Gharibabadi tells JCPOA parties to restore balance between rights and duties

Iran’s ambassador to IAEA: Problem arises when technical issues are being politicized

March 12, 2020 - 12:51

TEHRAN- Kazzem Gharibabadi, Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based international organizations, has said that the international community as well as the countries that still adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should return balance to the agreement.

Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors on Tuesday, Gharibabadi said the internationally-backed nuclear deal has been derailed, so the international community as well as the countries that are still adhering to it should embark on practical measures to return it to the right track.

Hereunder is the text of his address:

At the outset, I would like to express my delegation’s appreciation to Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo for his remarks under this agenda item, and thank the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security for the preparation of the Report.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of Malaysia on behalf of the Group 77 and China, and would like to raise a few points in its national capacity.

My delegation would like to reiterate the principle that the responsibility for nuclear safety rests with each Member State, and that the Agency has a central role in coordinating international efforts and in providing expertise and advice to promote and strengthen nuclear safety globally.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a recipient of the Agency’s assistance, recognizes the importance of and appreciates the assistance provided by the Agency to its Member States, in strengthening their national nuclear safety infrastructure. In this regard, development of human resources and enhancing capacities should be seen as key to safety, efficiency and sustainability of any nuclear program. In this context, such assistance should not be conditioned or subject to any restriction, including with regard to access to all information and resources necessary for safe operation of nuclear and radiation related installations

I would like to reaffirm that the Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to nuclear safety. In our previous sessions of the Board, my delegation has given an extensive report on Iran’s experience in the nuclear fields, as well as the evolution of nuclear safety measures, including with regard to Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.

A political group in its statement talked about Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. Before raising any technical points, I would like to remind that we have proposed in our previous intervention that Iran is ready to provide transparency visits to the Plant for the technical experts of our neighbors to witness the highest safety standards applied in the site.

Bushehr Power Plant is the first operationalized nuclear power plant in Iran, which was built by one of the most famous companies of the world, Atom-Stroy-Export of Russia. This plant is utilizing the safest pressurized reactors of its kind, and due to having a harmonized combination of German and Russian planning, its safety features are unique in the world.

In terms of nuclear safety criteria, we have reiterated again and again that there are three levels of supervision placed: First, directly implemented by the main contractor, which has one of the highest level of safety requirements of its kind; Second, Iran’s national nuclear activities regulatory and supervision organization; and, third, utilizing the technical assistance from the IAEA in the framework of various TC projects.

In February –March 2010, the Agency has carried out an IRRS mission, which was evaluated satisfactory. The mission concluded that Iran’s Regulatory Authority has sufficient competency, capability and ability to supervising nuclear power plant activities.

It is also noteworthy that, since 2011, Iran is a member of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), which, since then, has evaluated the Power Plant and the, utilizing company, through peer reviews, for several times, in various stages including
pre-start up and its follow-up, and operation and its follow-ups.

On 29 September until 16 October 2018, the Agency has satisfactorily carried out an OSART mission to Bushehr Power Plant. The Mission recognized several areas of good performances. Such cooperation between the Agency and Iran is an ongoing process and the follow-up Mission is planned to be conducted in coming November to evaluate implementation of the recommendations made. This shows another level of utmost transparency and commitment by the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensuring the safety of the operation of the Power Plant.

Iran is also committed to take advantage of lessons learnt by other countries including through actively participating in, and holding workshops and technical meetings in this regard. It is noteworthy that after the Fukushima accident, Iran has performed Stress Tests of Bushehr Power Plant by using relevant methodologies, and equipped it with supplementary tools in case of emergency. On the same line, Iran and the EU are also cooperating in accordance with Annex 3 of the JCPOA to establish a Nuclear Safety Center in Iran. Furthermore, since 2017, in cooperation with the EU, Iran’s Regulatory Body, along with the utilizer company, is carrying out another Stress Test in that Power Plant. Considering the principle of continuous improvement, Iran’s Regulatory Authority is also updating the nuclear safety related regulations with the support of the TC Department as well as the EU.

Let me, Madam Chair, focus a bit on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the new comer in this field. Saudi Arabia, itself, is developing and implementing a non-transparent nuclear program, and on this account, it is completing the construction of its first research reactor, which would be eligible for loading nuclear fuel very soon. It should be recalled that the main responsibility in the area of nuclear safety remains with the Member State.

Additionally, in the past few years, Saudi Arabian officials in several occasions hinted that the kingdom is moving forward with a plan to dig a canal that would turn the neighboring Qatari peninsula into an island. Part of the canal, was said to be reserved for a nuclear waste facility. This politically motivated intention of the KSA demonstrates the irresponsible behavior of this country with regard to not only its own nation and environment, but also safety of the region and neighboring countries.

Since the KSA has shortlisted possible nuclear power plant vendor partners, it should be called upon to present its transparent and comprehensive plan regarding the nuclear safety and safeguards, and the nuclear power reactor suppliers are urged to ensure that highest safety, safeguards and environmental protection requirements are met by Saudis.

To conclude, Madam Chairperson, what is presented here in this meeting regarding BNPP by few, is far from the reality and misleading, and the problem arises when the technical issues are being politicized.

I thank you Madam Chairperson.

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