Yesterday, we joined the overwhelming majority of the IAEA Board of Governors in expressing support for the IAEA’s essential mission of safeguarding nuclear material to prevent nuclear proliferation. Iran must cooperate with the IAEA and provide technically credible information in response to the IAEA’s questions, which is the only way to remove these safeguards issues from the Board’s agenda.
The resolution is at the heart of the IAEA’s mandate and Iran’s core obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, not about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United States remains committed to a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA. We are prepared to conclude a deal on the basis of the understandings we negotiated with our European Allies in Vienna over many months. Such a deal has been available since March, but we can only conclude negotiations and implement it if Iran drops its additional demands that are extraneous to the JCPOA.
Unfortunately, Iran’s initial response to the Board’s action has not been to address the lack of cooperation and transparency that prompted a negative report from the IAEA Director General and such strong concern in the Board, but instead to threaten further nuclear provocations and further reductions of transparency. Such steps would be counterproductive and would further complicate our efforts to return to full implementation of the JCPOA. The only outcome of such a path will be a deepening nuclear crisis and further economic and political isolation for Iran. We continue to press Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation instead.