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Statement by Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo Security Council Briefing on Non-Proliferation (Implementation of resolution 2231 (2015))

Thank you, Mr. President for the opportunity to brief on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue is the outcome of 12 years of intense diplomatic effort and technical negotiations.

The Secretary-General has always regarded the JCPOA as the best way to ensure that the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran remains exclusively peaceful. He therefore considers it and Resolution 2231, which endorsed the Plan, crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, and regional and international security.

Since July 2015, the Secretary-General has consistently and repeatedly underscored the importance for the international community to preserve the JCPOA.

He has called for concerns regarding its implementation to be addressed constructively by its participants, and for issues outside the Plan to be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments.

Mr. President,

The context for the implementation of the JCPOA and resolution 2231 (2015) has improved considerably since this Council last met in December 2020 to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.

As noted in the Secretary-General’s report, the United States, through its 18 February letter addressed to the President of the Security Council, withdrew previous letters sent to the Council in August and September 2020, respectively. This was a first and necessary step to heal a divided Council, and to pave the way for the Vienna talks.

The continued diplomatic efforts in Vienna offer a critical opportunity for both the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran to return to the full and effective implementation of the Plan and of the resolution. This would be a welcome and crucial development.

It is therefore essential that all Member States promote a conducive environment and avoid any action that may have a negative impact on these ongoing diplomatic efforts, as well as on regional stability.

Likewise, all initiatives in support of trade and economic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran remain important, especially given the current economic and health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, I echo the Secretary-General’s appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the Plan, extend the waivers with regard to the trade in oil with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to once again facilitate nuclear-related activities consistent with the Plan and the resolution.

These activities relate to non-proliferation projects, including at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Fordow Facility, and the Arak reactor. These are needed steps to facilitate the full implementation of the Plan and resolution 2231 (2015), as well as enable the Iranian people to secure the tangible benefits foreseen by the Plan.

Mr. President,

A return to the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and the resolution is all the more important in light of the additional steps taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran to reduce its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan, following the withdrawal of the United States from the Plan. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency informed the Council that Iran has installed new and advanced centrifuges and begun research and development activities for the production of uranium metal.

Iran has also enriched uranium up to 60% and has now an estimated total enriched uranium stockpile of 3,241 kg – further surpassing JCPOA stipulated limits in both cases. The Islamic Republic of Iran has stated that these measures, as previous measures taken since 1 July 2019, are reversible.

Further, as of 23 February 2021, Iran decided to suspend voluntary transparency measures envisaged by the JCPOA, including the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

However, in February the Agency and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, allowing the Agency to continue with its necessary monitoring and verification activities. This understanding expired on 24 June, and Iran has not indicated whether it intends to maintain the current arrangement.

Mr. President,

The Agency’s monitoring and verification activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the uninterrupted collection and storage of data by its monitoring and surveillance equipment, are essential to help build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

I call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to resume the temporary technical understanding with the Agency without delay, to refrain from taking further steps to reduce its commitments, and to return to full implementation of the Plan.

Iran should also carefully consider the other concerns raised by participants in the Plan and by other Member States in relation to resolution 2231 (2015). 

Mr. President,

I will now turn to the measures set out in annex B to the resolution, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s eleventh report on the implementation of resolution 2231.

First, on the nuclear-related provisions, we have not received any report on the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use items contrary to paragraph 2 of annex B.

The Security Council continued its consideration of requests for the supply, sale or transfer of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use items to Iran through the procurement channel. One new proposal was submitted through the channel in the reporting period, bringing the total to 52 proposals received since 16 January 2016.

The Council has received eight notifications, submitted pursuant to paragraph 2 of annex B, for certain nuclear-related activities consistent with the Plan.

Second, regarding the ballistic missile-related provisions of the resolution, information was provided to the Secretary-General and the Security Council by France, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom concerning ballistic missile launches and a space launch vehicle test by Iran in January and February 2021.

The information provided reflects divergent views among those Member States as to whether those launches are inconsistent with the resolution.

Third, on the asset freeze provisions, the Secretariat did not receive any official information alleging action inconsistent with the asset freeze provisions.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by stressing again the importance and value of the JCPOA to the international non-proliferation architecture, as well as for regional and international security.

In this defining moment, it is therefore critical for all parties, to seize this opportunity to put the JCPOA back on the right track as soon as possible.

In so doing, the JCPOA would, again, serve as a powerful example of successful multilateral diplomacy and as proof that even the most contentious issues can be effectively addressed through dialogue, understanding and reciprocity.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Her Excellency Ms Geraldine Byrne Nason, in her role as Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) and to assure her of our full support.

I would also like to thank the Coordinator of the Procurement Working Group of the Joint Commission for our continued cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. President.