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Topnews, Statements

18. November 2020

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY DR. JOHNNY THABO PITSWANE, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 18 NOVEMBER 2020, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Agenda Item 3: Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015)

Madam Chair,

South Africa thanks the Director General and the Secretariat for the Quarterly Report on the IAEA’s Verification Activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

We again reiterate our commitment and support not only to the full implementation to the Resolution, but to also underline the critical work the IAEA does in this regard. South Africa calls upon the international community to continue supporting the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). This agreement is a diplomatic multilateral milestone, arrived at after commendable negotiations. It is the only legitimate international agreement aimed at addressing the Iran nuclear issue. It also contributes to the realization of an effective global non-proliferation regime.

The report of the Director General raises serious concerns regarding the continued increase in Iran’s stockpile of Low Enriched Uranium, at levels much above the limit imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). Furthermore, the report further informs that much of the stockpile has been enriched beyond the 3.67% level. In addition, matters of Iran’s continued activities in advancing the country’s centrifuge capabilities, including the development and use advanced centrifuges, are also raised as a serious concern. In this regard, we urge Iran to take urgent steps in order to address these matters and return to full compliance with the JCPoA. One of the cornerstones of the JCPoA is that it builds confidence in the international community in affirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Madam Chair,

We have also noted with concern that the report indicates that the information provided by Iran regarding the origin and whereabouts of nuclear material detected at an undisclosed location near Tehran, is not yet satisfactory and we express the hope that this matter will be resolved by the next meeting of the Board of Governors.

Another matter of concern, which we have raised on many occasions, is that the report of the Director General was again shared with the media. We have noted however, that the Director General had clearly stated in a media interview that his report has to be discussed with the Board of governors first and that information is confidential. Leaks and related media reports undermine the good work of the IAEA and erode trust between Iran and the Agency, and with all member states. Ensuring the confidentiality of verification and monitoring reports is central to the integrity of the Agency’s verification work.

In conclusion, we want to reiterate the following:

  • South Africa reiterates its support for the IAEA and calls on the Secretariat to continue its verification activities in Iran in an impartial and professional manner;

  • We call upon Iran to return to full implementation of its obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, the Additional Protocol, and the JCPoA.

  • We urge the implementation of the INSTEX mechanism in an accelerated manner. Its implementation has been very slow and unsatisfactory. We call upon the EU partners to ensure that Iran receives the economic benefits as outlined in the JCPoA.

  • South Africa calls on the United States to reconsider its position regarding its withdrawal from the JCPoA, return to the agreement, cease unilateral coercive measures and remove its maximum pressure campaign.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of the Director General’s report contained in GOV/2020/51

I thank you

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