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Topnews, Statements

08. June 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 8 JUNE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 8 (E): NPT SAFEGUARDS IN ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

Mr Chairperson

In considering this resolution and deciding our path, South Africa took a number of factors into account, namely balance, focus, timing and engagement, along with our well-known and established principled positions on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in general.

We believe that the text is balanced and focused on supporting the efforts of the Director General and the Secretariat to fulfil the IAEA’s non-proliferation mandate, as determined by international law, which it executes on our behalf.

It is now two years since the Board’s resolution called for Iran’s urgent cooperation to resolve the identified issues, sadly no significant progress has been made and South Africa finds no credible justification for this state of affairs. In our view Iran has been provided with ample time and opportunity to resolve these issues.We are convinced that the resolution we adopted today does not seek to advance a political agenda but critically, it is focused on strengthening global non-proliferation efforts.

Mr Chairperson

We reiterate that it is an individual Member State’s responsibility to provide guarantees to the international community that its nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. This is not only good practice, but in fact is a non-negotiable legal requirement on all State Parties of the NPT .

South Africa was very optimistic in March when the Joint Statement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA was reached. We were especially pleased that the statement included concrete steps with an agreed timeframe of implementation, aimed at closing the disputed issues at this meeting of the Board. Unfortunately, exactly the opposite has happened with little progress made.

Taking all these considerations into account we were compelled to vote in favour of the resolution not as punishment or malaise but as a gentle push and encouragement for Iran to fully cooperate and resolve these issues once and forever.

Mr Chair

It is incumbent on Iran to resolve these issues in spite the status of the JCPOA and we commend the commitment of the IAEA to stay the course until it can report to the Board that it is satisfied that the explanations provided are sufficient and technically credible. South Africa also strongly supports the commitment reflected in the resolution, to remove the item from the Board’s agenda as soon as the Director General reports that the Agency has no further questions and that the files can be closed – but this can only be done once Iran provides credible and verified explanations to the Secretariat and this is possible because this Board have all the confidence in the integrity, independence and impartiality of the DG and the Secretariat working together with Iran in consent.  We look forward to that day sooner rather than later.

I thank you

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