18 July 2016, Security Council Briefing on the First Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

Jeffrey Feltman UN Security Council Iran Nuclear Programme
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Security Council Briefing on the First Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of resolution 2231 (2015)

Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

Mr. President, Member of the Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A year ago, the Security Council adopted resolution 2231 (2015), which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  This resolution, including the historic agreement it addresses, stands apart as a signal accomplishment in the history of this Council.  Through diplomacy and negotiations – China, France, Germany the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States, with the support of the European Union,  and Iran – addressed one of the most pressing peace and security issues on the agenda of the Security Council for the last decade.  

Resolution 2231 (2015) heralded a new chapter for Iran’s relationship with the Security Council.  Fully implemented, the JCPOA will reinforce global non-proliferation norms, and assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.  It will also, through sanctions lifting, help to realize the long-awaited hopes and aspirations of the Iranian people to be reconnected to the global economy and the international community.  

Six months after Implementation Day, the Secretary-General commends the Islamic Republic of Iran for implementing its nuclear-related commitments, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  He also commends the European Union and the United States for the steps they have taken in accordance with their sanctions-related commitments under the JCPOA.  

As we consider today’s report on the implementation of the provisions of Annex B to resolution 2231 (2015), we do so against this backdrop of progress in the implementation of the JCPOA and the expressed commitment of all its participants to jointly work through implementation challenges. 

As the Secretary-General noted in his report, implementation challenges exist for any agreement, let alone one as comprehensive and complex as the JCPOA.   He calls on all participants to stay the course, fully implement all aspects of this landmark agreement, and work through challenges in a spirit of cooperation and compromise, good faith and reciprocity.

Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,

Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the first report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2231 (S/2016/589).  This report was circulated to the Council on 1 July pursuant to Annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) and paragraph 7 of the note by the President of the Council issued on 16 January 2016 (S/2016/44) and has been issued today.   

This report focuses strictly on the restrictive measures in Annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) that came into force on 16 January 2016.  Our mandate is not to report on all other provisions of the resolution or Annex A (on the JCPOA), nor touch upon the work of the Joint Commission established in the agreement. These Annex B provisions include restrictions on nuclear-related transfers and activities; ballistic missile-related transfers and activities; arms-related transfers; as well as an assets freeze and a travel ban. 

The report informs the Security Council that, since 16 January 2016,  the Secretary-General has not received any report, nor is he aware of any open source information, regarding the supply, sale, transfer or export to Iran of nuclear-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of the JCPOA and resolution 2231 (2015).  

As Council members are aware, the Secretariat helped to establish the operational linkages between the Security Council and the Procurement Working Group of the Joint Commission for the processing of nuclear-related proposals submitted by Member States under the procurement channel.  These have been established, with due regard for information security and confidentiality.  Optional forms in all six UN official languages are also available for use by Member States on the Council's 2231 webpage.

I now turn to the restrictive measures on ballistic missile-related transfers and activities. Mr. President,  since 16 January, the Secretariat has received no information regarding the supply, sale, transfer or export to Iran of ballistic missile-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of  resolution 2231 (2015).   

However, in early March 2016, during military exercises, Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles.  The report includes details of those launches from Iranian media sources and information provided to the Secretary-General from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The report also includes the views of Iran on the issue.  As you are aware, the Security Council discussed those launches on 14 March and 1 April.  There are clear differences in the Council regarding whether those ballistic missile launches are inconsistent with the resolution. Iran too has its own interpretation of this provision. While it is for the Security Council to interpret its own resolutions, the Secretary-General stressed that we must maintain the momentum created by the conclusion of the JCPOA, consistent with its constructive spirit. In this regard, he calls upon Iran to avoid such ballistic missile launches which have the potential to increase tensions in the region.

In terms of restrictions on arms transfers, the report notes the seizure of an arms shipment by the US Navy in the Gulf of Oman in March of this year.  The United States concluded that the arms had originated in Iran and that this transfer was contrary to the provisions of Annex B to the resolution. Iran informed the Secretariat that it never engaged in such activity. The Secretariat will continue reviewing the information provided by both countries.  

The report also provided information to the Security Council on the participation of Iranian entities in the Fifth Iraq Defense Exhibition held from 5 to 8 March in Baghdad. It is our understanding that the transfer of arms from Iran to Iraq should have required prior approval by the Security Council, pursuant to paragraph 6 (b) of Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015).  Iran considered that no prior approval was required from the Council for this activity because Iran retained ownership of the items exhibited. It also appears that the Defense Industries Organization, an entity currently on the 2231 List, may have participated in the exhibition, which may have implications for the implementation of the assets freeze provisions in Annex B. 

Finally, the report also draws the attention of Council members to the possible foreign travel undertaken by Major General Qasem Soleimani contrary to the provisions of Annex B to the resolution. 

Mr. President,

In resolution 2231 (2015), the Council expressed its desire to bring about a fundamental shift in is relationship with Iran.  I would like to share with you that we had regular and close interactions with Iran throughout the process of drafting this report, including sharing with its representatives relevant information that the Secretariat was examining and providing them with a right of reply.  The Secretariat intends to continue its close interaction with Iran.  The next report of the Secretary-General will be submitted to the Council in January 2017. 

Mr. President,

As we mark the first anniversary of the JCPOA and the adoption of resolution 2231 (2015), the Secretary-General wishes to reaffirm the enormous responsibility that JCPOA participants carry for the full and effective implementation of this agreement.

Hope for a more secure world, closer partnership to resolve common challenges, and the deliverance of tangible benefits for the people of Iran rest in your hands.