On June 8, the Board of Governors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog passed a resolution that formally censured Iran for failing to explain traces of uranium at three undeclared sites that date back to a covert program before 2003. The resolution, sponsored jointly by the United States, Britain, France and Germany, passed 30 to 2, with three abstentions. Russia and China, which have veto power at the U.N. Security Council, opposed the resolution. India, Pakistan and Libya abstained. The overwhelming majority vote “sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its safeguards obligations,” the United States, Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement.
The resolution expressed “profound concern” that Iran had not provided credible or accurate information on uranium traces found at three locations not declared by the government “despite numerous interactions” with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The 35-member Board of Governors called on Iran “to act on an urgent basis to fulfil its legal obligations.” The resolution stopped short of referring the case to the U.N. Security Council for debate or potential action.
Iran “deplored” the resolution and retaliated with by removing 27 cameras that monitor various aspects of its nuclear activities under provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It also moved to install two cascades of advanced centrifuges IR-6 centrifuges in Natanz, which is Iran’s biggest facility for uranium enrichment. According to the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, in 2021, Iran first used a cascade of IR-6 centrifuges at the Natanz facility. It consisted of 164 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium at 60 percent and beyond. It also installed two cascades of IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordow facility.
Tehran insisted that it was still complying with IAEA regulations, despite the new uncertainty about the state of its controversial program. On June 9, President Ebrahim Raisi said that Tehran would not change course. “Do you assume that we withdraw because of resolutions?” he said in a speech in Shahr-e Kord. “In the name of God and in the name of the nation, Iran will not withdraw from its stance a single step.”
The foreign ministry charged that the resolution was “based on a hasty and unbalanced report by the IAEA director general and also on fake information from the Zionist regime.” The resolution will have “no effect” except to weaken Iran’s cooperation the IAEA, the statement said.
In a growing blame-game, the United States countered that it, too, remained committed to a “mutual return” to full implementation of the JCPOA. “Such a deal has been available since March, but we can only conclude negotiations and implement it if Iran drops its additional demands that are extraneous to the JCPOA,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. He warned that Iran’s decision to curtail full transparency and instead threaten further provocations would deepen the nuclear crisis and “further economic and political isolation for Iran. We continue to press Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation,” he said.
In a separate statement, the United States criticized Iran for advancing its nuclear program despite diplomatic efforts to restore the JCPOA. “Iran continues to expand its nuclear activities, including by installing additional enrichment capacity, deploying advanced centrifuges, and accumulating enriched uranium far beyond JCPOA limits,” U.S. Ambassador Laura Holgate told the IAEA board on June 7. “Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium up to 60 percent in particular has no credible peaceful purpose.”
For the first time, the United States also formally blamed Iran for the impasse in diplomacy to revive the JCPOA. The talks, which were launched in Vienna in April 2021, paused in March 2022. “What we need is a willing partner in Iran. In particular, Iran would need to drop demands for sanctions lifting that clearly go beyond the JCPOA and that are now preventing us from concluding a deal,” Holgate said. “Should Iran choose to join us, a mutual return to JCPOA implementation would be a significant achievement of international diplomacy and mark a new opportunity for creating the necessary assurances about Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
In a joint statement, Britain, France, and Germany warned that Iran’s nuclear program had achieved unprecedented advances, notably on enriching uranium, the core fuel for a bomb. “This is threatening international security and risks undermining the global nonproliferation regime.” Accelerating uranium enrichment “is further reducing the time Iran would take to break out towards a first nuclear weapon and it is fueling distrust as to Iran’s intentions.” The following are statements by the United States and the European powers.
IAEA Resolution Adopted on June 8:
The Board of Governors,
(a) Commending the continued professional and impartial efforts of the IAEA Director General and the Secretariat to implement Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement,
(b) Emphasizing the essential and independent role of the IAEA in verifying Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations,
(c) Stressing the importance of Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations and the need for Iran to cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the Agency with a view to clarifying and resolving the long outstanding safeguards issues detailed in the Director General’s report GOV/2022/26,
(d) Noting the Director General‘s deep concern that undeclared nuclear material had been present at several undeclared locations in Iran and that its current location(s) are not known to the Agency, and his assessment that nuclear material used in Iran was not declared as required under Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement,
(e) Recalling the Board of Governors’ resolution of 19 June 2020 contained in GOV/2020/34 which called upon Iran to fully cooperate with the Agency and to satisfy the Agency’s requests without any further delay,
(f) Noting the Director General’s conclusion that unless and until Iran provides technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at three undeclared locations and informs the Agency of the current location(s) of the nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment, the Agency cannot confirm the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement,
(g) Noting further the Agency’s readiness to continue to engage without delay with Iran to resolve the outstanding safeguards issues,
1. Strongly supports the Agency’s continued efforts aimed at providing assurance of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme;
2. Expresses profound concern that the safeguards issues related to these three undeclared locations remain outstanding due to insufficient substantive cooperation by Iran, despite numerous interactions with the Agency;
3. Calls upon Iran to act on an urgent basis to fulfil its legal obligations and, without delay, take up the Director General’s offer of further engagement to clarify and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues;
4. Notes that the provision by Iran of all of the technically credible information, documents and evidence the IAEA requires to make its assessments is essential for the Secretariat to be in position to report the issues as no longer outstanding and thereby remove the need for the Board’s consideration and action on these issues; and
5. Requests the Director General to continue to report to the Board of Governors so long as the above issues remain outstanding.
Statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 9:
"Yesterday, we joined the overwhelming majority of the IAEA Board of Governors in expressing support for the IAEA's essential mission of safeguarding nuclear material to prevent nuclear proliferation. Iran must cooperate with the IAEA and provide technically credible information in response to the IAEA's questions, which is the only way to remove these safeguards issues from the Board's agenda.
"The resolution is at the heart of the IAEA's mandate and Iran’s core obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, not about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United States remains committed to a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA. We are prepared to conclude a deal on the basis of the understandings we negotiated with our European Allies in Vienna over many months. Such a deal has been available since March, but we can only conclude negotiations and implement it if Iran drops its additional demands that are extraneous to the JCPOA.
"Unfortunately, Iran's initial response to the Board’s action has not been to address the lack of cooperation and transparency that prompted a negative report from the IAEA Director General and such strong concern in the Board, but instead to threaten further nuclear provocations and further reductions of transparency. Such steps would be counterproductive and would further complicate our efforts to return to full implementation of the JCPOA. The only outcome of such a path will be a deepening nuclear crisis and further economic and political isolation for Iran. We continue to press Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation instead."
U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley on June 9:
"The @iaeaorg Board of Governors sent an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its NPT safeguards obligations. This is not political: as soon as the IAEA has the technically credible information it needs, the Board would see no need for further action on these issues."
"The Board spoke to Iran's safeguard obligations, which are separate from the JCPOA. We are ready for a mutual return to full compliance immediately. Iran just needs to decide to drop its extraneous demands & agree to the deal that’s been available since March."
"Iran has a way out of the nuclear crisis it has created: cooperate with the IAEA to resolve outstanding safeguards issues & agree to return to the JCPOA, thereby addressing urgent international non-proliferation concerns & achieving U.S. sanctions lifting. The choice is theirs."
Statement by the United States on June 7:
The United States extends its appreciation for the Director General’s May 30 report on JCPOA verification and monitoring in Iran. We appreciate the extensive efforts and continued dedication and professionalism of the DG, the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, and their staff in carrying out the Agency’s critical JCPOA mandate in Iran. The DG’s thorough, factual, and timely reporting on these matters remains essential for the international community’s understanding of the status of Iran’s nuclear program.
As the DG’s report makes clear, and despite our sincere and continued efforts toward a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, Iran continues to expand its nuclear activities, including by installing additional enrichment capacity, deploying advanced centrifuges, and accumulating enriched uranium far beyond JCPOA limits. Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium up to 60 percent in particular has no credible peaceful purpose. No other country today utilizes uranium enriched at 60 percent for the purpose Iran claims. The rest of the world has almost entirely moved to low enriched uranium for isotope production – precisely to avoid the proliferation risks Iran is now demonstrating.
“Despite Iran’s escalations, Chair, we have remained steadfast in our efforts toward a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, which is a vital instrument in addressing the international community’s longstanding concerns with Iran’s nuclear program. We have made clear we stand ready to quickly implement a mutual return to the JCPOA. What we need is a willing partner in Iran. In particular, Iran would need to drop demands for sanctions lifting that clearly go beyond the JCPOA and that are now preventing us from concluding a deal. Should Iran choose to join us, a mutual return to JCPOA implementation would be a significant achievement of international diplomacy and mark a new opportunity for creating the necessary assurances about Iran’s nuclear program going forward. We are prepared to provide the sanctions lifting necessary to return to full implementation of our JCPOA commitments in order to secure this achievement. We remain committed to working with our allies and partners to fully achieve that outcome if Iran is willing to do so.
IAEA verification and monitoring is the foundation on which a return to full implementation of the JCPOA must be built. In this regard, the United States again commends the Director General and his team for their continued efforts to engage Tehran on JCPOA-related verification and monitoring issues, as well as on the urgent and outstanding safeguards issues to be addressed later in this agenda.
The DG has confirmed his understanding that surveillance data from all JCPOA-related monitoring and transparency measures will continue to be stored in order to be made available to the Agency if and when Iran resumes implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. To reestablish a baseline and enable the Agency to fulfill its monitoring and verification mandate under the JCPOA, it is essential that Iran provide the IAEA all declarations, data, and access identified by the Agency.
We have long highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate resources in support of the IAEA’s essential verification and monitoring role in Iran, and we welcome the continued contributions of financial support for these important efforts and were pleased to announce earlier U.S. contributions helping to ensure requisite funding. A mutual return to JCPOA implementation would lead to expanded work for the IAEA in resuming the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the deal. We fully appreciate the financial demands of these increased responsibilities and will continue to join other Member States in providing the IAEA the necessary resources for this important mission.
“With these comments, the United States takes note of the DG’s report contained in document GOV/2022/24, as well as the DG’s interim reports contained in GOV/INF/2022 documents 8, 10, and 11, and we request that these reports be made public, consistent with longstanding practice, so there may be a clear international understanding of the facts reported by the Director General.”
Joint Statement by the United States, Britain, France and Germany on June 8:
“We, the Governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, welcome the IAEA Board of Governors’ adoption of a resolution responding to Iran’s insufficient cooperation with the IAEA on serious and outstanding safeguards issues relating to Iran’s obligations under its NPT-required safeguards agreement. The overwhelming majority vote at the IAEA Board of Governors today sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its safeguards obligations and provide technically credible clarifications on outstanding safeguards issues. Today’s resolution affirms the Board’s support for the independent, professional and impartial efforts of the IAEA to uphold the international safeguards system, which is essential to all of our security.
“We urge Iran to heed the call of the international community to fulfil its legal obligations and cooperate with the IAEA to fully clarify and resolve issues without further delay. If Iran does this and the Director General is able to report that the unresolved safeguards issues are no longer outstanding, we would see no need for further Board consideration and action on these issues.”
Joint Statement by Britain, France and Germany on June 9:
"We the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom have intensely negotiated with Iran, in good faith, since April 2021 to restore the JCPoA, along with other JCPoA participants, as well as the United States. There has been a viable deal on the table since March 2022, which would return Iran to compliance with its JCPoA commitments and the US to the deal. We regret that Iran has not seized the diplomatic opportunity to conclude the deal. We urge it to do so now. We are ready to conclude the deal.
"Despite this Iran is now installing additional advanced centrifuges and has confirmed to the IAEA its decision to end all JCPOA-related transparency measures. This jeopardises the ability of the IAEA to restore continuity of knowledge on key parts of the Iranian nuclear programme, including on the production of centrifuges.
"We condemn these steps and that it is responding to concerns expressed by the IAEA Board of Governors – in a resolution adopted with overwhelming support – by announcing steps to even further decrease cooperation with the IAEA. These actions only aggravate the situation and complicate our efforts to restore full implementation of the JCPoA. They also cast further doubt on Iran’s commitment to a successful outcome. We urge Iran to resume application of the Additional Protocol and of all JCPOA-related monitoring and verification measures, cease its nuclear escalation, and urgently conclude the deal currently on the table to restore the JCPoA, while this is still possible."
Statement by Britain, France and Germany on June 7:
France, Germany and the United Kingdom would like to thank Director General Grossi for his latest report contained in GOV/2022/24, and Deputy Director General Aparo for his Technical Briefing. We commend the Agency for its reporting of Iran’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, despite the limitations placed on its verification and monitoring activities in Iran.
“We are deeply concerned about the continued nuclear advances that the Director General documents in his report. As a result of Iran’s nuclear activities in violation of the JCPoA for more than three years, its nuclear programme is now more advanced than at any point in the past. This is threatening international security and risks undermining the global nonproliferation regime.
“The alarming accumulation of enriched material, in particular high enriched uranium enriched up to 60% and uranium enriched up to 20%, is a cause for great concern. It is further reducing the time Iran would take to break out towards a first nuclear weapon and it is fueling distrust as to Iran’s intentions. Part of this stockpile has been transformed into enriched targets and irradiated, further complicating a return to the JCPoA. None of these activities have credible civilian justification in Iran.
“Iran’s nuclear advances are not only dangerous and illegal, they risk unravelling the deal that we have so carefully crafted together to restore the JCPoA. The continuation of Research and Development and extensive use of advanced centrifuges are permanently improving Iran’s enrichment capabilities. Iran is now enriching with over 2000 powerful advanced centrifuges, which can enrich many times faster than the model permitted under the JCPOA. The more Iran is advancing and accumulating knowledge with irreversible consequences, the more difficult it is to come back to the JCPoA.
“This is also true of R&D activities regarding the production of uranium metal, which is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon. It is essential that Iran does not resume these activities or commence any further work, in particular related to the conversion of UF6 to UF4, all of which have no civilian credible justification in Iran. Advances in this area would very quickly upset the balance of the deal we have finalized in Vienna.
“The IAEA has been without crucial access to data on centrifuge and component manufacturing for a year and half now, since Iran stopped implementing JCPOA-related monitoring measures and suspended the application of the Additional Protocol. This means that neither the Agency, nor the international community, know how many centrifuges Iran has in its inventory, how many were built, and where they may be located, precisely at the point it is expanding its programme and its component manufacturing and centrifuge assembling capabilities. The Agency is very clear that its verification and monitoring activities in relation to the JCPoA have been seriously affected as a result of Iran’s decision to cease implementation of its commitments. This raises the question of whether the Agency will be able to restore the continuity of knowledge in the future given the time that has now elapsed since Iran started to take these steps.
“Regarding verification, we recall that, again during this reporting period, Iran has also not implemented Modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The IAEA is clear that the application of Modified Code 3.1 is a legal requirement of Iran’s safeguards agreement and Iran cannot modify or withdraw from it unilaterally. We strongly urge Iran to return to its legal obligation and to implementing the Code.
The E3/EU+3 have been engaged in intensive negotiations with Iran since April 2021 aimed at restoring the JCPoA. The E3 have spared no effort and when we left Vienna three months ago, we had a viable deal on the table which would return Iran into compliance with its JCPoA commitments and the US to the deal. We regret that Iran has not yet seized the diplomatic opportunity to conclude the deal.
“We have always been clear that our priority has been to restore the JCPoA. Similarly, we have made it clear that the deal could not remain on the table indefinitely, precisely because Iran continues to advance its nuclear capabilities, undermining the non-proliferation benefits of the deal and consequently the very possibility of reaching a deal. We strongly urge Iran to stop escalating its nuclear programme and to urgently conclude deal that is on the table. This will also allow the Agency to resume full verification and monitoring and start building back its continuity of knowledge over the programme, to provide assurances to the international community over its exclusively peaceful nature.
We commend the IAEA for its objective and thorough reporting, and its rigorous and impartial implementation of the mandate conferred on it by the United Nations Security Council. We encourage the Director General to keep the Board informed regarding progress on monitoring and verification in Iran in all its aspects. We would welcome the Agency’s last quarterly report on monitoring and verification in Iran be made public.”
Foreign Ministry Statement on June 9:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the adoption of the resolution presented by the United States, UK, France and Germany at meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a political, incorrect and unconstructive action.
"Based on a joint statement dated March 5, 2022, the Islamic Republic of Iran expressed its good faith in interacting with the IAEA by providing accurate technical information and the IAEA was also expected to take an independent, impartial and professional approach, taking constructive and realistic steps to normalize safeguards issues that the Agency acknowledged were not concerned about non-proliferation.
"It seems that Some have forgotten that all previous cases were closed once and for all on December 15, 2015 by the Board of Governors.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always maintained constructive cooperated cooperation with the IAEA in recent years, and a significant part of the IAEA inspections worldwide in Iran confirms this fact, so that Iran is currently one of the most transparent peaceful nuclear programs among the IAEA member states.
"The adoption of the resolution, which is based on the hasty and unbalanced report of the Director General of the IAEA and based on the Zionist regime’s false and fabricated information, will only weaken the process of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
"As previously announced, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken reciprocal practical steps due to the IAEA non-constructive approach and the adoption of the above-mentioned resolution, including the installation of advanced centrifuges and the deactivation of beyond safeguards cameras."
President Ebrahim Raisi in a speech on June 9:
"The Iranian nation is serious about its right. Did you think that if you issue a resolution against Iran in the Board of Governors, we will withdraw from our positions? In the name of God and the great nation of Iran, we will not take a single step back from our positions."
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on June 9
The change in #Greece's behavior after #Iran's proportionate and authoritarian response to seizure of it's oil tanker, along with dozens of other experiences, shows that the only way to defend the country's rights against bullying, whether in #JCPOA or @iaeaorg is reciprocity.— علی شمخانی (@alishamkhani_ir) June 9, 2022
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh on June 8:
US-E3 put their shortsighted agenda ahead of IAEA's credibility by pushing a miscalculated & ill-advised Res. against a country w/ the world's most transparent peaceful nuclear program.— Saeed Khatibzadeh | سعید خطیبزاده (@SKhatibzadeh) June 8, 2022
The initiators are responsible for the consequences. Iran's response is firm & proportionate.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) statement on June 8:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far had extensive cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, but unfortunately the IAEA, without considering that this cooperation is the result of Iran's goodwill, not only did not appreciate this cooperation, but also considered it a duty of Iran, the statement reads.
"Accordingly, the AEOI decided from today that the activities of beyond safeguards cameras of the measuring on-line Enrichment Monitor (OLEM) and flowmeter to be deactivated, it added.
"Of course, over 80% of the IAEA existing cameras are safe and will continue to work as before."
AEOI President Mohammad Eslami on June 8:
“Today an announcement was issued by the Atomic Energy Organization (of Iran) in commensurate with our extensive cooperation with the Agency. Unfortunately, the behavior of the International Atomic Energy Agency was not suitable for this cooperation.”
“Hence, it was decided to stop some of the beyond-Safeguards cooperation, which was not part of our obligations and was done in good faith. For example, recording some activities by the agency's cameras which recorded OLEM (On-Line Enrichment Monitor) surface flow measuring device and the IAEA’s flowmeter in Iran.”
“We did not give them the information and this information will not be recorded from today. I was at one of these sites today and closely monitored the shutdown of these cameras. Let the people know that this practical action has been taken and other actions are being considered. We hope that they will come to their senses and respond to Iran's cooperation with cooperation. Iran cannot cooperate but be shown inappropriate behavior on the other hand.”
“The cameras that are to be shut down are beyond-Safeguards cameras that recorded information that can later be used by the Agency. We will no longer provide this information to the Agency. We hope that with these measures, they will come to their senses and change their method and attitude. With this approach, they cannot expect the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate widely in the face of their lack of cooperation and ill-intentioned wills.”
Joint Statement from 260 Members of Parliament on June 12
“Unfortunately, the IAEA director-general personally and the secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency have openly lost their credibility.”
“Mr. Grossi's visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and his meeting with the leaders of a regime that refuses to accept the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not deny various reports on the illegal acquisition of nuclear weapons are the most obvious signs of Grossi's biased behavior and call into question his commitment to fulfilling his organization’s missions on the path to nuclear disarmament.”
“In this context, contrary to the rules and procedures of the IAEA, the allegation by the Zionist intelligence service is the basis of the secretariat's requests for access in Iran, which is a clear indication of the political and non-technical nature of the IAEA request on the remaining issues and the three alleged sites.”
“Given the continuation of the political process in the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) supports the actions of the esteemed government and the Atomic Energy Organization of our country to reduce cooperation with the IAEA, including the cessation of non-safeguards surveillance cameras.”