IAEA calls for Iran's 'unambiguous' cooperation

06 June 2024

The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has adopted a resolution calling on Iran to fully cooperate with the agency, including giving it access to locations and material for nuclear safeguards verification activities.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi addressing the agency's board of governors (Image: D Calma / IAEA)

The resolution - drafted by France, Germany and the UK (referred to as the E3) - was adopted by the 35-country board of governors on 5 June with 20 represented countries in favour, two against (China and Russia), and 12 abstentions.

The resolution calls on Iran to "provide sufficient cooperation with the agency and take the essential and urgent actions as decided by the board in its November 2022 resolution, to resolve safeguards issues which remain outstanding despite numerous interactions with the Agency since 2019".

It also calls on Iran to "reverse its withdrawal of the designations of several experienced agency inspectors which is essential to fully allow the agency to conduct its verification activities in Iran effectively".

The resolution says that a continued failure by Iran to provide "the necessary, full and unambiguous cooperation" with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding safeguards issues, "may necessitate the production, by the Director General, of a comprehensive and updated assessment on the possible presence or use of undeclared nuclear material in connection with past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme, based on the information available".

In his opening statement to the IAEA board of governors on 3 June, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi presented his latest report on verification and monitoring in Iran.

"You will note that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium continues to increase, including that enriched up to 60%," he told the board. "The agency has lost continuity of knowledge in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and uranium ore concentrate. It has been more than three years since Iran stopped provisionally applying its Additional Protocol and therefore it is also over three years since the agency was able to conduct complementary access in Iran."

Grossi said there has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues. Iran, he said, has not provided the IAEA with "technically credible explanations" for the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at the Varamin and Turquzabad sites. In addition, it had not informed the agency of the current location(s) of the nuclear material and/or of contaminated equipment.

"These outstanding safeguards issues stem from Iran's obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and need to be resolved for the agency to be in a position to provide assurance that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful," Grossi said. "Further public statements made in Iran regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons and possible changes to Iran's nuclear doctrine only increase my concerns about the correctness and completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations."

In a statement, Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far rendered its full cooperation under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement to the agency. It has to be re-emphasised that all Iran's nuclear material and activities have been completely declared and verified by the agency.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran rightfully expects that the agency conducts its reporting on verification activities in Iran based on the principles of impartiality, professionalism and objectivity."

The E3 welcomed the adoption of the resolution by the IAEA board of governors. In a joint statement, they said the resolution "responds to Iran's persistent refusal to cooperate in good faith with the IAEA to clarify outstanding issues relating to undeclared nuclear material detected at multiple locations in Iran.

"If Iran meaningfully cooperates with the agency, and the Director General is able to report that the unresolved safeguards issues are no longer outstanding, the board could then close its consideration of this matter. We hope Iran takes this opportunity to resolve these outstanding matters so that no further board action is necessary."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News