Topnews, Statements

07. June 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 7 JUNE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 7: VERIFICATION AND MONITORING IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN IN LIGHT OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 2231 (2015)

Mr Chairperson

South Africa wishes to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for the Report before us and the various information documents distributed in the interim since the last meeting of the Board in March. Please be assured, Director General, of my delegation’s full support in the increasingly difficult task you have to execute on behalf of the international community.

When the Board met in March it was with great optimism that an agreement on the restoration of the JCPOA was imminent; and that Iran would return to full compliance with the nuclear related commitments and the United States would return to the agreement and end the punishing and unfair sanctions regime it had implemented thus reinstating the economic benefits of the JCPOA.

However, here we are three months later and the prospects for the negotiations to be concluded, and the agreement restored, look grim and bleak.

This situation is a source of great disappointment for South Africa. We reiterate  that the JCPOA is a central agreement to the global non-proliferation regime and thus central to the maintenance of international peace and security.

The JCPOA assigned the IAEA with special verification duties to ensure that the nuclear commitments of Iran, contained in the agreement, is fully implemented. The agreement places limitations on Iran’s nuclear programme to enhance our trust that there are no ulterior plans with regard to the use of nuclear energy, science and technology, in that country.  The agreement was necessary in 2015, and as we can see from the deeply troubling developments in the Report, it is necessary today. The JCPOA was not one-sided because in return for its nuclear compliance, Iran would be reintegrated into the global economy, and the punitive measures Iran’s people were suffering from because of concerns over the country’s nuclear programme, would be lifted.

After several years of successful implementation and Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA, the previous US administration took the senseless, irresponsible and unjustifiable decision to withdraw from the very successful JCPOA and re-introduced unilateral sanctions. This ultimately brought the JCPOA to the brink of collapse.

It was therefore no surprise that Iran eventually decided to suspend its compliance with the limitations placed on its nuclear programme.  As we have stated before, my delegation is most troubled by Iran’s suspension of the transparency measures under the JCPOA, as well as stopping the provisional implementation of the Additional Protocol, which predates the JCPOA, and the implementation of Modified Code 3.1, an entire section to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

With negotiations stalled, apparently on issues not related to the JCPOA, it seems the prospects for the full restoration of the JCPOA are slim. All the while the troubling developments in Iran’s nuclear programme continue and the stockpile of enriched material grows, including that of highly enriched of uranium (HEU).  The concern of the Board and the international community is justified.

In our previous statements we have called on both the United States and Iran to take confidence-building measures, such as the suspension of some sanctions and the suspension of the production of HEU, respectively. We now want to also urge the parties to meet face-to-face. Taking a cue from the wise words of President Mandela when he said : “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” 

We therefore call on Iran, the US, and all the other parties of the JCPOA to refocus their attention and to recommit to finalise their mutual return to full compliance of this critical agreement.

Time is of the essence to save the JCPOA.

I thank you.

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