Envoy: Origin of Contamination Declared by IAEA Unknown to Iran
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Representative at International Organizations in Vienna Kazzem Qaribabadi referred to the recent UN nuclear watchdog's report on the country's nuclear program, and said that the origin of contamination declared by the IAEA is unknown to Iran.
"It is regrettable that despite Iran’s written explanations regarding the presence of depleted uranium contamination, which were delivered to the Agency on 26 May 2021, the Agency still keeps repeating that 'Iran had yet to provide an explanation'. The Agency has to rectify this situation," Qaribabadi said, addressing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s board of governors' meeting on 'Report of the IAEA Director General'.
"As it was explained by Iran, based on our investigation into the background of the activities carried out in the location, there was no precedent of any nuclear activity; therefore, the origin of the contamination declared by the Agency is absolutely unknown to us. Nevertheless, the depleted uranium contamination originating from commercially available uranium-derived products is nothing unusual and is not a significant issue," he added.
The full text of the Iranian envoy's remarks are as follows:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,
At the outset, allow me to point out that the Director General’s latest report under this agenda item includes some aspects which I deem it necessary to elaborate them more for the sake of establishing a better understanding about the work done and the future perspective in this regard.
First and foremost, I would like to reiterate the fact that, there is no safeguards related issue regarding Iran’s ongoing nuclear activities and this important point has been confirmed, once again consistent with the previous ones, in the current report of the Director General. Likewise, Iran has voluntarily continued practical and constructive interactions and working relations with the Agency to address questions about a few immaterial and insignificant issues. Despite sincere efforts, it is profoundly inadequate that, the Secretariat has taken a counterproductive and hasty approach in reporting the matter at the expense of its own credibility.
While Iran has been positively responding to different requests by the Director General, the current report of the Agency is mostly, a repetition of the previous report without reflecting appropriately the recent and ongoing developments and progress between the two parties. Unfortunately such positive and constructive approach shown by Iran was not reciprocated appropriately by the Agency, which could turn into an obstacle for future good-will interactions between the two sides.
Having said this, allow me, Madam Chairperson, to explain some of the outstanding aspects of the recent progress, parts of which were also raised in the report of the Director General, as follows:
1. Iran has already provided the Agency with the complete background information on activities in Location 4, as the Agency calls it, both orally and in writing, the supporting documents of which have also been presented to the Agency on 24 August 2021. Iran has also responded to the questions of the Agency on 24 August 2021, which were delivered to it unofficially on 26 May 2021. In this context it is regrettable that despite Iran’s written explanations regarding the presence of depleted uranium contamination, which were delivered to the Agency on 26 May 2021, the Agency still keeps repeating that “Iran had yet to provide an explanation”. The Agency has to rectify this situation. As it was explained by Iran, based on our investigation into the background of the activities carried out in the location, there was no precedent of any nuclear activity; therefore, the origin of the contamination declared by the Agency is absolutely unknown to us. Nevertheless, the depleted uranium contamination originating from commercially available uranium-derived products is nothing unusual and is not a significant issue.
It is a source of serious concern that after numerous communications and interactions on this subject and providing information, explanations and complete set of documentation, the Agency sent a letter on 2 September 2021, referencing to some commercial satellite imageries for the period of 1994 till 2018, to claim that some of Iran’s explanations are not consistent with the imageries. Firstly, some satellite imageries cannot prove that activities in contradiction with Iran’s statement have occurred. Secondly, a serious question is raised that why the Agency had not provided Iran with these imageries before in order to be assessed and responded to. Apparently this has become a malpractice by the Agency that every time that we come close to concluding an issue, new questions are raised which prepares the ground for an open and endless process. This practice is not acceptable and contradicts the Agency’s professionalism. Considering all that was explained above and also numerous meetings, communications and explanations provided by Iran, we believe and highly expect that the Agency is able to conclude this matter as resolved.
2. On the natural uranium in the form of a metal disc at location 2, as the Agency calls it, I should remind and recall that the Agency’s inspectors carried out in-field verification activity on this matter at a declared facility twice during the second half of 2020. These were in addition to the annual PIV which usually is carried out in the first half of the year. In the May meeting in Tehran, we challenged the Agency’s claims on this issue which are merely based on a few non-authentic and unsubstantiated images without presenting any supporting evidence. We have stated vividly to the Agency that it is not possible for Iran to take any action accordingly, and it is upon the Agency to rectify this improper practice. Nevertheless, as a sign of good-faith, Iran informed the Agency in May in Tehran that if an additional verification activity, as requested by the Agency, would conclude the matter, we are ready to voluntarily facilitate the implementation of the request. Now, it is upon the Agency to take a professional and proper decision in this regard.
3. Having different opinions on the modified Code 3.1 is not a new issue between Iran and the Agency and dates back to almost two decades ago. It should be reminded that in the new phase, Iran, among the voluntary and transparency measures, accepted implementation of the modified Code 3.1 based on paragraph 65 of the JCPOA.
I would like to seriously convey my concerns over the aggrandizing of few insignificant old issues from the secretariat. The Director General’s statement in his last report stating that “the lack of progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations was seriously affecting the ability of the Agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme”, is veritably a clear indication of exaggerations on these issues. The Agency should avoid politicizing and maintain its professionalism in its positions and reports. How is it possible that an insignificant amount of material belonging to two decades ago affect the peaceful nature of the nuclear program of a country, while that country is hosting more than 20 percent of the Agency’s inspections at the global level and has accepted, for more than 5 years, the most robust verification and monitoring activities of the Agency?! The statement of the Agency in its report is completely unprofessional, illusory and unfair. We really hope that the Director General rectifies it because continuation of this path may negatively affect Iran’s approach toward the Agency.
In this context, I would like to reiterate that constructive engagement requires positive environment, avoiding expressing any pre-judgment, raising artificial concerns or deadlines, as well as unnecessary and disproportionate overstatement of the trivial issues.
Iran is committed to its obligations under the CSA. It should be noted that all nuclear material and facilities including LOF's in Iran are under the Agency’s safeguards in accordance with the CSA and there is no indication of diversion in declared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
Reacting to some points raised in this meeting, I would like to reiterate that it is a bitter irony of the history that, the Agency overlooks Israeli regime’s nuclear weapon program in the volatile region of the Middle East.
Regrettably, this regime continues to ignore the international community by downplaying the significance of the Treaty, denying acceding to the Treaty and refusing to place all its nuclear facilities and activities under the Agency's comprehensive safeguards regime. Quite to the contrary, Israel is now even enjoying a more preferential treatment as compared with that of the Nuclear Weapon States, who are members to the NPT and have several obligations specifically under Articles I and VI of the Treaty. While for being still out of the NPT, Israel is free from any obligations under the Treaty, and enjoys all advantages of the IAEA Statute which are interlinked with the NPT.
Such a situation has given this regime the audacity to ridicule the authority and mandate of the Agency in preventing the diversion of its nuclear materials and activities. Most importantly, this regime has become so cynically bold as to manipulate the realities and criticize other Members of the NPT on the account that they have obligations due to their membership in the Treaty, but Israel has not. This is a very serious shortcoming and failure in the work of the Agency, which should be addressed properly.
In this situation, what is the advantage of being both a NPT member and fully implementing the Agency’s safeguards? How could the international community see the IAEA as a serious, professional and impartial partner when it does not pursue evenly and justly the implementation of its comprehensive safeguards regime for all its Members, and yet does not seriously discuss the necessity of verification activities and inspections of, for-instance, Israel's nuclear program? Doesn’t the policy of silence and negligence about Israel’s nuclear program send a negative message to the members of the NPT meaning that “being a member of the Treaty equals accepting the most robust monitoring and verifications, while being outside the Treaty means to be free from any obligation and criticism, and even be rewarded”?!
To conclude, Madam Chair, a regime which is not bound by the NPT and its Comprehensive Safeguards should not be seen as a proponent of the non-proliferation regime. Israeli talking about non-proliferation is like mafia talking about fighting against organized crimes! The Agency, as the most relevant organization responsible for preserving and upholding the three pillars of the NPT, has a distinct role in, and must take a clear stand on the unacceptability of Israel’s remaining outside the NPT framework and its continuing defiance to placing all its nuclear activities and facilities under the Agency’s comprehensive safeguards system.
Thank you Madam Chairperson.