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EU, US Raises Grave Concerns Over Iran's Undeclared Nuclear Sites and nuclear activity

In a report titled "NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran" (GOV/2023/26, 31 May 2023), IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi stated that the IAEA is still seeking explanations from Iran regarding the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at three undisclosed locations in Iran. These locations are Turquzabad (2019), Varamin (2020), and Marivan (2020). Grossi expressed deep concern over the presence of nuclear material at these undisclosed sites and highlighted the ongoing efforts by the IAEA to obtain satisfactory explanations from Iran regarding these findings.

Iran refuted the report's findings expressing disagreement with the agency's decision to leave some matters concerning Iran's nuc cooperation with the agency and undisclosed sites unresolved. Iran firmly denied the presence of any "undeclared" nuclear material within its borders. The Iranian Mission to Vienna-based organizations expressed disappointment that the IAEA regarded "all purportedly falsified documents and misinformation provided by the Israeli regime as genuine."

The European Union (E.U.) and the United States (U.S.) raise " concerns about many aspects of IraIran'sclear program and its lack of cooperation with the IAEA.

The Iranian representative to the Vienna-based organizations provided a lengthy explanation to the D.G. report. On the issue related to the three undeclared sites where the IAEA has detected uranium traces and other nuclear activity: Turquzabad, Varamin, and Marivan/Abadeh, Iran reiterated that it "should be highlighted that the origin of the issue goes back to the fabricated information provided to the Agency by an ill-intended third party, namely the Israeli regime… (that) repeatedly threatens to attack Iran's nuclear facilities..."

The Iranian Mission stressed that the allegations regarding Marivan/Abadeh and the alleged explosive experiments with protective shielding in preparation for using neutron detectors " have been addressed. The IAEA concluded that it has no additional questions regarding Marivan and that the matter is no longer outstanding.

Regarding Turquzabad, the Iranian Mission noted that "the Agency's claim in footnote seven that .." some of the containers stored at Turquzabad were dismantled at the location, others were removed from Turquzabad intact in 2018 and moved to an unknown location ..." is not based on authentic information and evidence. "Turquzabad is an industrial place …and the movement of containers in and out of such an area is a usual activity; therefore, the claim of container removal cannot be considered a ground for such an allegation".

Iran also emphasized that further verification activities at its workshops in Esfahan were voluntary and not required under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Additionally, Iran argued that the implementation of modified Code 3.1 of the subsidiary Arrangements was suspended due to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA.

E.U. Raises Grave Concerns Over Iran's Undeclared Nuclear Sites and Failure to Comply with Safeguards Obligations

The EU commended the Director General and the Secretariat for their professional, objective, independent, and impartial work verifying Iran's safeguards obligations. The E.U. expressed severe concerns about the presence of nuclear material at undeclared locations in Iran and the unknown current location of this material and/or contaminated equipment.

Regarding Marivan, the E.U. noted that the Agency has no additional questions and considers the matter resolved. However, the E.U. stressed that Iran had not provided credible evidence to support its explanations. The Agency's assessment remains that Iran conducted explosive experiments preparing to use neutron detectors and nuclear material at Marivan.

The E.U. expressed grave concerns about the lack of progress in resolving the safeguards issues at Turquzabad and Varamin. The E.U. urged Iran to take necessary actions promptly, emphasizing that all safeguards issues will continue to be closely monitored until they are fully clarified. The E.U. highlighted its concern that the Agency could not confirm the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations under the NPT Safeguards Agreement, raising doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

The E.U. also expressed concern over Iran's failure to notify the IAEA in advance about changes in the configuration and operation of advanced centrifuges at Fordow, which violates its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement. The EU acknowledged Iran's information regarding detecting highly enriched uranium (HEU) particles at Fordow but reiterated concerns about Iran's activities at the facility, including modifying centrifuge configurations to produce highly enriched materials beyond the declared enrichment level without a credible civilian justification. The E.U. Noted the installation of enrichment monitoring devices at two facilities in Iran but remained concerned about Iran's overall compliance.

In light of the Agency's assessment, the E.U. expects Iran to address the following without further delay:

  • The outstanding safeguards issues about Turquzabad and Varamin include informing the Agency of the current location(s) of nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment.

  • The discrepancy in the amount of nuclear material verified by the Agency at UCF originating from Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL) compared to the amount declared by Iran.

  • The completion of the surveillance and monitoring equipment installation, access to data recordings, and the gaps in the recordings.

  • Iran's implementation of modified Code 3.1 (reporting, access, verifications)

U.S Raises Concerns Over Iran's Lack of Cooperation and Nuclear Safeguards Violations

U.S. position regarding the undeclared sites in Iran remains concerned and critical. The U.S. acknowledges that Iran has finally provided a possible explanation for the presence of uranium particles at the Marivan site. Still, the U.S. is skeptical of Iran's explanation due to the lack of supporting evidence. The U.S. supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its assessment that Iran conducted explosive experiments at Marivan. It emphasizes that Iran's cooperation in addressing the issue has been insufficient.

The U.S. expresses deep concern about the absence of assurance regarding the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. It highlights recent safeguards implementation issues, such as Iran's failure to declare changes in centrifuge cascades and the detection of highly enriched uranium particles at Fordow. The U.S. underscores that such incidents should not occur again.

The U.S. also acknowledges a discrepancy in the quantity of nuclear material declared by Iran during a uranium metal dissolution campaign, and Iran's explanations are deemed unsatisfactory. The U.S. emphasizes the need for Iran to provide technically credible explanations and full cooperation to fulfill its safeguards obligations.

China also released a short statement and "welcome the positive developments in the cooperation between Iran and the Agency, and encourage the two sides to strengthen cooperation further and implement the Joint Statement issued by the two sides in March this year and resolve differences at an early date through consultation... to create favorable conditions and an environment for diplomatic efforts to restore the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, rather than artificially creating confrontation".


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