; thirdly, returning enrichment capacities and R&D to agreed limits; fourthly, stopping all activities related to the production of uranium metal; and fifthly, restoring full transparency and cooperation with the IAEA.
We reiterate that Iran must cooperate with the IAEA and enable the Agency to restore continuity of knowledge over its nuclear programme, enhancing the Agency’s ability to resume verification and monitoring, and provide full and effective assurance to the international community over the peaceful nature of Iran’s programme. We commend the IAEA for its objective reporting, and its rigorous and impartial implementation of the mandate conferred on it by the United Nations Security Council, and we encourage the Director General to keep the Board informed regarding progress on monitoring and verification in Iran in all its aspects. We would welcome the Agency’s latest quarterly report on monitoring and verification in Iran be made public.
Thank you Chair.