Statement delivered by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Resident Representative/Governor of the Republic of South Africa, International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, Vienna, Austria, 8 March 2012

AGENDA ITEM 4D: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NPT SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENT AND RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. We thank the Director General for the report, the Deputy Director General for the introductory remarks as well as for the Technical Briefing held on 29 February 2012.

South Africa notes from the latest report of the Director General that the Agency continues to be able to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran, but also that it remains unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.

Chairperson,

In November 2011 the Board approved a resolution that, inter alia, called on Iran to intensify its dialogue with the Agency aiming at the urgent resolution of all outstanding substantive issues, including access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material, and personnel in Iran. My delegation recalls that the Director General was requested to include in his progress report to this current session of the Board an assessment of the implementation of this resolution.

South Africa welcomes the two recent high-level visits by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Iran designed to resolve all outstanding substantive issues. We note that intensive discussions were held regarding a structured approach to the clarification of the outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme - but that, however, no agreement has yet been reached.

My delegation is pleased to note from the Director General’s introductory statement to this session of the Board that the Agency will continue to address the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and in a constructive spirit.  In this regard we therefore hope that new dates for further engagements between Iran and the Agency will be announced for the near term, in order to finalise the structured approach.

We were also encouraged to hear during the technical briefing from the Secretariat that an agreement between Iran and the Agency is close on the issue of access by Iran to documents in the Agency’s possession which were obtained from some Member States. 

We noted that, according to the Secretariat, the States that provided the documents have not placed conditions on their use.

We highlight all these as we believe that they are important and conducive for allowing the Agency and Iran to finalise the structured approach and realise the commencement of a process of substantive clarification of all outstanding issues, in line with the resolution of the Board adopted in November 2011.

The November 2011 resolution of the Board envisaged a sustained and continuous process of engagement between Iran and the Agency, leading to results.

As other delegations have indicated this morning, this will entail pragmatism, creativity and flexibility from both Iran and the IAEA.

Chairperson,

South Africa continues to call for a renewed dedication by the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperation with the Agency, without preconditions. Such cooperation is indispensible in contributing to build the required confidence.

We call upon Iran to comply with the relevant decisions of the IAEA and with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

In conclusion, South Africa once again encourages all parties concerned to avoid any actions that could derail progress towards finding a sustainable solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. 

We should not tire in seeking, in a cooperative manner, the long-term solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, while respecting Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

I thank you.

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