Representatives of Iran, United States Fault Each Other for Not Complying with Landmark Accord, as Council Members Press Parties to Achieve Breakthrough
With talks ongoing in Vienna to fully restore the landmark 2015 agreement to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations political affairs chief called on the United States to lift or waive its sanctions against Tehran, as Security Council delegates rallied the parties to make the difficult political decisions needed to achieve a breakthrough.
Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, said implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the outcome of 12 years of intense diplomatic and technical negotiations — has “improved considerably” since the Council’s last meeting on the topic in December 2020, following the withdrawal by the United States of letters previously sent to the Council President in August and September 2020.
She urged the United States Administration to extend the waivers related to oil trade with Iran and to facilitate non-proliferation activities at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Fordow Facility and the Arak reactor, calling these moves “needed steps” to advance implementation of the Plan and resolution 2231 (2015).
Highlighting steps taken by Iran to reduce its nuclear-related commitments, following the United States exit from the accord in 2018, she said Iran has enriched uranium up to 60 per cent, giving it a total enriched uranium stockpile of 3,241 kilogrammes, which surpasses the Plan of Action’s stipulated limits. Iran also suspended the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has not indicated whether it will maintain the temporary understanding forged with the Agency in its absence.
In this defining moment, it is critical for all parties to bring the Plan of Action “back on the right track” as soon as possible, she said, and thereby offer proof that even the most contentious issues can be addressed through dialogue, understanding and reciprocity.
“We have a limited diplomatic window ahead of us that we should not miss,” said Oloff Skoog, head of the European Union delegation, in its capacity as observer, joining other Council speakers in welcoming the United States’ intention to rejoin the accord. While the bloc is fully committed to the Plan of Action, it is deeply concerned about Iran’s accumulation of low‑enriched uranium in excess of thresholds set in the agreement.
In the ensuing dialogue, Iran’s representative said nothing has changed since December 2000 except the United States’ verbal declaration of its intention to return to compliance with the Plan of Action. Its maximum‑pressure policy and draconian sanctions continue. It is “high time” for the United States, as well as the European Union and the three European parties to the agreement, to make the difficult decisions to return to full compliance. “Those who broke their promise are the ones who must prove their sincerity and genuine political will,” he said.
The Russian Federation’s delegate said it is naïve to think that it will be easy to clean up the results of the United States’ withdrawal from the Plan of Action. All parties must demonstrate patience and political will, and if a deal is reached, it must not demonize Iran. Steps taken by Tehran were not a wilful violation of the agreement, but a legitimate response to non-compliance by the United States.
The United States representative countered, stressing that Iran continues to disregard resolution 2231 (2015). He shared the concerns of the “E3” — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — and Israel about Iran’s ballistic‑missile activities, rejecting assertions by the Russian Federation and Iran that they are not covered by resolution 2231 (2015). The United States will use tools to counter Iran’s destabilizing acts and promote adherence to resolutions 1701 (2006) and 2216 (2015), he said, which forbid the transfer of arms and related material to Hizbullah and Houthis in Yemen.
Others emphasized that the Vienna talks cannot be open-ended, with the United Kingdom’s representative stressing that “we cannot guarantee that the same terms for a deal will be on offer later in the year”. France’s delegate agreed, adding that, after six negotiating rounds, the parameters for a return to the accord have been identified and thorny questions remain pending. He called for an expedited conclusion of the negotiations. Germany’s delegate, meanwhile, urged all parties to show flexibility, stressing that the negotiations will not succeed without compromise. “We will now do everything in our power to see [Plan of Action] talks in Vienna succeed,” he assured. “We count on all parties to return with a mandate to put this agreement fully back in place.”
Also speaking today were representatives of Ireland (as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) and in her national capacity), Niger, Viet Nam, Tunisia, India, China, Saint Vincent Grenadines, Mexico, Kenya, Norway and Estonia.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:17 p.m.
ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the outcome of 12 years of intense diplomatic effort and technical negotiations. The Secretary-General has always regarded it as the best way to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful and he therefore considers it — and resolution 2231 (2015) — as crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture.
Noting that implementation of both instruments has improved considerably since the Council’s last meeting in December 2020, she said the United States, through its 18 February letter to the Council President, withdrew previous letters sent in August and September 2020, paving the way for the Vienna talks and a critical opportunity for both the United States and Iran to return to full implementation of the Plan of Action and the resolution. In that context, she called on the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the Plan of Action, extend the oil trade waivers, and facilitate non-proliferation projects at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Fordow Facility and the Arak reactor, calling these moves “needed steps” to facilitate full implementation of the Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015).
She highlighted steps taken by Iran to reduce its nuclear-related commitments following the United States withdrawal from the accord, stressing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) informed the Council that Iran has installed new and advanced centrifuges and begun research and development activities for the production of uranium metal. It has enriched uranium up to 60 per cent and now has a total enriched uranium stockpile of 3,241 kilogrammes, surpassing the Plan-stipulated limits in both cases.
She said Iran also suspended voluntary transparency measures, including the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. While IAEA and Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, allowing IAEA to continue its monitoring and verification activities, this arrangement expired on 24 June and Iran has not indicated whether it will maintain it. She urged Iran to resume the temporary understanding without delay, refrain from taking further steps to reduce its commitments, return to full implementation of the Plan of Action and to consider the concerns raised by Plan participants and other Member States in relation to resolution 2231 (2015).
Turning next to measures set out in annex B to resolution 2231 (2015), she said the United Nations has not received any report on the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use items contrary to paragraph 2. One new proposal was submitted through the Procurement Channel during the reporting period, bringing the total to 52 proposals received since 16 January 2016. The Council has received eight notifications, submitted pursuant to paragraph 2 of annex B, for certain nuclear-related activities consistent with the Plan of Action.
In that context, she said information was provided to the Secretary-General and the Security Council by France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom concerning ballistic missile launches and a space launch vehicle test by Iran in January and February. There are divergent views among them as to whether those launches are inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015), she said, adding that the Secretariat did not receive any official information alleging action inconsistent with the asset freeze provisions.
It is critical for all parties to bring the Plan of Action “back on the right track” as soon as possible, she said, allowing the instrument to serve as a powerful example of multilateral diplomacy — and proof that even the most contentious issues can be effectively addressed through dialogue, understanding and reciprocity.
OLAF SKOOG, Head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the bloc’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in his capacity as Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He said that the Plan of Action has withstood significant pressure in recent years, including the United States’ withdrawal in 2018, the reinstatement of sanctions and steps taken by Iran inconsistent with the agreement. While the diplomatic environment surrounding the agreement has improved, the agreement is still at a critical stage and must be urgently restored and fully implemented, he said.
Elaborating, he welcomed the engagement of participants in the Plan of Action in Vienna since April under the auspices of the Joint Commission, as well as separate contacts with the United States. The High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy is in close touch with all participants and the United States and is calling on them to take the difficult political decisions required to put the agreement back on track. “It is clear that time is not on our side […] We have a limited diplomatic window ahead of us that we should not miss.” The European Union welcomes the United States’ intention to rejoin the agreement and it feels encouraged by its expressed readiness to lift all related sanctions, he said.
While the European Union is fully committed to the Plan of Action, it is deeply concerned about Iran’s accumulation of low‑enriched uranium in excess of thresholds set in the agreement, he said. Iran is currently the only non-nuclear weapon State to produce 60 per cent uranium, while its research on advanced centrifuges and uranium metal are inconsistent with the agreement. They also raise serious non-proliferation concern, particularly after Iran substantially reduced the IAEA’s access to key information. It is crucial that Iran fully cooperate with the IAEA and to restore verification and monitoring activities foreseen under the agreement, he said.
The United States’ reimposition of sanctions created a significant challenge for both Iran and economic operators worldwide, not least with regard to banking and payment channels, he said. The European Union, which lifted all its nuclear‑related sanctions in 2015, has spared no efforts to promote economic and trade links with Iran, including through the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, known as INSTEX. The European Union also promotes the use of the Procurement Channel. Cooperation between the bloc and Iran in the area of nuclear safety continues despite COVID-19 challenges, he added. He urged all actors to refrain from actions and rhetoric which fuel tension and a regional military build-up. Iran should also desist from activities that could deepen mistrust, including ballistic missile tests and space vehicle launches.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), speaking in her capacity as Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), introduced the eleventh report of the Facilitator (document S/2021/602), saying it has been approved by all Council members. She said that the Council met once in the 2251 format, on 24 June, to discuss the Secretary-General’s latest report and the ongoing talks in Vienna, as well as Iran’s ballistic‑missile launches and other developments relating to the resolution. She added that, during the reporting period, only one new proposal was submitted to, and approved by, the Council through the Procurement Channel. She hoped that the Vienna talks will soon reach a positive conclusive, adding that the Council must continue to play its part in demonstrating that resolution 2231 (2015) is working as it should.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) welcomed that the report fairly reflects the current political environment and applauded the Secretary-General’s “positive reflection” of ongoing discussions regarding a potential mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He also appreciated that the report’s information on Iranian activities that are inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015) is of “high credibility”, offering another testament to the critical role performed by the Secretariat related to the “2231 format”. Iran continues to disregard provisions of resolution 2231 (2015) that call on it not to take any activity that would enable ballistic missiles to deliver nuclear weapons. He shared the concerns of the “E3” — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — and Israel expressed in letters on Iran’s ballistic‑missile activities, and rejected assertions by the Russian Federation and Iran that these activities are not covered by resolution 2231 (2015). “These acts are clearly in defiance of the resolution,” he insisted.
Iran continues its escalatory steps, including many that exceed the Plan of Action’s nuclear limits, he said. In particular, Iran is installing and operating numbers and types of centrifuges beyond the Plan of Action’s limits, producing quantities and enrichment levels of uranium that are well beyond the deal’s limits and producing uranium metal. He urged Iran to refrain from taking such steps and to instead return to full implementation of all its Plan of Action commitments, notably those related to IAEA monitoring and implementation of the additional protocol. He expressed concern over the June report by the IAEA Director General that Iran had not replied to his letter regarding its position on the possible continued recording and retention of data necessary for Plan of Action verification, and the maintenance and retention of related records. He urged Iran to allow this temporary arrangement to proceed, and to fully cooperate with the Agency in accordance with its Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)-required comprehensive safeguards agreement obligations to resolve related issues.
Noting that Iran’s support for terrorism threatens United States forces and its partners in the region, he said the United States will continue using all tools to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities and to promote implementation of other resolutions to counter conventional weapons proliferation, including provisions in resolution 1701 (2006) on the unauthorized transfer of arms to Hizbullah, and those in resolution 2216 (2015) on prohibiting the transfer of arms and related material to Houthis in Yemen. The United States is committed to ensure Iran never has a nuclear weapon, he said, stressing that discussions in Vienna have crystallized the choices to be made by both countries in efforts to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
MOUSSA MAMAN SANI (Niger), taking note of the Secretary-General’s conclusions on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), called on all Plan of Action parties to comply with their obligations and reaffirmed Niger’s support for full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). Welcoming discussions under way in Vienna, he said the procurement channel is an essential mechanism for ensuring transparency and guaranteeing that the transfer of dual-use and related items occurs in line with the resolution 2231 (2015). He called on States not party to the Plan of Action to abstain from measures that would hamper the ability of others to comply. Effective implementation of the Plan of Action was underlined at the 21 December 2020 ministerial meeting involving China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and Iran, and presided over by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. He identified the 24 June expiry of the bilateral technical agreement between the Agency and Iran — and its non-renewal — as a source concern, as it constitutes a setback for monitoring activities. He called on Iran to “look with a positive eye” at requests for extension by IAEA and to allow the Agency to continue its work beyond 24 June. He also reiterated the Secretary‑General’s call to relax all unilateral economic measures that could prevent Iran from mobilizing the resources needed to fight COVID-19, a step that could help achieve movement in the positions in negotiations currently under way.
TRA PHUONG NGUYEN (Viet Nam) said ongoing efforts in Vienna offer a valuable opportunity and she joined others in welcoming such diplomatic engagement, calling on parties to refrain from any rhetoric that might undermine these talks. Viet Nam shares the view of Member States on activities that exceed the limits of the Plan of Action, urging all stakeholders to comply with resolution 2231 (2015) and advocating for continued cooperation between Iran and IAEA in the area of monitoring, as transparency is an important aspect of the Plan of Action. Calling on parties to continue dialogue to resolve their differences and to refrain from activities that might erode trust, she applauded the contributions made by the international community and regional countries that have enabled these diplomatic efforts. Viet Nam considers resolution 2231 (2015) as the best instrument for addressing the comprehensive and long-term Iran nuclear issue and for fostering regional peace and stability. She said Viet Nam has long promoted the balanced implementation of the three pillars of the NPT, and has relentlessly worked to uphold international law.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) welcomed the resumption of talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and hoped that an agreement will soon be reached. All parties must fully and effectively implement both the agreement and resolution 2231 (2015). He took note of ongoing differences of interpretation regarding that implementation of provisions dealing with ballistic‑missile-related activities, adding that due consideration must be given to legitimate regional security concerns that were left unaddressed in the agreement. He went on to call on all concerned parties to participate in the United Nations conference tasked with drafting a treaty to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
T.S. TIRUMURTI (India) said that all issues related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. In that regard, India stands ready to help the parties, who for their part should adhere to their obligations under Council resolution 2231 (2015). “We hope that the ongoing engagement will result in a positive outcome.” He also urged Iran to continue to cooperate with IAEA in the performance of its verification activities and addressing all outstanding issues, he added.
GENG SHUANG (China) said that the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its continued maximum pressure on Iran is the root of the current problem. Citing a Chinese proverb, he said that he who ties a bell on a tiger should be the one to take it off. The United States must return to the Plan of Action without conditions, he said, adding that Iran must also resume full compliance. Important progress has been made in Vienna, but there are still many miles to go. Hopefully, all parties will act with a greater sense of urgency, show flexibility and work towards the same goal, while also refraining from any move that would complicate the situation. Whether an agreement can be reached will be the ultimate litmus test of whether the United States really practises multilateralism, he added.
DIANI JIMESHA PRINCE (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) urged the United States to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and lift its unilateral coercive measures on Iran, which are hampering the country’s ability to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. She also urged Iran to fully resume compliance with all its obligations, extend its monitoring agreement with IAEA and to restore the Agency’s access to relevant facilities. She implored the parties to the Vienna negotiations to remain committed to preserving the agreement and to engage constructively in a spirit of mutual respect and compromise. For its part, the entire international community must refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric which may inflame tensions and deter positive engagement, she said.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) said the priority is to return the United States to the Plan of Action, bring Iran back into compliance with its commitments and restore the agreement’s benefits. The Vienna talks cannot be open-ended, however, and the time for reaching a decision is approaching fast. “We cannot guarantee that the same terms for a deal will be on offer later in the year.” She expressed deep concern at Iran’s violations of its nuclear-related commitments and emphasized that it must cooperate fully with IAEA. She welcomed the start of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia and called upon President-elect Ebrahim Raisi to set his country on a different course, including by addressing concerns about its nuclear programme, ending its destabilizing activities and human rights abuses, and releasing British nationals detained in Iran.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico) said that there should be no preconditions for the United States’ return to the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action. It must lift its unilateral sanctions, while Iran must resume all the commitments it took on in 2015. Mexico understands the need to address the broader security situation, but that should be the subject of separate discussions and agreement that do not limit full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). He added that Iran should allow the resumption of IAEA monitoring and verification. He emphasized the need for maximum restraint and to avoid taking actions that do not help ease tensions, as well as the importance of adhering to the NPT.
Ms. BYRNE NASON (Ireland), speaking in her national capacity, underscored her country’s strong commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and strong support for ongoing talks in Vienna, expressing hope that they enable agreement on the implementation of commitments by all sides and a return to compliance by Iran. “It is vital that this opportunity is seized,” she said, expressing deep concern over Iran’s uranium enrichment, installation of new and advanced centrifuges and production of uranium metal, as well as the irreversibility of knowledge being acquired. She likewise expressed deep concern over its decision to suspend implementation of transparency measures and called on it to return to full cooperation with IAEA without delay. Calling on the United States to facilitate the full implementation of the Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), notably through the removal of sanctions, she stressed that all parties should avoid any action, including missile launches, that undermines trust and stability in the region.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÉRE (France), said that, since the last Council meeting on the topic in December 2020, there has been a constructive dynamic towards a return to the nuclear agreement, as well as several “disquieting” developments. Echoing the support expressed for the ongoing negotiation process, he said France is involved, notably with its “E3” partners, demanding preservation of the agreement’s benefits. After six negotiation sessions, the parameters for a return to the accord are identified and thorny questions remain pending. It is crucial for courageous decisions to be taken so that negotiations conclude and a swift return of all parties to the accord can be achieved. He called for expedited conclusion of the negotiations, stressing that “this process cannot continue indefinitely”. The nuclear situation continues to deteriorate, as Tehran undertakes increasingly sensitive uranium‑enrichment activities.
As a result, Iran has never been so close to a nuclear threshold, he said, noting that the country suspended implementation of transparency and verification measures, following which IAEA informed that its own activities had been hampered by this decision. Iran has not confirmed to IAEA that it will continue to implement the monitoring agreement, which expired on 24 June, and he called on Iran to resume cooperation with the Agency, and to immediately and fully restore its access. Noting that Iran’s ballistic‑missile activities run counter to resolution 2231 (2015), he said full implementation of the Plan of Action is an imperative, and underscored France’s priority to rapidly seek a conclusion to negotiations on the return to that accord. Beyond that, “we have other areas of concern for regional and international security,” which must be addressed by its partners and States in the region, he said.
MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), welcoming ongoing diplomatic engagements to revive the Plan of Action, encouraged affected neighboring countries in the region to support the implementation of that agreement and resolution 2231 (2015), and said that the United States and Iran should return to full and effective implementation of both texts. Further, all parties should adhere to their commitments under the Plan of Action, including the lifting of additional sanctions and retaliatory measures that violate the principles and procedures laid out in that agreement. He also said that the Plan of Action’s dispute-resolution mechanisms should be used to address differences and that IAEA should be able to continue its important verification and monitoring work unhindered on the ground. Stressing that the Plan of Action’s utility “cannot be measured based on non‑compliance”, he said that its usefulness will only become evident if its provisions are fully implemented.
MONA JUUL (Norway) stated that full, effective implementation of the Plan of Action is “the best available opportunity” to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. She commended IAEA’s professional, factual and impartial work and echoed the Secretary-General’s call for Member States to work effectively to allow trade with Iran, including by supporting the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. She expressed regret over the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Plan of Action in 2018 and unilaterally reimpose sanctions, as well as over “the worrying series of steps” taken by Iran since 2019 that contravene its nuclear-related commitments. Urging that continuing escalation be reversed, she urged Iran to return to full compliance with the Plan of Action and resume full cooperation with IAEA without delay.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that “we have turned the page once and for all on this issue”, and that the profile of a future agreement in Vienna is emerging. The Secretary-General’s report is another sign that the overall dynamic is moving in the right direction. He cautioned, however, that any stabilization process requires time and cannot be a walk in the park. It is therefore naïve to think that it will be easy to clean up the results of the United States’ withdrawal from the Plan of Action and its attempts to destroy that agreement. All parties must demonstrate patience, perseverance and political will, and if a deal is reached, it must not demonize Iran. “In international relations, countries do not have to like each other. However, they must treat each other with respect,” he stressed. He added that the goal of the Plan of Acton was never deterrence, but, rather, the normalization of economic and scientific cooperation with Iran. Steps taken by Tehran were not a wilful violation of the agreement, but a legitimate response to non-compliance by the United States. He went on to say that regional security is outside the scope of the Plan of Action and should wait until that agreement is back on track.
SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, saying that the past few years have been challenging for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, “but we have now reached a new, and hopefully positive, milestone”. Given the encouraging diplomatic engagements in Vienna, it is more important than ever for parties to refrain from actions that could further violate and undermine the agreement. He urged Iran to stop growing its uranium enrichment capabilities and stockpile and to resume complying with its commitments. Iran must also grant IAEA unimpeded access to all relevant sites and activities. He went on to say that Iran’s recent ballistic‑missile launches are destabilizing for regional security.
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran) said that the Council’s message — that the Plan of Action must be implemented and that there is no better alternative — is loud and clear. However, some Council members are ignoring the fact that Iran’s steps to cease implementing some of its commitments are remedial in nature. They call on Iran to come into full compliance as if it was Iran that withdrew from the agreement, or that it was Iran that had reimposed sanctions with the declared intention of starving the Iranian people. Iran’s steps are reversible, though the suffering of it people is not, he said, emphasizing that the Plan of Action is not a one-way street, but an agreement founded on two pillars: Iran’s nuclear-related commitments and the reciprocal lifting of all United Nations, European Union and United States sanctions.
Since the Council last met to discuss resolution 2231 (2015), nothing has changed except the United States’ verbal declaration of its intention to return to compliance with the Plan of Action, he said. However, that country’s maximum pressure policy and its draconian sanctions continue. Iran has paid a heavy price to preserve the agreement and it is therefore high time for the United States, as well as the European Union and the three European parties to the agreement, to make the difficult decisions to return to full compliance. “Those who broke their promise are the ones who must prove their sincerity and genuine political will. They are the ones who must take hard decisions,” he said.
Turning to IAEA, he said that Iran continues to cooperate with the Agency in line with its international obligations. IAEA reports confirm that there are no safeguard-related issues regarding Iran’s nuclear activities nor evidence that nuclear materials are being diverted to non-peaceful purposes. Sixty per cent enriched uranium and uranium metal have legitimate civilian applications and they are not prohibited under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. He went on to say that paragraph 3 of annex B of resolution 2231 (2015) does not concern space‑launch vehicles. Moreover, Iran’s ballistic missiles are designed to deliver conventional warheads and thus fall outside the purview of the resolution. He also stated that remarks by the United Kingdom’s representative about human rights in Iran fell outside the scope of today’s meeting.
GUENTER SAUTTER (Germany), noting that important progress has been made after six rounds of talks, nonetheless stressed that “there is no reasonable alternative to the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. It is entirely possible and entirely feasible to bring the nuclear deal fully back to life.” All parties must show flexibility and a willingness to take tough decisions. In the end, every party must be convinced that a return to implementation is in its best interest and is therefore willing to give. “That is how negotiations work. They cannot succeed without compromise,” he stressed. Germany shares the Secretary‑General’s concerns about the nuclear steps Iran has taken, including the development and use of advanced centrifuges far beyond the agreement’s limits, uranium enrichment of up to 60 per cent and ongoing research on metal production. Germany does not share the assessment that these measures are fully reversible, he explained, notably as they result in technological knowledge gains and undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the Plan of Action. “They are not conducive to building trust and confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme,” he said.
Stressing that IAEA plays a vital monitoring role, as requested by the Council, he expressed deep concern that its work has been affected by Iran’s decision to reduce implementation of its nuclear-related commitments. He urged Iran to restore full access for the Agency, adding that Germany considers Iran’s development of ballistic missiles designed to be able to deliver nuclear weapons as inconsistent with paragraph 3 of annex B. He expressed concern about the development of relevant ballistic missile types and continued test activities, which are not conducive to fostering regional security. He called for compliance by all States, notably Iran, with the prohibition on the transfer of MTCR-listed items to and from Iran, emphasizing that delivery of missile technology to non-State actors in the region is destabilizing and must cease. While the European Union embargo on conventional arms remains in place, he recognized that conventional arms provisions outlined in annex B expired in October 2020 and nonetheless urged Iran to refrain from destabilizing actions in this regard. “We will now do everything in our power to see [Plan of Action] talks in Vienna succeed,” he assured. “We count on all parties to return with a mandate to put this agreement fully back in place.”