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SC/14062
19 December 2019
8695th Meeting (PM)

Senior United Nations Official Denounces Moves by United States, Iran Eroding 2015 Nuclear Deal, as Security Council Delegates Call for Avoiding Missteps

Resolution 2231 (2015) Facilitator Says Accord at Crossroads, while European Union Representative Cites Efforts to Determine Shared Interests

Iran’s delegate described United States sanctions against his country as “tantamount to economic terrorism”, while a senior United Nations official called for preventing a serious confrontation in the region, as the Security Council considered the milestone 2015 agreement governing Tehran’s nuclear activities. 

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) are crucial to nuclear non-proliferation, expressing regret over the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action and Iran’s recent steps to reduce its commitments.  Iran has stated that all such steps are reversible and that it intends to remain in the Plan of Action, she reported.

Noting that regional tensions have escalated, she described attacks against oil tankers, a civilian airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.  Several Member States have provided divergent views on Iran’s test-firing of ballistic missiles.  Having examined the debris of the weapons systems used in attacks in Saudi Arabia, the Secretariat is unable to independently corroborate that the unmanned aerial vehicles or recovered components are of Iranian origin, she observed.

Also briefing the Council, the European Union’s delegate said the bloc lifted sanctions against Iran in line with its obligations under the Plan of Action.  He welcomed recent efforts to preserve the agreement, particularly those related to the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges.  European Union-led discussions with Iran focus on regional stability and are useful in determining shared interests and concerns, he reported.

Belgium’s representative, speaking in his capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), explained that he held several bilateral consultations with Member States, including Iran, focused on implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), saying that the Plan of Action is at a crossroads.

In the ensuing debate, many Council Members expressed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  The United Kingdom’s representative said it represents the best means to avert a nuclear-armed Iran, calling the decision by the United States to leave it regrettable.  Meanwhile, Iran’s actions are hollowing out the benefits of the nuclear deal and are not all reversible, she observed.

By contrast, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed that Iran’s efforts to draw down its commitments have been done in compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and are all reversible measures.  On the other hand, the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action warrants censure by the international community.

On that point, the representative of the United States said activities carried out by Iran represent a flagrant violation of international law, including the strike against a Saudi oil facility.  The United Kingdom, France and Germany agree that only Iran could have carried out those attacks, meaning Iran attacked a sovereign nation from its own territory and the Council must hold it accountable.  The United States is open to dialogue but will not sit idly by while Iran seeks to destabilize the region, she warned.

In that context, Iran’s representative described the United States offer of unconditional talks as disingenuous, adding:  “Iran does not negotiate under the threat of a sword.”  The United States illegally withdrew from the Plan of Action and its application of unlawful sanctions has been extended to other States.  “In essence, the United States is punishing them for honouring their international commitments”, he said.  Iran is still committed to the agreement; however, unilateral implementation is not sustainable.  Consequently, Iran has ceased performing its commitments, designing a step-by-step approach to allow for diplomacy.  Iran’s steps are indeed reversible, he said, but the damage inflicted on its people is not.

Also speaking were representatives of Kuwait, France, Dominican Republic, China, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium (in his national capacity), South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Poland, Equatorial Guinea and Peru.

The meeting began at 3:19 p.m. and ended at 5:31 p.m.

Briefings

ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) are crucial to nuclear non-proliferation, as well as regional and international security.  Their full and effective implementation is critical to ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.  As such, she expressed regret over the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action in May 2018, and Iran’s recent steps to reduce its commitments.  Moreover, the re-imposition by the United States of national sanctions lifted under the Plan of Action and that country’s decision not to extend waivers for trade in oil may also impede Iran’s ability to implement the Plan of Action.  Since July, Iran has surpassed Plan-stipulated limits on its uranium enrichment as well as limits on stockpiles of heavy water and low-enriched uranium.  Moreover, it has taken steps related to centrifuge research and development, and begun injecting uranium hexafluoride gas at the Fordow facility.  Iran has stated that all these steps are reversible and that it intends to remain in the Plan of Action, she reported.

She went on to note that tensions in the region have escalated, describing attacks against oil tankers, strikes against a civilian airport and an attack against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.  A serious confrontation would be devastating and must be prevented, she emphasized, urging maximum restraint to prevent further escalation.  Turning to measures contained in annex B of resolution 2231 (2015), she said no new reports have been received on the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use items contrary to paragraph 2 of the annex.  The procurement channel must work effectively and efficiently to promote increased international engagement with Iran, she pointed out, encouraging all Member States and the private sector to fully use and support this channel.  Several Member States have provided divergent views on Iran’s test-firing of ballistic missiles as well as a reportedly failed launch of a space-launch vehicle in August, she observed. 

She said France, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States viewed the missiles reportedly launched by Iran to be category I systems under the Missile Technology Control Regime, and, thus, designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.  By contrast, Iran and the Russian Federation stressed the lack of any reference to that Control Regime in paragraph 3 of annex B.  Moreover, they further stated that Iran’s ballistic missile activities are not inconsistent with paragraph 3, because the missiles were not designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.  Moreover, the United Nations Secretariat received information from the United States that several shipments of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene — a substance that can be used in solid missile fuel — were transferred to Iran in July and August, 2017.  Regarding arms-related restrictions, the Secretariat confirmed that 23 optical sights for RPG-7-type rocket propelled grenade launchers were delivered to end-users in Iran in 2016.  These may have been transferred to Yemen after January 2016, consistent with Iran’s obligations.

Noting that the Secretariat examined the debris of the weapons systems used in attacks in Saudi Arabia, she said although the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, their announcements do not correspond to observed information.  The number of impact points observed by the Secretariat demonstrates that the attacks involved a larger number and different types of weapons systems, consistent with information provided by Saudi Arabia.  Moreover, the United States has shared additional information regarding the debris.  As such, “we are unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles, or the recovered components we inspected, are of Iranian origin”, she said, and the Department is still collecting and analysing information.  The Houthis in Yemen are not known to possess the specific delta wing type of unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks, she noted.  Based on preliminary assessments, the Secretariat is unable to independently corroborate that the unmanned aerial vehicles or recovered components are of Iranian origin.

She then reported that, at the United States’ invitation, the Secretariat travelled to examine arms and related materiel seized in international waters off the coast of Yemen on 25 November and alleged to be of Iranian origin.  The anti-tank guided missiles had production dates as recent as 2018, she observed, and their container launch units had characteristics consistent with an Iranian-produced guided missile.  The Secretariat is still reviewing the information and will report back, she said.  The full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) by all Member States is integral to conflict prevention efforts, and assumes greater importance in the context of current tensions.  As such, she called on Member States to avoid confrontational actions and explore avenues for dialogue and cooperation in the interest of international peace and security.

OLOF SKOOG, Head of the European Union Delegation recalled that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action rolled back Iran’s nuclear programme, set strict limitations blocking Iran’s access to plutonium and established the most robust verification mechanism by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Iran fully complied with the nuclear-related provisions for three and a half years but has since begun to decrease its commitments under the Plan.  Highlighting that the Plan is a non-proliferation agreement with obligations on all parties, he expressed regret that the United States withdrawal, subsequent re-imposition of unilateral sanctions and decision not to extend waivers with regard to trade in oil have had a significant effect on Iran’s economy.

The European Union for its part lifted sanctions in line with the Plan’s obligations, he said, welcoming efforts to preserve the agreement in recent weeks, particularly on the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges.  Underscoring the role of the agreement in the global non-proliferation architecture, he said the international community should not assume another opportunity will be presented to address Iran’s nuclear programme in such a thorough manner.  Expressing concern over Iran’s decision to restart uranium enrichment activities at Fordow, he said a number of projects are being implemented in support of annex III on civil nuclear cooperation, particularly in nuclear safety and regulatory support.  The Procurement Channel remains a Security Council mechanism and the decision on a proposal for transfer is endorsed by all 15 members, he said, adding that it is a positive signal that the Channel keeps receiving proposals.

A series of events outside the nuclear domain are increasingly worrying, he said, urging all actors to reduce tension, refrain from escalatory rhetoric and prevent military buildup in the region.  The European Union-led discussions with Iran focus on exchanging views on regional stability and are useful platforms for discussions of shared interest and concern, he reported, saying that the absence of direct channels of communication can lead to spaces where misunderstandings and miscalculations thrive.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), speaking in his capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), recalled that the resolution endorses the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — which itself represents a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.  As Facilitator, he focused on the three areas of dialogue, transparency and maintenance of the procurement channel.  Presenting his eighth report (document S/2019/952/Rev.1), he said two Council meetings were held in “the 2231 format” during the reporting period.  On 26 July, Council representatives for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) discussed a United States proposal to maintain and update the individuals and entities on the list established pursuant to the resolution, prompting disagreements over the procedures for such updates.  On 13 December, they discussed the conclusions and recommendations outlined in the Secretary-General’s eighth report (document S/2019/934), prior to its public release.

Explaining that he held several bilateral consultations with Member States, including Iran, to discuss implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), he said informal consultations with Council members concerned were also held, with a view to reaching consensus on the text of his report.  He said the report contains references to the two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regular quarterly reports — issued in August and November — as well as six additional reports, covering developments in Iran’s implementation of nuclear commitments in the areas of enriched uranium stockpile, enrichment activities, centrifuge research and development, activities related to the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant and heavy water inventory.  He said he could not overestimate the Agency’s central role in the implementation of the Plan of Action.

Stressing that the Plan of Action is at a crossroads, he said the various letters circulated within “the 2231 format” reflect the state of deliberations among the parties.  These communications are listed and summarized in his report, as are the responses received from Iran to the United Nations.  The points of disagreement regarding the restrictive measures contained in the resolution’s annex B are also indicated.  Regarding Iran’s missile and space launch activities, he noted various letters sent by Member States describing those activities as “contrary” to annex B, as well as the counter-arguments of Iran based on a different reading of paragraph 3 of the same annex.  The differences in interpretation of that paragraph constitute a recurring point.  Other letters focused on Iran’s possible arms transfers in the region, which are another source of disagreement.

He also noted the concerns expressed following the strengthening of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States since its withdrawal from the Plan of Action and, more recently, the end of the waivers related to nuclear energy, which have had an impact on compliance with resolution 2231 (2015).  He also expressed concern over the successive disengagements announced and implemented by Iran and reported by IAEA, noting that there were no proposals submitted to the Security Council for approval through the procurement channel during the reporting period.  Referring to paragraph 2 of resolution 2231 (2015), he called on Member States and regional and international organizations to support implementation of the Plan of Action.

Statements

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is at variance with resolution 2231 (2015) and undermines Iran’s ability to comply with the agreement.  Such action warrants censure by the international community, he stressed, recalling that a Security Council member is proactively threatening to penalize others who implement the provisions of the agreement.  The United States cannot demand that Iran complies with an agreement that it itself is undermining.  Iran’s efforts to draw down its commitments under the agreement have been done in compliance with the IAEA and are all reversible measures.  Citing increased tension in the Persian Gulf, he called on the stakeholders in the region to strengthen mutual trust in order to have an inclusive security architecture that reflects the interests of all actors there.  He also called for the establishment of a conference that would include all States in the region.  The report before the Council is plagued by a chronic lack of evidence about alleged violations of the agreement by Iran, weapons transfers and travel ban for certain individuals.  If the representatives of the Secretariat cannot assert that there have been violations of the resolution then why are the themes included in the report, he posed to the Council.

KHALED ALJARALLAH, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said annex B of the report contains a comprehensive summary on the provisions on nuclear ballistic missiles and measures to strengthen the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).  He noted with concern steps taken by Iran to reduce its nuclear-related commitments and called on that country to meet its obligations under the Plan.  The report covers the implementation of controls related to ballistic missile technology and transfer of conventional weapons, he said, expressing concern over information about the use of such missiles and the unmanned vehicles in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s fuel in September.  He also called on the Council to continue to ensure that Iran comply with its obligations in all areas covered in resolution 2231 (2015).

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), underlining her delegation’s commitment to the Plan of Action, said it represents the best means to avert a nuclear-armed Iran.  As such, the decision by the United States to leave it is regrettable.  She also expressed regret over Iran’s decision to reduce its compliance, noting that its actions are hollowing out the benefits of the nuclear deal and are not all reversible.  She was determined to find a way forward, including through the dispute resolution mechanism under the Plan of Action, she said, adding that:  “Iran faces a stark choice:  continue down this damaging path or take immediate steps down the path of compliance.”  Although Iran has taken issue with the Missile Technology Control Regime categories, those definitions are internationally recognized and are incorporated into the legislation of many States.  The continued increase in Iran’s activities is inconsistent with Security Council resolutions and recent attacks in the region are reckless and unacceptable.  Current regional tensions are deeply concerning, she said, calling for de-escalation dialogue and urging Iran not to undertake actions that would take it further from Plan limits. 

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) expressed regret over the United States decision to withdraw from the Plan of Action as well as its decision to reinstate national sanctions against Iran.  Since July, IAEA has noted recurrent actions pointing to Iran’s departure from the Plan as well.  Commitments do not stop with the Plan of Action, she pointed out, noting that they cover the whole of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).  Ongoing non-compliance with a number of the text’s provisions must end.  Regarding the 14 September attacks, she said Iran bears responsibility, also citing its actions to develop a ballistic missile programme.  Moreover, she noted that Iran is focusing efforts to increase the lethality of these missiles and is continuing to engage in weapons technology transfers to State and non-State actors in the Middle East.  France stands ready to consider all Plan of Action mechanisms — including the dispute resolution mechanism — to resolve Iran’s compliance issues, she said. 

JOSÉ MANUEL TRULLOLS YABRA (Dominican Republic) expressed strong support for the Plan of Action and its full implementation.  It is imperative that exhaustive efforts be made to preserve the Plan and not scupper the years of efforts that led to its adoption.  Welcoming efforts by the European Union to preserve it, he expressed regret over the United States decision to withdraw and its re-imposition of sanctions.  He urged Iran to avoid additional actions that would breach the agreement and the confidence placed in it by the parties to the Plan of Action.  He also encouraged Iran to look into the misgivings expressed by various States regarding its activities that may be inconsistent with the measures contained in annex B of the Plan.  In addition, Iran must avoid transfer of weapons and technology to non-State actors, which are inconsistent with the Plan’s provisions.  The Plan of Action can be preserved, he pointed out, adding that in order to do so, the parties must engage in dialogue to arrive at a solution.

ZHANG JUN (China) said the Plan of Action is crucial to maintaining peace and stability in the region.  Implementation of the agreement is the only way to resolve the nuclear issue, he said, regretting actions by the United States that might impede Iran’s ability to comply with the agreement.  Regarding the drawback of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments, he pointed out that all measures taken are reversible and subject to IAEA monitoring.  All States must refrain from taking steps that might complicate the situation.  China is a negotiator, participant and staunch supporter of the agreement and will continue to be objective, impartial and responsible in efforts to uphold it.  The Secretary-General’s report should reflect the objective of resolution 2231 (2015) and fully address Iran’s legitimate concerns and lawful interests.  He also called on all parties to be cautious in addressing Iran’s missile launches so as to avoid negative impacts on the agreement’s implementation, describing them as self-defensive in position.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) advocated for the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), expressing regret over the United States withdrawal and re-imposition of unilateral sanctions.  Indonesia remains concerned over differences in interpretation and implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).  Annex B is designed “to improve transparency and create an atmosphere conducive to the full implementation of JCPOA”, he said.  Thus, it is pertinent for it to be implemented as a whole, together with the Plan of Action, and he urged parties to engage in a constructive dialogue to solve these differences.  As a proponent of balanced implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s three pillars, Indonesia believes the Plan of Action is an essential element of the global non-proliferation architecture.  As a member of many global and regional treaties, Indonesia stands unwaveringly for complete global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  It fully supports the process towards the establishment of the Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, he said, noting that the recent conference moved the world closer to a life free from such arms.

JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) said the Plan is firmly based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and strengthens the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture.  He expressed deep concern about Iran’s lack of compliance with the Plan, noting that the deliberate steps it has taken since July violate core provisions and increasingly undermine the Plan’s value for nuclear non-proliferation.  Adding that Iran is continuing to advance the scope and precision of its ballistic missile arsenal, he stressed that tests and launches of ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons are inconsistent with the Plan.  He also expressed deep concern about continued indications of Iran’s illicit arms transfer activities, especially regarding missiles and missile technology.  It is extremely troubling that the recipients of missile technology transfers seem to be non-State armed actors, he said, emphasizing that such proliferation is highly destabilizing and could seriously aggravate regional conflict dynamics.

Mr. PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), aligning himself with the European Union, called the Plan of Action a cornerstone of nuclear nonproliferation policy and a tool to build trust; it is the result of 12 years of diplomatic activities and trust building.  Expressing regret over the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement, its unilateral decision to reinstate sanctions on Iran and its decision not to extend waivers, he said those actions prevent Member States from complying with their obligations under resolution 2231 (2015).  Reporting that Belgium had joined the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, he called on Iran to comply with its obligations under the agreement, including the restrictive measures under annex B.  Expressing concern about ballistic missile activities and weapons transfers in the country, he said such action stokes mistrust and exacerbates tension in the region.  All stakeholders must exercise restraint.

MARTHINUS VAN SHALKWYK (South Africa), reaffirming his country’s commitment to the full implementation of resolution 2331 (2015), said the hard-won diplomatic effort that resulted in the Joint Plan of Action must be preserved and built upon.  Despite the regretful withdrawal of the United States, it remains of utmost importance for Iran and all the other remaining parties to continue to comply with the Plan’s provisions.  He also said he shared the Secretary-General’s disappointment regarding the decision of the United States not to renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects, which will affect the ability of Iran to fully implement the provisions of the Plan.  Only the total elimination of nuclear weapons will guarantee that such weapons will never be used, he noted.

GBOLIÉ DÉSIRÉ WULFRAN IPO (Côte d’Ivoire) said that he welcomed a consensual mechanism to investigate the question of illicit arms transfers by Iran.  On the development of ballistic missiles, stakeholders must comply with the letter as well as the spirit of paragraph 3 of annex B of the Plan of Action.  He also called for the building of State capacities to ensure efficient implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).  The parties must refrain from actions that could rekindle regional tensions in the Strait of Armuz, which is vital for international trade.  The nonproliferation architecture continues to be undermined, he observed, urging States to preserve international peace and security.  Expressing concern over reports about Iran’s enrichment of uranium, he reaffirmed his delegation’s full support for the Plan of Action, which represents the only way forward.  As such, he called upon all parties to maintain their commitments under the Plan of Action and honor their obligations under resolution 2231 (2015).

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) supported the procurement channel and the related working group, as well as the coordinating role of the European Union in ensuring conformity of relevant transfers with resolution 2231 (2015).  She said the Joint Plan of Action is an important achievement, expressing regret that its future has been called into question by the United States’ withdrawal.  Recent actions taken by Iran further endanger implementation.  She called on Iran to reverse all those measures and refrain from steps to reduce its agreed commitments.  Expressing full confidence in IAEA, she called on Iran to uphold its commitments, to never seek to acquire nuclear weapons, to continue to apply the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Additional Protocol to its safeguards and to formally ratify that Protocol in the near future.  She also expressed deep concern over Iran’s reported noncompliance with the travel ban, ballistic missile testing and continued illicit transfers of weapons materiel to regional actors.  She encouraged the country to instead cooperate with international efforts to deescalate tensions in the Middle East.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said the reports before the Council clarify key aspects related to Iran’s nuclear programme and that the Plan of Action reflects the international community’s strong commitment, requiring full compliance of all signatories to achieve its full potential.  The agreement is the best option to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and a sustainable means to reduce tensions in the region.  Calling on all stakeholders to review their positions and resume dialogue on diplomacy, he expressed concern at IAEA’s indications of activities announced and undertaken by Iran to reduce its commitments under the Plan of Action.  He pointed out that Iran continues to implement some parts of the accord, including transparency measures.

LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) said compliance with resolution 2231 (2015) and the Plan of Action reflect the value of multilateralism and diplomacy in conflict resolution.  He expressed regret over the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action and its re-imposition of sanctions and said that measures Iran adopted in response to those actions point to a reduction in its commitment to the Plan of Action.  Emphasizing the critical role of IAEA, he stressed the importance of Council unity in ensuring the agreement is implemented.  Turning to the sensitive situation in the Persian Gulf, he called on regional leaders to exercise restraint.

KELLY CRAFT (United States) said activities carried out by Iran are in flagrant violation of international law, including the attack on a Saudi oil facility.  The United Kingdom, France and Germany agree that only Iran could have been capable of those attacks, as the weapons were of Iranian design and the attack came from the north — not the south — which would have been the case if the Houthis were responsible.  That would mean Iran attacked a sovereign nation from its own territory and the Council must hold it accountable.  The Secretary-General’s report confirms that Iran continues to destabilize the region with the transfer of missile technology to Hizbullah and generally saturating the region with arms.  The United States intercepted a vessel carrying advanced arms intended for the Houthis off the coast of Yemen, she said, reporting that the United States had given United Nations arms experts access to the materiel on that interception.  The arms included cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, she said, adding that when Iran supplies weapons to proxies, its threat is not abstract.  Furthermore, there is a need to update the resolution 2231 (2015) list of sanctioned individuals with new information.  Stressing that there is no legitimate reason for Iran to restart enrichment at Fordow, she said the United States is open to dialogue but will not sit idly by while Iran seeks to destabilize the region.  Turning to Iran’s response to nationwide protests, she said the force used has been brutal and urged the United Nations to thoroughly investigate the Government’s role in protest response.

MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran) said the United States decided to illegally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, contravening its international obligations.  Subsequent events have rendered the Plan of Action almost fully ineffective, he observed, adding that the application of unlawful sanctions by the United States has been extended to other States.  “In essence, the United States is punishing them for honouring their international commitments,” he said.  As such, the sanctions represent collective punishment of the general public, prohibited even in armed conflict, targeting vulnerable people to create discontent.  As such, the United States is weaponizing food and medicine and has extended the sanctions to other humanitarian goods.  Moreover, that country’s bullying has led to the discontinuation of medicine exports to Iran, he said, citing the experience of a two-year-old patient who lost her life as a result.  Describing the United States sanctions as “tantamount to economic terrorism”, he said those involved in designing, advocating and executing them must be held accountable.

He recalled that, in July and September 2018, Plan of Action participants assured Iran of compensation, in terms of establishing effective financial channels and protection from the effects of United States sanctions.  However, none of these assurances have materialized.  Iran is still committed to implementing the Plan of Action; however, unilateral implementation is not sustainable.  Consequently, Iran has ceased performing its commitments in accordance with paragraphs 26 and 36 of the Plan of Action, designing a step-by-step approach with two-month intervals, to allow for diplomacy.  Iran’s steps are reversible, but the damage inflicted on its people is not, he stressed, adding that the Government has ceased implementing only some voluntary measures.  Those steps have not affected Iran’s cooperation with IAEA and are not inconsistent with its obligations related to safeguards.

He went on to emphasize that Iran will immediately reverse all its measures once full implementation of the Plan of Action is guaranteed by its other participants.  However, unnecessary and unwarranted measures against Iran will be met with decisive action.  The United States offer of unconditional talks with Iran is disingenuous, emanating from its habit of entering dialogue from a position of strength, rather than equal footing, he pointed out, adding:  “Iran does not negotiate under the threat of a sword.”  Rather, United States implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) will pave the way for genuine dialogue to start within the framework of the nuclear deal.  Since the conclusion of the Plan of Action, some countries have attempted to expand the Security Council’s involvement into issues that extend beyond Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, he said, adding that his country did not agree to touch its legitimate defensive capabilities or role fighting terrorism in the region.  Iran’s missiles are not designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons and, as such, lie outside the purview of resolution 2231 (2015), he said.

For information media. Not an official record.