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Security Council briefing on the Ninth Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Resolution 2231 (2015). UN Photo/Eivind Oskarson

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action remains best way to ensure exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program

Security Council Briefing on the Ninth Report of the Secretary‑General on the Implementation of Resolution 2231 (2015) (S/2020/531), Under-Secretary-General Rosemary A. DiCarlo


Mr. President,

First let me recognize the presence today of His Excellency, Mr. Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States of America, and His Excellency, Mr. Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I would also like to recognize the presence of Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, endorsed by resolution 2231, is a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy and dialogue. It remains crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and to regional and international security.

It is therefore regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt. The United States withdrew from the agreement in May 2018.  Before that date, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified in 11 reports that Iran was complying with its nuclear commitments contained in the Plan.

As we have said, we regret the US withdrawal from the Plan.  The re-imposition of US national sanctions lifted under the Plan, as well as the decision not to extend waivers for the trade in oil with Iran and on all remaining JCPOA-originating projects, are contrary to the goals of the JCPOA. These actions have impeded the ability of Iran and other Member States to fully implement the Plan and the resolution.

On 12 March, in a letter to the Secretary-General, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif wrote that US sanctions were constraining his country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary-General has appealed for the waiving of sanctions that could undermine a country’s capacity to respond to the pandemic. Further, he has expressed concern that the posture of private sector actors seeking to avert risk may continue to impede legitimate humanitarian aid transactions, especially with regard to banking needs.


Mr. President,

We also regret the steps Iran has taken, since July 2019, in response to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA. As a result of these steps, taken under the monitoring of the IAEA, Iran has surpassed JCPOA-stipulated limits on its uranium enrichment level and on its stockpiles of heavy water and low-enriched uranium. Iran has also lifted JCPOA limitations on its nuclear research and development activities.

Today, we appeal again to Iran to return to full implementation of the Plan.  We also urge Iran to address concerns raised by other States regarding its actions inconsistent with the restrictive measures in Annex B of the resolution.

We encourage JCPOA participants to resolve all differences within the Dispute Resolution Mechanism under the Plan. We also urge all Member States to avoid provocative rhetoric and actions that may have a further negative impact on the JCPOA and regional stability.

The full implementation of the Plan is key to securing tangible economic benefit to the Iranian people. We are encouraged by the positive developments in INSTEX, which started to process its first transactions.


Mr President, 

I will now turn to the Secretary-General’s ninth report on the implementation of resolution 2231 (S/2020/531).  As guided by the Security Council, the report focuses on Annex B to the resolution. It also provides findings and recommendations to Council members, as called for in paragraph 7 of the Note by the President 2016/44.  

First, regarding the nuclear-related provisions, we stress that the procurement channel is a vital transparency and confidence- building mechanism. We call on all Member States and the private sector to support and use the procurement channel.

Further, we regret the 27 May decision of the United States to terminate the sanctions waivers related to the modernization of the Arak reactor.  

Exemptions set out in paragraph 2 of annex B are specifically designed to provide for the transfer of such items, materials, equipment, goods and technology required for the nuclear activities of Iran under the Plan.

Second, regarding the ballistic missile-related provisions, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States provided information on Iran’s launch of “Simorgh” and “Qased” space-launch vehicles in February and April of this year.

The information provided reflects divergent views among those Member States as to whether those launches are inconsistent with paragraph 3 of annex B. Paragraph 3 called upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.

Third, on the arms-related restrictions, the Secretariat analyzed two US seizures of arms and related materiel and continued its assessment of the cruise missiles and delta-wing UAVs used in the 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the November 2019 and February 2020 US seizures of arms and related materiel, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran informed the Secretariat that the (I quote) “allegedly seized anti-tank guided missiles and thermal optical weapon sights do not conform to the products manufactured by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”(End quote)   Iran further informed us thatsimilar optical sights claimed to be exported to Iran and later seized in Aden, are still in use in different military units.

Our findings indicate that the container launch units of the anti-tank guided missiles were of Iranian origin and had post-2016 production dates. We ascertained that the optical weapon sights had been delivered to Iran between February 2016 and April 2018 and observed that thermal optical weapon sights have design characteristics similar to those also produced by a commercial entity in Iran.

We also found that the components associated with the anti-ship missile, the unidentified missile, and as well as the cruise missile bore Farsi markings. The transfer of such materiel from Iran after 16 January 2016 may be inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015).

Let me now turn to the cruise missiles and delta-wing UAVs used in the attacks on Saudi Arabia last year. In December 2019 we stated that we had not yet been able to independently corroborate that those weapons and their components were of Iranian origin or transferred from Iran in a manner inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015). 

Since then, we made further progress in our examination of the cruise missiles and delta-wing UAVs used in the attacks. We were able to confirm that some of the components of the delta wing UAVs (ignition coils) and the cruise missiles (pressure sensors of the fuel-feed system) had been exported to Iran in 2016 and 2018 respectively. In our analysis, we took note of the feedback from Iran that “the concerned pressure transmitter is not a dual-use item to be monitored by the government”.

We also ascertained that the jet engines and other components of the UAVs and cruise missiles show similarity to known Iranian models or have similar components (gyroscopes and engines) to an Iranian UAV reportedly recovered in Afghanistan in 2016.

Furthermore, the sections of the cruise missiles recovered from the attacks and the sections seized by the United States in November 2019 form part of the same missile system, and it is highly likely that they were produced by the same entity. Finally, some of the items in the two seizures by the United States (a digital air data computer and the “Model V10” gyroscope) were identical or similar to those found in the debris of the cruise missiles and the delta-wing UAVs used in the 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia.


Mr. President

Based on these technical findings, while also having taken into account the information provided by Iran, the Secretariat assessed that the examined cruise missiles and delta-wing UAVs and/or parts thereof used in the attacks on Saudi Arabia were of Iranian origin.

Finally, the Secretariat also received information from Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia regarding alleged transfers of arms and related materiel from Iran. We are analyzing these issues and the Secretary-General will report back to the Council, if appropriate, in due course.


Mr. President,

Notwithstanding the current challenges to the JCPOA, it remains the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Its full implementation, as well as faithful adherence to resolution 2231, is also fundamental to regional stability.  

Let me conclude by acknowledging the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve in his role as the Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 and to assure him once again of the Secretariat’s full support. I would also like to thank the Coordinator of the Procurement Working Group of the Joint Commission for the continued cooperation.

Thank you, President.