Under-Secretary-General Says Peace in Region at ‘Critical Juncture’
Meeting today amid spiking tensions in the Persian Gulf, the Security Council considered the status of a 2015 deal governing Iran’s nuclear activities, with Tehran voicing frustration that its long‑standing compliance and “strategic patience” has failed to dissuade the United States from imposing new sanctions.
Speaking at the outset, Rosemary DiCarlo, Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, described the Plan of Action — and Council resolution 2231 (2015) which endorsed it — as “hard-won achievements of successful multilateralism, nuclear non-proliferation, dialogue and diplomacy”. Regretting the United States 2018 withdrawal from the deal and its decision not to extend trade waivers, she also voiced concern about Tehran’s announcement on 8 May that it will not commit to respecting the Plan’s limits on enriched uranium stockpiles and water reserves. Pointing to mounting tensions over a recent attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, she emphasized that the world cannot afford another confrontation in the region. “Recent events in the Gulf are a reminder that we are at a critical juncture,” she stressed.
The Head of the European Union Delegation reminded Council members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s many achievements, pointing out that it rolled back Iran’s nuclear programme, blocked its access to plutonium and highly enriched uranium and established a robust verification mechanism through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Underscoring the bloc’s commitment to the deal, he expressed its determination to work with the international community to preserve it. Recalling that the lifting of sanctions is an essential component, he said the European Union is also committed to delivering economic dividends to the Iranian population.
Belgium’s representative, speaking in his capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), pointed out that consecutive IAEA reports have certified that Iran is complying with its nuclear commitments under the Plan of Action. “Let’s be realistic, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is at a crossroads,” he said. His role as Facilitator is not to look away from reality, but to identify, with full impartiality, the points of disagreement and help the parties reach an agreed solution, he said. Outlining some of those main points of divergence, he said some Member States view Iran’s missile and space launches as “inconsistent” with the Plan of Action, while Tehran’s counterarguments are based on a different interpretation of the agreement.
As Council members took the floor, many expressed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, noting that it was the result of 12 years of careful and painstaking negotiation. While several speakers expressed concern about Iran’s activities across the Middle East, they nevertheless stressed that abandoning the nuclear deal will only serve to further rachet up tensions.
France’s delegate — underscoring his country’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action so long as Iran respects its obligations — described the deal as a cornerstone of Middle East stability. Calling on all parties to refrain from words and actions that could weaken it and provoke an escalation of tensions, he echoed expressions of concern about the United States withdrawal, Iran’s announcement of non-compliance and its ballistic‑missile activities. Appealing for pragmatism and clear-headedness, he declared: “Let us not sleepwalk into a military confrontation.”
The representative of the United Kingdom also urged Iran not to follow through on threats to surpass the enriched uranium limits specified in the Plan of Action. Regarding that country’s ballistic‑missile launches, she said that — contrary to Tehran’s denials — such launches are, in fact, capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. “Stated intent is irrelevant,” she said, emphasizing that Iran’s pattern of destabilizing behaviour poses a threat to the region and noting with near certainty that the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was responsible for the recent attacks in the Strait of Hormuz.
Côte d’Ivoire’s delegate said of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: “This is an imperfect agreement, designed to temper the military ambitions of Iran.” Calling on States to pool their efforts to preserve the deal, he voiced hope that its gaps will be addressed through dialogue and on a consensus basis. Warning that an armed conflict in the Gulf region could have disastrous consequences, he called on the parties involved to exercise restraint.
The representative of the United States said today’s meeting comes as Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East through support to terrorist groups and proxy forces, as well as with new attacks on commercial shipping. That such violations have continued for years is evidence of the lax implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), he said. Describing Iran’s announcement to resume nuclear plans as deeply counterproductive, he rejected the false narrative that the United States is to blame for Iran’s economic woes. Washington, D.C., has made clear its willingness to engage in dialogue, but it will not sit idly by in the meantime. “Iran’s defiance of the Security Council, and its reckless behavior threatening peace and security globally, must not be downplayed in the name of preserving a deal that doesn’t fully cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The speaker for the Russian Federation, however, said the United States is trying to shift the blame and seeking to punish those who implement Council resolutions. Noting that assertions that no one is planning regime change are followed by threats of obliteration and increased military presence, he said that such signals — incomprehensible even to an experienced cryptologist — can only bring the situation to a point of no return. Constantly raising the stakes, he stressed, will only provoke extreme sentiments.
Iran’s representative, pointing out that IAEA has, in 15 consecutive reports, confirmed his country’s full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, recalled that the accord also included provisions requiring the lifting of sanctions. In the year since the United States withdrew from the action plan, he said, Iran exercised maximum restraint and goodwill; however, that policy of strategic patience yielded no concrete results, with the United States only unleashing an economic war and brazenly threatening other States “to either violate resolution 2331 (2015) or face punishment”. It is against that backdrop that Tehran — in an effort to protect its interests and bring balance to the situation — announced its intention to limit the implementation of commitment on reserves of enriched uranium and heavy water, he said.
Also speaking were the representatives of Germany, South Africa, Peru, Poland, Indonesia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Dominican Republic and Kuwait.
The meeting began at 9:42 a.m. and ended at 12:04 p.m.
ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue — endorsed by the Council in resolution 2231 (2015) — is the result of 12 years of intense diplomatic efforts and technical negotiations. “The Secretary-General regards the Plan and the resolution as hard-won achievements of successful multilateralism, nuclear non-proliferation, dialogue and diplomacy,” she said, adding that he welcomes recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that Iran is continuing to abide by its commitments under the deal. However, he also regrets that the United States decided not to extend waivers with regard to trade in oil with Iran and not to fully renew waivers for non‑proliferation projects in line with the Plan of Action.
Noting that the Secretary-General also regrets Iran’s announcement on 8 May that it will not commit itself to respecting the Plan’s limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles and water reserves — and that it will further suspend compliance with the uranium enrichment limits and measures to modernize the Arak reactor should the other participants not fulfil its demands within 60 days — she said he encouraged Iran to carefully consider and address the concerns expressed by Member States about its activities. “It is essential that the plan continues to work for all its participants,” she stressed, and urging all actors to work closely for its continued implementation.
“Recent events in the Gulf are a reminder that we are at a critical juncture,” she said, urging all parties to refrain from actions that could lead to a further escalation and to exercise maximum restraint, while averting risks of miscalculation. The Council, for its part, should act; the world cannot afford another confrontation in the Gulf region. The Secretary-General’s seventh and latest report on implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) (document S/2019/492) focuses on implementation of the nuclear provisions of the deal, she said, noting that and no reports of the transfer of nuclear‑related items to Iran have been received. The procurement channel established for the transfer of nuclear-related items to Iran remains an important mechanism for transparency, she said, and all States and the private sector are encouraged to fully utilize it. The Secretary‑General noted that the 3 May announcement by the United States that involvement in certain activities set forth in paragraph 2 of annex B may now be exposed to its national sanctions.
Turning to ballistic‑missile capabilities, she said the report reflects information provided to the Secretary-General and the Council by France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States, which conveyed their views on Iran’s test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile on 1 December 2018, flight tests of additional ballistic missiles between December 2018 and February 2019, and launches of space vehicles in January and February 2019. The information provided reflects divergent views among these Member States as to whether the launches are inconsistent with paragraph 3 of annex B, which calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missile launches designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.
In addition, she continued, the report reflects United Nations analyses of subcomponents received from ballistic missiles launched at Saudi Arabia by the Houthis between March and June 2018. The analysis finds that the production and sale date ranges of those subcomponents are incompatible with the Scud missiles known to be in Yemeni stockpiles prior to the outbreak of the current conflict in 2015. Noting that the report also includes information on individuals found guilty in the United Kingdom of exporting combat aircraft parts from the United States to Iran through various companies, she said the Secretariat also examined several additional arms and related material recovered in Yemen and found with confidence that the materials or parts thereof were manufactured in Iran. However, the Secretariat found no indication as to whether the items were transferred from Iran after 16 January 2016.
Among other things, she said, the report also noted that a televised speech of the political leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, and an Al Quds Brigade spokesperson in May pointed to ongoing military support for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Any Iranian arms transfers after 16 January 2016 would have been undertaken contrary to the provisions of annex B to resolution 2231 (2015), she said, adding that the report also highlights the continued participation of Iranian entities in foreign arms defence exhibitions.
JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union Delegation, said it is important to remember the achievements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It rolled back Iran’s nuclear programme, blocked access to plutonium and highly enriched uranium and established the most robust IAEA verification mechanism. It is the only tool that gives the international community the necessary assurances on Iran’s nuclear programme. The European Union is resolutely committed to the Plan of Action, continues to support it and is determined to work with the international community to preserve it. Emphasizing that the lifting of sanctions is an essential part of the Plan of Action, he said the European Union and its 28 member States deeply regret the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement. That country’s re-imposition of unilateral sanctions, its decision not to extend waivers with regard to trade in oil and to not fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects are having a significant effect on Iran’s economy. Underscoring the European Union’s commitment to deliver economic dividends to the Iranian population, he said the operationalization of the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges is moving ahead. It will enable legitimate trade, consistent with international and European laws and regulations, he explained.
At the same time, the bloc notes with great concern Iran’s announcement on 8 May regarding its commitments under the Plan of Action, he said. The European Union remains committed to that instrument, but it does not accept ultimatums and it will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of its performance vis-à-vis its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan of Action and the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Several projects are being implemented in support of annex III of the Plan of Action on civil nuclear cooperation, particularly in the field of nuclear safety and regulatory support, while the Procurement Channel established under annex IV remains a key mechanism to prevent the misuse of nuclear or dual-use items. While the European Union recognizes the challenges brought about by the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action and the re-imposition of sanctions, the Procurement Channel — which has received 44 proposals to date — remains a Security Council mechanism and the bloc expects all Council members will keep supporting it in line with resolution 2231 (2015).
He went on to say that a series of events outside the nuclear domain are increasingly worrying. The European Union calls for all actors to reduce tensions, including a military build-up in the region, and urges Iran to refrain from activities — such as ballistic missile tests — that could deepen mistrust. Recalling that the European Union is a strong promoter of multilateral diplomacy, he said that, thanks to the Plan of Action, it has been able to discuss regional issues with Iran, exchanging views on regional stability. “Today, we may be at a critical juncture regarding the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he said, emphasizing that there is no credible and peaceful alternative to that instrument. With other international partners, the European Union will continue to work relentlessly to preserve it as long as Iran abides by its commitments.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), speaking in his capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), said that the Plan of Action represents a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. He said his six-month report on the matter, transmitted through a 21 June letter (document S/2019/514), covers the period from 12 December 2018 to 15 June 2019. The seventh report of the Joint Commission to the Security Council on the status of the Procurement Working Group’s decisions and on any implementation issues, transmitted through a 13 June letter (document S/2019/488), cover the period from 1 December 2018 to 13 June 2019.
He recalled two meetings of the Council in the 2231 format during the reporting period — one on 3 April and one on 24 June — and noted his holding several bilateral consultations with Member States and their representatives, including Iran, to discuss issues related to the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). Turning to the IAEA reports, he said that, in its most recent report, the Agency certified for the fiftieth time that Iran is complying with its nuclear commitments under the Plan of Action.
“Let’s be realistic, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is at a crossroads and my role as an honest broker is not to look away from this reality, but rather identify, with full impartiality, the points of disagreement so that the parties can find an agreed solution,” he said. The various letters circulated within the 2231 format reflect the state of deliberations among these parties. “These communications are listed and summarized in my report, including the responses received from the Permanent Mission of Iran,” he emphasized. The points of disagreement regarding the restrictive measures contained in annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) stand out from their examination. On Iran’s activities related to missiles and space launches, he noted the various letters sent by several Member States describing these activities as “inconsistent” to annex B and the counterarguments of Iran based on a different reading of paragraph 3 of the same annex B. “The differences in interpretation of this paragraph 3 constitute a major and recurring point of contention,” he said.
Other letters focused on possible Iranian arms transfers in the region, which are another source of disagreement, he continued. The exchange of correspondence also included the latest developments regarding compliance with the entire Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015). He noted the concerns expressed following the strengthening of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States since its withdrawal from the Plan, and more recently, the end of some exemptions for non-proliferation nuclear projects, which impacts compliance with resolution 2231 (2015). He also noted the concerns expressed about Iran’s recent announcements regarding non-compliance and the concerns expressed by some Member States about the impact of the sanctions re-imposed by the United States on the work of the Procurement Working Group of the Joint Commission. “The procurement channel is definitely at the heart of the Plan of Action mechanism: it ensures that the transfers approved through it comply with the provisions of the resolution,” he said.
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) said her delegation’s policy on Iran is motivated by the objective of upholding the global non-proliferation regime and preventing that country from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Underlining her full support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, she said the deal is critical for the shared security of nations. Voicing regret over the United States decision to leave the deal, impose new sanctions on Iran and not to extend related waivers, she said the United Kingdom will do everything in its power to preserve the deal as long as Iran remains in compliance with its obligations as confirmed in IAEA reports to date. Voicing concern that today’s meeting is taking place against the backdrop of Iran’s threats to surpass the enriched uranium limits specified in the Plan of Action, she urged Tehran not to do so. Underlining the need to constrain Iran’s actions which pose a threat to the region’s stability, she said that country continues to pursue ballistic activities that are inconsistent with its international obligations. Contrary to its denials, the ballistic missiles launched by Tehran are, in fact, capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. “Stated intent is irrelevant,” she said, adding that the Secretary-General’s most recent report also contains worrying information regarding the firing of a surface-to-surface missile. Emphasizing that Iran’s pattern of destabilizing behaviour poses a threat to the region, she said it is almost certain that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was responsible for the recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Stressing that the world cannot afford another escalation in the Gulf region, she urged Iran to re‑join the world community as a responsible international Power.
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire) said concerns about the viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are being stoked by recent events, including the unilateral withdrawal of a key signatory and escalating tensions in the Gulf region. “This is an imperfect agreement, designed to temper the military ambitions of Iran,” he stressed, calling on States to pool their efforts to prevent the undermining of their consensus on the agreement. Expressing hope that responses to potential gaps in the deal be crafted on a consensus basis — taking into account the views of all parties — he said frank and proactive dialogue is needed to dispel distrust and develop mutually acceptable solutions. Warning that an armed conflict in the Gulf has potentially disastrous consequences, he called on the parties involved to exercise restraint and condemned recent attacks against oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Calling for an impartial investigation into those attacks and for the perpetrators to be held accountable, he pointed out that IAEA’s most recent report on Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the Plan of Action once again found that it is abiding by the deal’s provisions. The parties should therefore renounce any intentions to withdraw from the agreement, he stressed, calling for the resumption of dialogue in order to avoid a possible conflict.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) underscored France’s commitment to the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action so long as Iran respects its obligations. That agreement is a cornerstone of Middle East stability and an essential non‑proliferation instrument, and everyone must refrain from words and actions that could weaken it and provoke an escalation of tensions. Expressing concern about the United States withdrawal from the accord, and Iran’s announcements about non-compliance with its provision, he said it is essential for Iran to refrain from any measures that would put it in breach of its commitments. Iran must halt ballistic‑missile activities, he added. Issuing an urgent appeal for pragmatism and clear-headedness, he said all actors must demonstrate the greatest possible restraint, favour the path of dialogue and contribute to regional de-escalation. The crisis should be an opportunity to pursue regional stability, but the demise of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would be a dangerous step backwards that all must work to avoid. He concluded by calling on all parties to control themselves, disengage their autopilots, engage in dialogue and find common ground. “Let us not sleepwalk into a military confrontation,” he said.
JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) said this is a key moment for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and international efforts to preserve it. Germany is fully committed to the agreement and its implementation so long as Iran fully complies with its commitments. Regretting the United States decision to withdraw from the accord and re-impose sanctions, he appealed to Iran to refrain from any steps that would put it in breach of its obligations. Together with the remaining participants in the Plan of Action, Germany will work to ensure that Iran gets the economic benefits deriving from it, he added. He went on to call on Iran to refrain from any transfer of missiles and related technology in the region. The Council must focus on de-escalation and dialogue, he said, calling also on all parties to be level-headed.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), also voicing concern about the United States withdrawal from the agreement, said Iran has been conscientiously implementing its obligations. The only way to preserve it is through good-faith implementation by the remaining States parties. Expressing the hope that matters of international security will stop being held hostage to the domestic political intrigues of certain States, he said the United States is trying to shift the blame and seeking to punish those who implement Council resolutions. Noting that assertions that no one is planning regime change are followed by threats of obliteration and increased military presence, he said that such signals — incomprehensible even to an experienced cryptologist — can only bring the situation to a point of no return. Constantly raising the stakes will only provoke extreme sentiments. He went on to express regret that the Secretary‑General’s report suffers from a lack of evidence with regard to Iran’s missile programme. Recalling that the Council heard in 2003 fabricated arguments for the invasion of Iraq, he said the end goal must be a genuine and inclusive security architecture in the region.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) welcomed that Iran has complied with all its nuclear-related commitments, as confirmed by the IAEA report submitted to the Council on 31 May. His delegation deeply regrets the United States decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Further, the United States decision not to renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects in the framework of the Plan of Action will affect Iran’s ability to fully implement the accord’s provisions. The lifting of sanctions, especially on certain nuclear‑related materials, was part and parcel of the Plan of Action. Stressing that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used again by anyone under any circumstances, he reminded Council members that nuclear disarmament and nuclear non‑proliferation are mutually reinforcing processes. Lack of progress on nuclear disarmament will inadvertently affect the gains made on nuclear non-proliferation.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) echoed expressions of support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which he said is “proof positive” of the value of diplomacy and should be preserved. Based on the verifications of IAEA, Iran is indeed complying with the Plan, he said, nevertheless voicing regret over the United States decision to withdraw from it. Noting with regret Iran’s recent announcement that it will not comply with its commitments on enriched uranium and hard water limits, he underlined the need to comply will all of the agreement’s provisions. In particular, he called on Iran to refrain from undertaking any ballistic‑missile activities capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, which could be perceived as a provocation and result in further provocations in an already unstable region. He also called on all parties to exercise caution and restraint.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) called on Iran to refrain from actions that could further undermine implementation of both the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015). She also urged Iran to uphold its commitment never to seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons. More needs to be done by all regional actors to find lasting and peaceful solutions to regional conflicts, she said, encouraging Iran’s authorities to cooperate with the international community in de-escalating tensions in the Middle East. Emphasizing also that Iran’s ballistic‑missile activity goes far beyond defence purposes, and that ballistic‑missile launches are inconsistent with Security Council resolutions, she said Poland joins other members of the European Union in calling on Iran to play a constructive role and avoid unhelpful rhetoric.
MUHSIN SYIHAB (Indonesia) reiterated support for full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), commending Iran’s compliance that has been verified by 15 IAEA reports, but also expressing concern about both the United States withdrawal from the accord and Iran’s subsequent intention to reduce its commitment. He strongly urged all parties to preserve the agreement and continue dialogue to resolve differences arising from the interpretation and implementation of the Plan of Action. Issues not directly related to the agreement and resolution 2231 (2015) should be kept separate, he said, acknowledging nonetheless that the situation in the region influences adherence to those texts to some extent. All parties should exercise restraint, as the main objective is to ensure Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy, and more broadly, to uphold the rule of law.
WU HAITAO (China) said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, endorsed by the Council, “has the effect of international law”. Noting that the action plan is crucial to maintaining international peace and stability, he added that its future is now at a critical juncture. IAEA has, in 15 consecutive reports, verified Iran’s compliance with the deal’s provisions. Expressing hope that Tehran will maintain its compliance and that the other parties will continue to respect the agreement, he voiced regret over the United States decision to withdraw from it, as well as that country’s imposition of unilateral sanctions. Stressing that the Secretary-General’s report should provide a balanced analysis and take Iran’s view into account, he said Tehran has indicated on many occasions that its missile programme is of a conventional nature and for self-defence purposes. Warning all parties to remain calm against the backdrop of recent escalations in the Middle East, he said they should exercise restraint, engage in dialogue and refrain from any actions that could further raise tensions.
AMPARO MELE COLIFA (Equatorial Guinea), describing the Secretary-General’s report as a balanced and comprehensive analysis, said IAEA has once again confirmed Iran’s compliance with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its protocols. Noting with concern the impact of the United States withdrawal from the deal, she called on Iran to nevertheless continue to comply with its relevant obligations. Pointing out that the action plan represents only a fraction of the contents of resolution 2231 (2015), she said recent reports about non-compliance with the resolution’s provisions on nuclear energy, ballistic‑missile transfers, asset freezes and travel bans are stoking fear among the international community. Calling on the competent bodies to consider updating the lists of affected individuals and entities and report back to the Council, she went on to describe Iran’s recent announcement that it intends to breach the Plan of Action’s enriched uranium limits as a cause for grave concern. In that context, she encouraged regional and international actors to continue to support the action plan and called on Iran to reconsider that new stance.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said the Secretary-General’s report comes as Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East not only through support to terrorist groups and proxy forces, but now through attacks on commercial shipping. Groups supported by Iran still talk openly of the military assistance they receive from Tehran in violation of the United Nations arms embargo, while persons subject to the travel ban provisions of resolution 2231 (2015), including Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force continue to travel freely in the Middle East. That such violations have continued for years on end is evidence of lax implementation of the restrictive measures outlined in annex B of resolution 2231 (2015), he said. There are, meanwhile, concrete examples of how Iran is destabilizing the region by threatening international shipping and airspace, prolonging the violence in Yemen and supporting terrorist groups and proxies. Recalling Iran’s announcement on 8 May regarding its nuclear programme, he said its actions are deeply counterproductive and will increase its isolation. He emphasized that resolution 2231 (2015) provides a mechanism for the Council to address significant non-performance by Iran of its nuclear commitments.
“Iran’s defiance of the Security Council, and its reckless behavior threatening peace and security globally, must not be downplayed in the name of preserving a deal that doesn’t fully cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon,” he said. Iranian provocations have been relentless and their excuses for every provocation strain credulity. He added that responsibility for Iran’s economic woes belongs to Tehran, given its gross economic mismanagement, corruption and the redirection of funds for militaristic purposes. The false narrative that the United States is to blame for Iran’s economic woes strays beyond the bounds of the intent of annex B of resolution 2231 (2015). References in the Secretary‑General’s report to other Governments’ efforts to work around those measures are inappropriate. The United States has made clear its willingness to engage in dialogue with Iran to negotiate a deal that will better serve international peace and security, he stated, “but in the meantime, we will not — and the Council should not — sit idly by” while Iran perpetuates attacks on its partners in the region and on commercial vessels in the Gulf. The United States intends to do everything in its power to curb malignant Iranian behavior and hopes its partners on the Council will join it.
Mr. PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), speaking in his national capacity, voiced concern about Iranian activities that contribute to regional instability, including the transfer of missiles and weapons to State and non-State actors, including the Houthis in Yemen. Iran must respect all relevant Council resolutions and engage in serious dialogue. Belgium regrets the withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said, adding that it is also extremely concerned by Iranian announcements regarding non-compliance with some of its commitments. Belgium understands Iran’s difficult economic and political position, but, like its European partners, it rejects a “less for less” approach, he said, calling on Iran to respect Council resolution 2231 (2015) in its entirety. Calling on all sides to show restraint, he said there is no credible alternative to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the Council has a duty to preserve it.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been working despite huge challenges that include the United States’ withdrawal. While Iran is subject to the world’s most rigorous monitoring regime, the Dominican Republic is concerned by Iranian activities that run counter to resolution 2231 (2015). He also expressed concern about Iranian statements regarding the suspension of commitments under the agreement and highlighted the role of European nations in implementing measures that would deliver economic benefits to the Iranian population. The failure of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would be harmful to international security and the non-proliferation regime and “we must work to preserve it”, he said.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, underlining his country’s principled position against any use of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. While the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action does not address all the concerns of countries in the region, Kuwait continues to support the deal in view of its commitment to multilateralism and its desire for stability in the region. Welcoming Iran’s continued compliance with the action plan’s nuclear stipulations, as certified by IAEA, he urged Tehran to continue to adhere to the enriched uranium limits laid out in that agreement and to ratify the protocols which would commit Iran to remaining a non-nuclear‑weapon State. Voicing concern about information in the Secretary-General’s report relating to the origins of ballistic missiles launched against Saudi Arabia — as well as conventional weapons found in the region — he condemned recent attacks against Saudi Arabia and voiced solidarity with that country. Various League of Arab States resolutions have demanded that Iran end such activities and take steps to build trust and mutual respect with its neighbours, he said, urging the Council to shoulder its responsibility to ensure the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran), observing that IAEA has, in 15 consecutive reports, confirmed his country’s full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, recalled that the agreement also contained the requirement that sanctions against Iran be lifted and economic and trade relations normalized. In particular, the action plan committed the United States to cease the application of statutory nuclear-related sanctions, he said, as well as to refrain from any policy specifically intended to adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations. The United States withdrawal from the agreement has rendered it almost completely ineffective, he said, noting that Washington, D.C., continues to brazenly threaten other States “to either violate resolution 2331 (2015) or face punishment”. Such irresponsible conduct by a permanent member of the Council is a frontal assault on the organ’s resolutions, as well as the United Nations Charter and international law, he stressed.
In the year since the United States withdrew from the action plan, he said, Iran only exercised maximum restraint and goodwill. However, that policy of strategic patience has yielded no concrete results. Instead, Iran continues to pay the heavy price of the United States war against it. “In practical terms, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has become an agreement which is being respected by only one party,” he said. In order to protect its security and national interests and bring balance to the deal, Tehran announced on 8 May its intention to limit the implementation of its commitment on reserves of enriched uranium and heavy water. That decision is in full conformity with the Plan of Action, which states that Iran has the right to “cease performing its commitments […] in whole or in part” if sanctions are re-introduced. Underlining that his country entered into negotiations in a spirit of goodwill, he said the remaining signatories to the agreement must now demonstrate their own goodwill by taking timely, adequate, serious and practical steps to preserve it. For its part, Iran remains committed to securing its interest against the economic terrorism of the United States and resisting Washington, D.C.’s, “bullying and lawlessness”. In addition, he stressed that his country’s ballistic missiles are only designed to deliver conventional weapons, not nuclear ones.