STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA AT THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA), ON THE IAE’S FINAL REPORT ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME , DELIVERED DURING THE SPECIAL BOARD OF GOVERNORS HELD ON 15 DECEMBER 2015
                               
Chairperson

South Africa thanks the Director-General for his report on the “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme” and DDG Terro Varjoranta for the detailed technical briefing sessions he conducted during the past two weeks.

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, by Ambassador Reza Najafi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran and wishes to present the following remarks in its national capacity.

Chairperson,

Indeed this day, 15 December 2015 will go down in history as a significant moment in the calendar and work of the Board of Governors of the IAEA. Because it is during the session of this Special BoG Meeting that the Board will consider two important documents: the DG’s much anticipated report on all past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme as set out in document Gov/2015/68 and the draft resolution on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action implementation and verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

At the outset my delegation welcomes the finalization of the IAEA’s final report on all outstanding “past and present issues” regarding the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme and notes the contents thereof. My delegation congratulates  Iran, the IAEA and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) for the constructive dialogue and engagement which led us to this stage. We thank all the other parties who were involved in all related processes which resulted in the resolution of this matter. The Joint Plan of Action, the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the Road-Map all contributed in no small measure to the resolution of the concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear programme.  We also wish to thank this Board for providing guidance for more than a decade and nudging all the parties to pursuing a peaceful settlement.

Mr Chairperson,

South Africa celebrates every opportunity that advances peace and reconciliation. For we know too well, given our own history, the misery that protracted conflicts can visit on the ordinary people. The human costs of conflicts are too onerous to bear and there are many examples today in the world to illustrate this point.

Chairperson,

South Africa supports the adoption of the draft resolution because importantly, it provides amongst others, subject to the conditions set out, for the lifting of all restrictions imposed by the IAEA on Iran from participating in and benefitting from all the programmes of the Agency. This resolution therefore, if fully impelemented, should pave the way for Iran to fully benefit to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

My delegation also welcomes the affirmation that the IAEA’s verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear related commitments as set out in the JCPOA, should not be considered as setting a precedent for the IAEA’s standard verification practices.

However, South Africa would have preferred Preambular Paragraph (d) of the draft resolution to recognize the inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in the broader context of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as one of the three equally important pillars of the Treaty, together with nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. It is imperative to ensure that any selective quotation of the Treaty provisions do not unintentionally reinterpret the NPT or the inextricable links between them.

Similarly,  while my delegation supports a call made in the draft resolution to all Members to cooperate fully with the IAEA in undertaking all the necessary actions required to implement this resolution care should be taken that where it involves additional funding especially from the regular budget, the balance between promotional and non promotional programmes should not be distorted.

We would thus ask that these comments with regards to these two issues be duly reflected in the Chairs Summary.

Chairperson,

My delegation is of the view that we should build on this positive momentum generated by the JCPOA and the Road-Map to make progress on nuclear disarmament. The peaceful resolution of the dispute on the Iranian nuclear programme should re-invigorate a forward march towards the achievement of nuclear disarmament obligations and commitments as well as the establishment of the Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this regard my delegation strongly supports the call for all the necessary steps to be taken as a matter of priority to accelerate progress on the concrete steps agreed to by the nuclear weapon states since 1995 as well as the implementation of the 1995 NPT Resolution on the Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons.

The failure of the NPT in 2015 was a setback that reverberated across the NPT community. Thus my delegation is of the view that we should summon the strong political and diplomatic will that was exerted in resolving the dispute on the Iranian nuclear programme, to propel us towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

In conclusion Chairperson,

My delegation wishes to once more welcome the peaceful resolution of the dispute regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. There will naturally be hurdles to overcome along the way during the implementation of the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments as contained in the JCPOA as well as the implementation of safeguards in Iran in accordance of her obligations.  In this regard, we should should draw strength from the words of one of South Africa’s former leaders that “Gloom and despondancy have never defeated adversary. Trying times need courage and resilience. Our stregth as a people is not tested during the best of times”.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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