Jun 18, 2020, 10:07 PM
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Envoy reaffirms Iran’s principal policy of cooperation with IAEA

London, June 18, IRNA -- Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based international organizations Kazem Gharibabadi in a statement on Thursday hailed the country's cooperation with the IAEA, saying that the current extensive level of cooperation between them has not been achieved easily, just to be diminished by imprudent political interests.

Addressing a quarterly meeting of IAEA board of governors on Thursday, he added that Iran acknowledges the rights of the Agency for raising legitimate questions, seeking clarifications or requesting for access in line with its mandate and in accordance with the approved procedures, while it also underlines its rights as a Member State to seek for underlying reasons and supporting documents and argumentations from the Agency in this regard, he said.

Full text of the statement reads as follows:

"In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Madam Chairperson,

Director General,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before beginning to deliver my statement, I would like to register the Islamic Republic of Iran’s serious concern about the possibility that the confidentiality of this meeting be compromised. Technical experts warned that undoubtedly, in this format, there is now no control over who is listening, who is recording, and who is divulging the confidential information. Let me also put on record that, just in case, the Secretariat shall be held accountable for any consequences as a result of not complying strictly with the principles of confidentiality, while Member States’ responsibility should not be ignored as well, specifically considering that such confidential information was leaked to the media and even released by some institutes. It is important that the Agency take appropriate measures to ensure protection of the confidentiality of information, including when such information is made available to the Member States.

Following the release of the current report of the DG on Friday 5 June 2020, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran has shared some preliminary comments on this, which was circulated as INFCIRC936 on 9th of June 2020.

Madam Chairperson,

The current extensive level of cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Agency has not been achieved easily, just to be diminished by imprudent political interests. I would like to shed some light on the most important aspects of this cooperation:

* As a result of the JCPOA, Iran implements Additional Protocol provisionally and voluntarily;

* Iran, alone, with 432 inspections in 2019, receives more than 20 percent of the Agency’s total inspections at the global level;

* Iran has granted 33 Complementary Accesses in 2019, which amounts to 73 percent of the Agency’s total CAs among States with CSA and AP in force without Broader Conclusions (62 States);

* The share of Iran’s inspections in the period of 2010 to 2019 has increased from 4 to 20 percent at the global level, and almost 7 inspectors are constantly present in Iran per day throughout the year;

* Despite difficulties the Agency faced in several States on the safeguards implementation during COVID-19 era, as reported by the DG, verification activities in Iran have been continued on a non-stop basis even by supporting charter flights, which the Agency described it as an exceptional cooperation;

* While Iran ceased the implementation of some of its commitments under the JCPOA, the Agency’s verification activities have not been affected by such remedial measures.

Madam Chairperson,

I would like to reaffirm Iran’s principal policy to engage and cooperate with the Agency in line with its obligations under the Safeguards Agreements. In view of this, the Islamic Republic of Iran acknowledges the Rights of the Agency for raising legitimate questions, seeking clarifications or requesting for access in line with its mandate and in accordance with the approved procedures, while it also underlines its rights as a Member State to seek for underlying reasons and supporting documents and argumentations from the Agency in this regard.

Iran also believes that the obligations of Member States, which reflect the Rights of the Agency, are not unlimited and are defined within the framework of the relevant instruments. The Rights of the Agency and the obligations of its Member States are two sides of a coin which are supposed to be mutually reinforcing. “Undermining the Rights of the Agency” should not be an option, nor should it be “undermining the rights of a Member State."

Madam Chairperson,

On two requests of the Agency for access, let me brief the room on the developments since March 2020. Iran continued its constructive engagement with the Agency during past two months with a view to reach a common understanding on different aspects of the requests to pave the way for finding a solution.

In this regard, two rounds of discussions were held in Tehran on 29 April and 16 May 2020, between relevant authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA delegation headed by DDG for Safeguards, during which the two sides entered into substantive discussions on how to address the issues in a professional and conducive manner.

Iran has explicitly raised two main ambiguities and concerns, which are legal and legitimate, and completely in accordance with the provisions of CSA and AP. First, the requests by the IAEA are based on invalid and safeguards-irrelevant information which are neither publicly available (open-source information), nor valid and verifiable. Needless to say that, any information claimed to be obtained through so-called secret operation or intelligence activities and any subsequent use of them as basis for the requests are not consistent with the Agency’s Statute, thus should not have any status in the verification activities process and does not create any obligation for Iran as well. Regarding the provided information attached to the letter of 21 May 2020 of the Agency, it is emphasized that the satellite imageries presented accordingly do not contain reasonable information which could be the basis for substantiation of the Agency’s requests.

It is evident that the Agency lacks enough reasonable argumentations, for instance its report is replete with phrases such as “possible presence”, “possible use or storage”, and “possible … conduct of nuclear related activities."

Second, Iran has also expressed its serious concerns over attempts to open an endless process of verifying and cleaning-up of ever-continuing fabricated allegations. It is noteworthy that all outstanding past issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program have been considered and closed by the Board resolution 2015/72 on 15 December 2015. In this context, I would like to express Iran’s concerns and strong opposition over the intentions to change the gear to re-open, under different pretexts, the past allegations which have already been closed.

Considering the above-mentioned legal ambiguities and concerns which still need further clarification, Iran has invited the Deputy Director General for Safeguards to Tehran for further discussions or hold a meeting in Vienna with Iranian delegation at the earliest time convenient for the Agency. In this context, and given the extensive cooperation between Iran and the Agency and significant amount of verification activities going on in Iran, its position on such non-urgent issue should not be called as “denial."

Madam Chairperson,

While Iran expressed its readiness to continue its consultations with the Agency with a view to settle the thematic differences and resolve the issues at hand as soon as possible, the release of the current report by the Director General is received with deep regret and disappointment. While SIR 2019 enumerates various difficulties in the implementation of safeguards in several States, it is paradoxical that the Agency behaves in a way as if there is no other issue rather to report on Iran. We consider this way of conduct neither impartial nor professional, but a double-standard.

If one could look at the developments after March around these two issues, it is clear that a good progress was made, and it is unfair and non-factual to say that we are still at the same place as before. Needless to say that, Iran stated its willingness “to satisfy the Agency’s requests as it did in the past” even before this Board’s meeting, when its two main concerns are addressed. However, ignorance of the legitimate concerns raised, non-provision of underlying reasons to justify such requests, and seeking systematically and mechanistically for access by the Agency, should have not been an option.

As the distinguished delegates may remind, it was stated in the Technical Briefings that these allegations date back to more than 17 years ago, have not been proved, do not enjoy any urgency, and do not pose any risk of proliferation; it was also said that one of the two locations is a farm and the other a desert. Possibly you may ask why Iran does not grant access to the two locations automatically. The answer is clear: as a matter of sovereignty, no country opens its territory to the inspections only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy, even if it is evident that the result of which will prove those allegations to be false. I would like to ask the Member States to put themselves in our shoes and see if they are ready simply to engage with the Agency every now and then based on unsubstantiated allegations made by their adversaries!?

Madam Chairperson,

Since the report of the Director General also refers to the uranium metal production experiments carried out at JHL, I would like to inform that the Agency has totally disregarded all past relevant verification activities including its previous report on the reevaluation and assessment regarding possible discrepancy, documented as GOV/2015/68.

This report affirms that {and I quote}: “Agency re-evaluated this information in 2014 and assessed that the amount of natural uranium involved was within the uncertainties associated with nuclear material accountancy and related measurements” (and I unquote). It should be also added that the relevant material of the project is kept under the Agency’s seal since the first day of verification in 2003.

Madam Chairperson,

Let me emphasize once again that the current level of cooperation between Iran and the Agency is exemplary, some of the aspects of which I have elucidated here in my statement. It is upon all of us to be the guardian of such a source of pride for all, including the Agency and the Member States. And, we should stand united against those who wish to destroy this for scoring purely short-sighted political points. This responsibility cannot be shouldered by Iran alone, and it is upon all of us to bear the brunt of any negative impacts if it is derailed. Merely saying that the issues related to the Safeguards are separate from the JCPOA is totally wrong. One should not forget that the extensive amount of complementary accesses and inspections in Iran are conducted as a result of provisional and voluntary application of the AP under the JCPOA. Even these two requests by the Agency for access are made thanks to such an application.

To conclude, Madam Chairperson, many, including the Secretariat are saying that respecting the mandate of the Agency and the safeguards regime should not be compromised.

The Islamic Republic of Iran agrees with this principle wholeheartedly, and believes that the secretariat itself as the custodian of this holy shrine, should place itself at the forefront of this campaign by adhering strictly to the provisions of Statute of the Agency and the Safeguards Agreements. “Respect” and “trust” are established during times, but could be shattered in a matter of seconds. The Islamic Republic of Iran would like to reiterate its confidence that the implementation of the verification activities requires both sides to cooperate in good-faith. In view of this, Iran strongly calls upon the Secretariat and Members of the Agency to show wisdom and vigilance in dealing with this and avoid entering into any hasty proceedings. Any political approach or decision through abusing the Board will certainly undermine the current level of cooperation between Iran and the Agency, the responsibility and consequences of which will be upon its sponsors.

In this context, the Agency is highly requested to carry out its mandate in a professional, independent and impartial manner. Any undue pressure or interference in the Agency’s activities especially in its verification process, in pursuance of any political agenda, will jeopardize its efficiency and credibility, and is counterproductive, thus should be deplored and rejected.

Madam Chairperson,

I would like to put on record the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the draft resolution proposed by E2+1 (France, Germany and the UK) on the NPT Safeguards Agreement of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has the highest level of cooperation with the Agency and receives the highest level of complementary accesses amongst the Agency Member States.

Despite the fact that the Agency carries out more than 33 complementary accesses in Iran annually, aggrandization of the Agency’s two requests and attempts to create an unnecessary crisis in this regard, while Iran has principal concerns and ambiguities on this and the discussions are ongoing, is counterproductive. We expect that the Members of the Board recognize this level of cooperation between Iran and the Agency in order for maintaining the grounds for the continuation of such exemplary cooperation between the two.

In this context, Iran strongly deplores the move by the E3 to follow such a path which has nothing to do with the technical facts on the ground, but is the result of biased, non-professional and political agenda. The E3 States are expected to comply with their obligations under the JCPOA, than to complicate more the situation.

Let me emphasize once again, Madam Chairperson, that the current level of cooperation between Iran and the Agency is exemplary, on many aspects, some of which I have elucidated here in my statement. It is upon all of us to be the guardian of such a source of pride for all, including the Agency and the Member States. And, we should stand united against those who wish to destroy this for scoring purely political points. This responsibility cannot be shouldered by Iran alone, and it is upon all of us to bear the brunt of any negative impacts if it is derailed.

In view of this, Iran strongly urges the Members of the Agency to show wisdom and vigilance in dealing with this and requests to object to such an irresponsible act. We invite the Members of the Board to vote against the draft resolution which its main objective is to meet the political agenda of some.

Madam Chairperson,

Since some allegations were made under this agenda item, I feel obliged to react as follows:

1. The US does not shy to express publicly its intention to destroy the JCPOA. Iran has always underlined that the US continued destructive policies will be detrimental to the stability and security in the Middle East region and beyond. The unlawful coercive measures by the US administration against Iran allude to the fact that this administration shows zero respect for norms and principles of international law and relations. Transparent and constructive cooperation between Iran and the Agency during the past 4 years of life of the JCPOA was a serious blow to such US unlawful policies and shattered its hopes for attaining its illegitimate political objectives which was the collapse of the JCPOA. That is the main reason that in coalition with the Israeli regime they planned to take a different path but with the same political objective. In this new approach, they have raised seemingly some allegations which are actually re-opening of the past issues that were closed by the Board’s Resolution in 15 December 2015.

The Reports of the Agency testifies that Iran is compliant with all its commitments regarding non-proliferation, while the US didn’t even take a small step for the implementation of its obligation under Article VI of the NPT for nuclear disarmament. The US Nuclear Posture Review is also another evidence of the continuation of its aggressive nuclear approach. It has even used this weapon against another State, threatens the other countries with the possible use of it, is heavily investing in undermining multilateral frameworks, sanctions the officials of international organizations and courts if they are not walking in the same line as the US, opts out of the multilateral entities or cuts its contribution shares in some of them to intimidate them against the anti-US policies and measures. In this context, I would like to ask the Members of the Agency one serious question: who is honoring its international commitments, Iran or the US? We should not let the US to abuse the international organizations as a disposable political tool for its own one-sided interests. Unfortunately, the US is accustomed to such behavior and if any international organization tends to react otherwise in line with its mandate, it’ll be disposed with a famous phrase of Donald Trump “you are fired!"

2. Saudi Arabia complains about the transparency in Iran’s nuclear activities; isn’t it strange? The tail is wagging the dog! KSA, as a country with a very non-transparent nuclear program, might be able to buy silence for its current situation, but it cannot hide it forever. One does not need to go very far, just go and read the SIR 2019! KSA is a party to the NPT and has a bilateral Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) in force with the IAEA, but regrettably it still has a so-called Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) in force that exempts the country from the obligation of hosting IAEA safeguards inspections.

It is also regrettable that despite the Agency’s repeated requests for many years, KSA has not yet accepted the updated model SQP which limits the eligibility of states for the SQP.

And, sadly, this fact is not reported by the Agency to the Board yet, even in the midst of the perceived clear threat by the KSA official to obtain nuclear weapons. The Agency and its Member States must make it clear to Saudi Arabia that the international community will not tolerate any deviation from a peaceful nuclear program..

3. The Israeli regime delegate reiterated its baseless allegations. It is ridiculous that this regime which is not a member of any arms control and disarmament instruments, has not opened any of its nuclear installations to the Agency’s inspection, and possesses all categories of WMDs, asked Iran to cooperate closely with the Agency and provide it with access based on the allegations. This regime spared no efforts to aggrandize and manipulate this situation including through producing fabricated information to mislead the Agency and the public. The indefensible record of this regime in non-accession to and noncompliance with all international norms and standards in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament, leaves it with no option but to clean its dirty hands by blaming the others.

The representative of such a regime is in no position to preach others on something they do not respect themselves.

4. We are really wondering if Ukraine is genuine in its intervention on Iran’s related items! If our Ukrainian colleague could spare some time and take a look at the SIR 2019, it might have understood thus far that in case the Agency wanted to pursue strictly its impartiality and professionalism, it would have reported a change in Ukraine’s status with regard to the implementation of safeguards. There is no doubt that running against the wind would fan the flames of a fire.

I thank you Madam Chairperson.

8072**2050

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