Delegates Hail ‘Historic’ Entry into Force of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
The Panel of Experts assisting the Security Council’s so-called 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee found that the country’s attempted procurement of Grade 5 titanium alloy bars had been in violation of resolution 1737 (2006) and subsequent texts, the subsidiary body’s Chair told the 15-member organ today.
In his quarterly briefing, Román Oyarzun Marchesi (Spain), Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), presented that body’s report covering the period 15 September to 14 December, noting that the Panel had been investigating an incident reported by a Member State on 27 July. The Panel could not, however, reach a conclusion that the action had been “a wilful violation” on Iran’s part.
He went on to note that, on 11 December, the Panel had submitted an inspection report on Iran’s alleged test-launch of an Emad ballistic missile on 10 October, concluding that it had violated paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010). Further, the Panel was completing another investigation report on an incident reported by a Member State concerning paragraph 13 of resolution 1929 (2010), and also planned to investigate an incident reported on 24 November, concerning paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007).
Those activities, he said, were taking place 90 days after the Council’s endorsement of the 18 October entry into force of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through its adoption of resolution 2231 (2015). All provisions of resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) would remain in force until “Implementation Day”, when Council sanctions against Iran would be lifted and the relevant resolutions terminated.
When the floor opened for discussion, many speakers welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a “historic” step, with several saying that Implementation Day would mark the start of a “new chapter” in international cooperation. Until that time, all sanctions remained in force.
In that context, the representative of the Russian Federation noted that the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had adopted a resolution on Iran today, closing the dossier on investigations and eliminating all resolutions on that matter. There were no signs of undeclared nuclear material or activities in Iran, which was important for compliance with non-proliferation instruments, he said, adding that that chapter of cooperation was now closed.
However, a number of speakers expressed concern about Iran’s missile launch on 19 October, saying it was a violation that must be addressed. France’s representative emphasized that notification of violations so quickly after acceptance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action did not bode well, and his delegation supported the accord within a “spirit of caution”.
The representative of the United States said the Council could not allow Iran to feel that it could violate its resolutions with impunity. The United States rejected the notion that countries raising such violations in the Council were responsible for destabilizing the Plan of Action, she said, adding that her delegation would work with partners to ensure that United Nations measures were better enforced. It would seize Iranian arms exports, hold Iran accountable and continue to bring violations to the Council’s attention.
Pointing to another way forward, Chad’s representative pressed the Council to address the development of weapons of mass destruction by States in the Middle East and encouraged the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. Echoing that point, Chile’s representative underlined the political and legal obligation to establish such a zone.
Also speaking today were representatives of Angola, China, Jordan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Malaysia, Venezuela and Lithuania.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 4:05 p.m.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), presented that body’s report covering the period 15 September to 14 December, saying that during that time it held an informal meeting on 24 November and conducted additional work using the “no-objection” procedure. Providing an overview, he said that, on 18 October, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action had come into effect, 90 days after its endorsement by the Council through resolution 2231 (2015). All provisions set forth in resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) would remain in force until “Implementation Day”, when Council sanctions measures would be lifted and the relevant resolutions terminated. Paragraph 21 of resolution 2231 (2015) provided for exemptions to the current measures for certain activities relating to Iran’s Fordow and Arak facilities, and the export of enriched uranium exceeding a weight of 300 kilogrammes, in return for natural uranium.
He said that on 9 December, the Committee had considered its 2015 annual report through its “no-objection” procedure, which would be issued as document S/2015/947. It had recently revised its guidelines to include additional mandated tasks, in line with resolution 2231 (2015). It had also received two reports from Member States, alleging violations of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010) and paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007), and had instructed the Panel of Experts to investigate. On 9 December, the Panel had submitted its investigation report on an incident reported by a Member State on 27 July, he said, adding that it concluded that Iran’s attempted procurement of Grade 5 titanium alloy bars was in violated of resolution 1737 (2006) and subsequent resolutions. However, the Committee had not been able to conclude that it constituted a “wilful” violation.
On 11 December, he continued, the Panel had submitted an inspection report on Iran’s alleged test-launch of an Emad ballistic missile on 10 October, concluding that the launch violated paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010). On 6 November, the Panel had submitted its midterm report, which, following discussion, had been submitted to the Security Council on 3 December. The Panel was completing one more investigation report on an earlier incident reported by a Member State, concerning paragraph 13 of resolution 1929 (2010), and planned to investigate an incident reported on 24 November, concerning paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007). Finally, he said, the Panel had visited Istanbul and Ankara, in Turkey, from 9 to 12 November to discuss that country’s measures to implement resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1929 (2010). The Panel had also participated in a number of international conferences and seminars, including the Counter-Proliferation Good Practice Workshop in Malta, he added.
JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola) said it was crucial that the Government of Iran implement all actions specified in Council resolution 2231 (2015), while urging that Government to remain fully committed to Council resolutions until Implementation Day and to avoid actions such as launching Emad missiles. Welcoming the IAEA report ending the investigation into allegations that Iran was developing nuclear weapons, he expressed respect for that country’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
WANG MIN (China) said the entry into force of the Joint Plan of Action was the beginning of a new situation and all participants should now prepare for implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). The Council should prepare mechanisms to ensure smooth implementation of that text. On Implementation Day, sanctions would be replaced by restricted measures that should be implemented in a balanced manner. Cautioning that various problems could emerge, he expressed hope that parties would meet each other half-way. Welcoming the final IAEA report and the cooperation between the Agency and Iran, he said that would contribute to a smooth start of the Plan of Action.
PHILIPPE BERTOUX (France) said the adoption of resolution 2231 (2015) was a historic step in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme, which had worried the international community for 12 years. A lasting solution had now been found and it was now a matter of ensuring Iran’s compliance, for which the Vienna Agreement was the road map. The Council should now shoulder its responsibility for the resolution’s implementation, he said, noting that all sanctions remained in force until Implementation Day. France was, therefore, concerned about the missile launch on 10 October, which, according to the Panel of Experts, was a violation that must be addressed, he said, adding that the report of a possible launch on 21 November should also be matter of attention. Other notifications of violations, so soon after the Agreement’s acceptance did not bode well, he said, adding that his delegation supported the Agreement with a spirit of caution.
VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said that the IAEA Board of Governors had adopted a resolution on Iran today, closing the dossier on investigations and eliminating all resolutions on that matter. IAEA and Iran had fully implemented the July road map, clarifying matters pertaining to the nuclear programme. There were no signs of undeclared nuclear material or activities in Iran, which was important for compliance with non-proliferation instruments, he said, adding that that chapter of cooperation was now closed. Further interaction between IAEA and Iran would be based on the Agency’s traditional frameworks: the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocol, as well as Iran’s voluntary obligations to ensure transparency in the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Russian Federation welcomed the understanding on final settlement of the situation, he said.
Underlining Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he emphasized that challenges to the proliferation regime must be addressed through diplomacy and international law. Implementation of the Plan of Action was going “quite well”, with Iran quickly bringing its programme in line with its requirements. The IAEA could verify that Iran was upholding its obligations, he said, stressing that it was important to draw upon all possibilities so as to bring the country into full economic cooperation and participation in the resolution of issues in the Middle East. The Russian Federation was providing assistance in the implementation of the Plan of Action, he said.
MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) urged full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), expressing hope that implementation of the Plan of Action would allow the international community to take up challenges affecting the Middle East while strengthening the non-proliferation regime in the region. Jordan supported the Committee’s preparations for Implementation Day, and called upon that body to continue implementing the relevant resolutions until the Council received the IAEA report confirming that Iran had implemented measures pursuant to resolution 2231 (2015). Expressing concern over references to violations by Iran in the 11 December report of the Panel of Experts, and over Iran’s launch of a ballistic missile on 11 October, he said the Committee must examine that matter.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand), welcoming the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the fact that participants were taking the first steps towards full implementation, noted that Member States had also begun the process of revising their domestic settings to reflect the Agreement’s provisions. It was important that Member States and private sector entities be ready to act in advance of Implementation Day. In the intervening period, all existing sanctions against Iran remained in force, he said, noting in that regard the Panel’s finding of a violation of paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007). New Zealand also noted with concern the Panel’s conclusion that the launch of an Emad missile was in violation of resolution 1929 (2010). Warning that such actions risked undermining confidence in the Agreement, he urged all parties, Iran in particular, to approach the Agreement’s implementation with the same positive intent and good faith that had enabled the accord to be concluded, emphasizing that Iran was not to undertake any ballistic missile launches.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), welcoming the adoption of the Plan of Action, said it was a major milestone and the focus must now be on full and swift implementation. The United Kingdom looked to Iran to keep its nuclear programme peaceful, he said, adding that the bulk of sanctions, including those of the United Nations, would remain in place during the transition period. The report was a reminder that Member States should continue to raise issues of violations. While expressing his gratitude to the Committee to support the relevant restrictive measures on Iran, he noted with concern the launch in October of a missile, capable of delivering a nuclear weapon and prohibited by Council resolutions. Reports of another missile launch were also a matter of concern. He also noted the Panel’s reports on possible illicit procurements of uranium, which highlighted Iran’s possibility of having illicit procurement routes.
BELEN SAPAG MUÑOZ DE LA PEÑA (Chile) said she welcomed the beginning of the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action and the fact that Iran had complied with the measures asked for by the IAEA. However, she noted with concern information of possible violations of resolution 1929 (2010). It was important to respond in a responsible manner to that report and to take the political context into account. She stressed that to comply with the sanctions regime was incumbent on all States. Nonetheless, she recognized the inherent right of Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. She underlined the need to move forward on the obligation under article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As it was a political and legal obligation to establish zones free of nuclear weapons, a nuclear free zone established in the Middle East was of the utmost importance.
MARTIN SENKOM ADAMU (Nigeria) voiced his support for the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan coming into effect. It presented a clear road map for the implementation of the agreement between Iran and the “P5+1” countries (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States; plus Germany), which he said he hoped would lead to the resolution of all outstanding issues. He urged its transparent implementation, calling the IAEA’s completion of its probe “another crucial step” in the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement. He also said he looked forward to Implementation Day when the sanctions against Iran would be lifted.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) urged the Council to proceed with caution and prudence in its deliberations and work to constructively, bearing in mind the need to preserve unity. Iran’s cooperation and positive steps, including its removal and storage of enrichment centrifuges, was encouraging, he said, welcoming also the agreement recently reached on the redesign and reconstruction of the Arak nuclear reactor. While acknowledging that challenges and questions remained, he said full implementation of the road map was still achievable, provided all parties engaged earnestly and in good faith. Malaysia also reaffirmed the sovereign right of all countries, particularly developing ones, to pursue and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and with the appropriate safeguards.
GOMBO TCHOULI (Chad) noted with satisfaction the entry into force of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action 90 days after its adoption by the Council. He urged all parties to implement the document and overcome obstacles through dialogue. The Council should focus on the development of weapons of mass destruction by States in the Middle East and encourage the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. He took note of the Committee’s activities in 2015 and review of guidelines in line with resolution 2239 (2015).
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), underscoring that consideration of the Iranian nuclear issue was at a critical phase, welcomed that dialogue had been maintained with the IAEA, and that monitoring and verification were being carried out without hindrance. Urging that all outstanding questions be resolved, he said that Iran had shown its commitment to comply with its obligations. Once the IAEA submitted its report to the Council confirming Iran’s completion of initial measures related to its nuclear programme, he said he expected the lifting of sanctions and unilateral coercive measures against Iran. Underlining countries’ right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he also said that the Committee should promote the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
DOVYDAS SPOKAUSKAS (Lithuania) expressed hope that Iran would complete its commitments in good faith. The international community’s ability to verify those commitments was crucial, and the IAEA must be given “all the time it needed” in that regard. On outstanding issues, including a possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme, he said the IAEA had no credible indications of that country’s use of an explosive device after 2009. All sanctions remained in effect and must be robustly implemented. Furthermore, the Committee must respond to sanctions violations as Iran continued to disregard provisions of resolutions, notably related to ballistic missiles and conventional arms. The Committee should also focus on reports of conventional arms transfers to countries in the Middle East, contravening the arms embargo, he said, underlining the need for swift agreement on practical arrangements to implement resolution 2231 (2015), which should involve all Council members.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States), Council President for December, spoke in her national capacity, saying that countries involved in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were making progress in fulfilling their commitments, with Iran removing centrifuges and beginning to eliminate 98 per cent of its enriched uranium stockpile. Implementation Day would mark a “new phase” of the deal, after which the Council would still have a crucial role to play in monitoring compliance with resolution 2231 (2015). However, prior to that Day, all Council sanctions would remain in place. There had been a recent tendency to look away from Iran’s violations, she said, citing the October launch of a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, which the Panel of Experts had concluded violated the resolution. Rather than a timely response, the Council had dithered.
She asked how doubt could be cast on such violations, when Iran’s Defence Minister had stated: “We don’t ask permission from anyone.” The Council could not allow Iran to feel it could violate its resolutions with impunity. She rejected the notion that countries raising the matter of such violations in the Council were responsible for destabilizing the Plan of Action. Implementing resolutions was the sine qua non of a credible nuclear deal. Council members seeking a Council response to such violations were not the rule breakers. She emphasized that the United States, firmly condemning those violations, would work with partners to ensure that United Nations measures were better enforced. It would seize Iranian arms exports, in line with international law, hold Iran accountable for violations and continue to bring violations to the Council’s attention.