Topnews, Statements

16. September 2020


Agenda Item 8: Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) (GOV/2020/41 and GOV/INF/2020/10)

Madam Chair,

South Africa joins others in thanking the Director General and the Secretariat for the report before us. My delegation also takes note of the interim report released in July 2020 on enrichment related activities at the Natanz facility.

At the outset, South Africa reiterates its belief in the importance of multilateral diplomacy as the cornerstone of international relations. Upholding this principle would enhance the global non-proliferation regime and reinforce the work of the Agency in this critically important area. All the remaining signatories to the JCPoA should continue to ensure that the Joint Commission lives up to its historic role and potential. Any failure of the JCPoA would lead to a major dent in our collective efforts to build a resilient global nuclear non-proliferation architecture. For any agreement to be sustainable, it needs the commensurate efforts of all its stakeholders.

South Africa is pleased that the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to extend the necessary transparency measures and continues to provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement in accordance with Article 17 (b) of the Additional Protocol, pending its entry into force.

However, my delegation has noted with concern the continued increase of enrichment activities in Iran, including the significant increase of the stockpile of enriched uranium above the limitations of the JCPoA. South Africa calls on Iran to return to full compliance with the agreement.

We acknowledge that all states have the inalienable right to the peaceful use of the atom, we are all obliged to use the atom responsibly and to comply with agreements we entered into freely and willingly.

Madame Chair

The situation we find ourselves in is a direct consequence of the unwarranted and destructive unilateral actions of one delegation, which has redoubled its maximum pressure campaign over the past number of months, despite near universal condemnation of this divisive approach. The JCPOA was a breakthrough in multilateralism and should be respected by all Member States even more so because UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) made it part of international law.

Similarly, South Africa is of the firm view that Iran deserves to be compensated for the economic benefits as provided for under the JCPoA. Unfortunately, the implementation of these have been erratic and painfully slow. We reiterate our support for INSTEX, which has conducted its first transactions in March 2020. However, as welcome as this development may be, more should be done, especially by the European signatories to the agreement, to make up for the damage done to Iran’s economy.

In conclusion, South Africa reiterates its strong support for the IAEA and the professional and impartial manner in which it conducts its work in support of the JCPOA. We commend the Agency’s resistance to political and other external influences in its work.  My delegation is pleased to note that the report again states that the IAEA has not seen a decline in its cooperation with Iran and that despite the serious outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, the Agency has been able to continue to conduct all its verification activities.

With these brief remarks, my delegation takes note of the Director General’s reports contained in documents GOV/INF/2020/10 and GOV/2020/41.

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