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Topnews, Statements

18. June 2020

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 18 JUNE 2020, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 6 (E): NPT SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENT WITH THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

Madame Chair,

We commend the Director General, his entire Team and in particular the safeguards department for acting and carrying out their legally bestowed duties without fear or favour and with the utmost professionalism.

The majority of states who are members of this organization joined because they want to see weapons of mass destruction wiped off the world, so we have entrusted you DG and Team to lead us to that objective. In the meantime, we have mandated you to ensure that out of the known possessors of these deadly weapons, nobody else acquires them, hence the verification and monitoring that is carried out is one of the most important pillars of your work. South Africa is firm and principled on this position. We emphasize that no country should, especially those that have Voluntarily signed up to inspection and verification regimes, deny the Agency the ability to carry out its work.

Those among us whose stated intent is to exercise our inalienable right to utilize the Atom for peaceful purposes should not have any hesitation to open ourselves to inspection and verification by the Agency for as long as our trust and belief in the  Agency’s integrity and impartiality is sound. Our understanding is that the purpose of inspections is to establish facts and the truth that no disallowed nuclear activity is undertaken that could lead to weapons making, and that it is not to find fault. However, if there is a shortcoming, the aim is to assist in correcting and improving, as well as to learn from good practices, which are important to be shared with member States. Punitive measures cannot be the motive and should be the last thing we even think about.

The report we are now considering raises very serious and alarming concerns that the Board and the Agency cannot ignore, especially because we have been dealing with this same matter for a prolonged period. We are encouraged that the Agency sees no threat or proliferation so far.  South Africa therefore calls upon both Iran and the Agency to cooperate and to speedily resolve this matter with the aim of removing it from the Agenda of the Board, in this current format. We welcome the commitment of Iran to do its part and commend the DG and team for their patience in closing this matter urgently.

With these remarks, South Africa takes note of the report of the Director General.

Thank You.

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