Check against delivery
Let me first congratulate Estonia for a tremendous Security Council presidency. I would also like to thank the briefers: Ambassador Olof Skoog for reminding us of the important role of the EU High Representative as coordinator of the Joint Commission and for the strong support for the JCPoA not only from the EEAS, but from the EU and its Member States as a whole.
To Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason for having taken on the important work as Facilitator of the 2231 format; and to USG Rosemary DiCarlo for the continuing and ongoing support of the Secretariat to the implementation of resolution 2231.
We also welcome the support expressed by the Secretary General for the Vienna talks and for our efforts to restore and fully “revive” the JCPoA. We have now had six rounds of talks during which we have made important progress.
There is no reasonable alternative to the JCPoA. We believe it is entirely possible and entirely feasible to bring the nuclear deal fully back to life. But we are not there yet.
In order to get there, all parties need to show flexibility and a willingness to take tough decisions. In the end, every party needs to be convinced that a return to full JCPoA implementation is in its interest, and is therefore willing to give. That is how negotiations work –they cannot succeed without compromise.
On the Secretary General’s report that we are discussing today, I would like to stress that we fully share the SG’s concerns about the nuclear steps that Iran has taken. These worrying steps include the development and use of advanced centrifuges far beyond JCPoA limits, uranium enrichment of up to 60%, and also the ongoing R&D activities on uranium metal production. Unfortunately, we don’t share the assessment expressed today by some colleagues that those measures are fully reversible. They result in technological knowledge gains and they undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the JCPoA. Moreover, they are not conducive to building trust and confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
Another point that concerns us is transparency: The IAEA plays a vital role in monitoring and verifying Iran’s nuclear-related commitments, as the Council requested in resolution 2231. It is therefore deeply concerning that the Agency’s work has been affected as a result of Iran’s decision to reduce implementation of its nuclear related commitments.
We strongly support the IAEA’s continued efforts, and we urge Iran to fully co-operate with the IAE and to restore the IAEA’s access in full.
Turning to Annex B of the resolution, let me briefly reiterate that we continue to consider Iran’s development of ballistic missiles designed to be capable to deliver a nuclear weapon, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, as inconsistent with paragraph 3 of Annex B to Resolution 2231 (2015). We are concerned about Iran’s development of a number of relevant ballistic missile types and continued test activities. Clearly, such ballistic missile activity is not conducive to fostering stability and security in the region.
Moreover, we reaffirm the need to ensure compliance by all states, in particular by Iran, with the prohibition on transfers of MTCR-listed items to and from Iran. The delivery of missile technology to non-state actors in the region is destabilising and must cease.
Lastly: While the EU embargo on conventional arms remains in place vis-à-vis Iran, we acknowledge and recognize that the conventional arms provisions laid out in Annex B expired last October. Iran is called upon to behave in a responsible manner and refrain from destabilising actions.
Let me finish by noting the following: We have heard different nuances in today’s discussion. At the same time, all of us around the table have stressed again the importance of the JCPoA as a key contribution to the nonproliferation and security architecture in the region and beyond. This is why we worked very hard here in New York last summer in order to defend and protect the JCPoA.
We will continue to do everything in our power to see the JCPoA talks in Vienna succeed; we count on all parties to return with a mandate suitable to put this important agreement fully back in place.