Topnews, Statements

09. March 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 9 MARCH 2022, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 4: VERIFICATION AND MONITORING IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN IN LIGHT OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 223 (2015)

Mr Chairperson

We thank the Director General for the report and for keeping the Board updated about developments in Iran regarding its nuclear related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

South Africa is also grateful for your personal efforts as well as those of your team, to continue direct engagement with the Iranian authorities to ensure that the Agency sustains its continuity of knowledge in light of the steps taken by Iran to suspend the transparency measures of the JCPOA. My delegation especially welcomes the agreement reached to reinstall monitoring equipment at the Karaj centrifuge facilities as well as the fact that the IAEA was able to move this equipment to Esfahan, upon the move of the facility. These steps are signs of good will and intention to continue and strengthen cooperation in light of the imminent deal towards the restoration of the JCPOA.

Mr Chairperson

South Africa is disappointed that we are not yet in a position to welcome the conclusion of the nearly year-long discussions on the full reinstatement of the JCPOA. In our view these talks have taken too long especially because Iran’s breaches of its nuclear related commitments have continued unabated. We are especially concerned about the huge stockpile of uranium that has been accumulated as well as the fact that the stockpile contains material enriched up to 20% and 60%.

There is no doubt that Iran’s nuclear programme has increased substantial in size since the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2018, making regional and the global stability more fragile. We do however, welcome the current US Administration’s commitment to stay the course and to engage in good faith in negotiations to pave the way for its return to the JCPOA.

Mr Chairperson

My delegation is acutely aware of the hard work that lies ahead for the IAEA when a deal is reached to undertake verification of Iran’s accounting and control of its entire stockpile, the level of enrichment and type of material of the stockpile, the number of centrifuges it has developed and all other material and facilities related to the nuclear fuel cycle. Major steps are required for Iran to return to the limitations of the JCPOA. Equally daunting will be the task to verify the uplifting of the far reaching United States illegal maximum pressure campaign and to return the balance of economic benefit of the deal. South Africa wants to reiterate its strong support to all sides in their endeavours to not only finalise the deal, but to also prepare for the re-implementation of the deal.

As we meet here today, the global peace, stability and security is in a far worse state than it was a mere three months ago. The finalisation of the JCPOA, is desperately needed to not only stabilise the Middle East region, but also as a sign of hope that dialogue and engagement is far better than the alternative. No matter how long it takes or how many stumbling blocks are in the way, dialogue and diplomacy always triumph.

No one can ever tell a South African, that dialogue and negotiated settlements are hopeless.  We therefore call on the parties to stay engaged and to push for the finalisation of the agreement to return the JCPOA to its rightful place as a key instrument in global non-proliferation and disarmament.

With these remarks South Africa takes note of the reports by the Director General on this important topic.

I thank you

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