Statement delivered by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Resident Representative/Governor of the Republic of South Africa, International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, Vienna, Austria, 6 June 2012

Agenda Item 4D: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of the 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 his report contained in GOV/2012/23 as well as for his introductory statement.  My delegation thanks the DDG for Safeguards and the Secretariat for the Technical Briefing held on 30 May 2012.

Chairperson,

South Africa welcomes the Director General’s visit to Iran on 21 May 2012.  We believe this was a significant and welcome step by the Director General.  We note that as a result of this visit Iran and the Agency decided to agree on the structured approach.  We are encouraged that both Iran and the Agency have so far been working in a constructive and flexible mode in order to finalise the structured approach document. 

We welcome the next meeting scheduled for Friday 8 June as announced by the Director General in his opening remarks and we look forward to its outcomes.  It has always been our view that the November 2011 Board envisioned a continuous process of engagement between Iran and the Agency, with a view to reaching a concrete result.  The past and recent meetings between the Agency and Iran seem to confirm this view.

Furthermore my delegation is encouraged by the positive atmosphere which appears to characterize the talks between the E3+3 and Iran, as evident from the past meetings.  We note that a further round of discussions will be held in Moscow.  We encourage all those involved in this process to diligently work for progress, and a positive outcome, which is the expectation of the rest of the international community.

Chairperson,

My delegation reiterates its view that Iran should continue to cooperate with the IAEA, fulfill its obligations, in order that all outstanding issues can be clarified and confidence restored in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

Indeed a lasting solution will be the one that restores international confidence in the 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).

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

I thank you.

ADDENDUM

I would like to respond to some of the remarks that were made during the discussions on this item. We feel that as members of the Board we should refrain from micro managing the manner in which the Secretariat engages with Iran.  Unfortunately we heard some proposals which in our view were too specific in asking the Secretariat to adopt certain postures in these discussions on the Structured Approach.  We think this is not helpful to the Secretariat. Let me provide an example: A suggestion was made about whether certain items under discussion by the Agency and the IAEA should be closed or open in perpetuity.  Of course other Member States may hold different views on these matters. But we refrain from airing our opinions since we have always relied on the professionalism and impartiality of the Secretariat.  What would happen if all of us started giving the Secretariat specific advice, which turned out to be contradictory. This would hamstring the Secretariat and make their position untenable.

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