Non-proliferation (Iran) - Security Council Open VTC

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22-Dec-2020 02:55:25
Iran must refrain from more action to reduce commitments under 2015 nuclear deal, Under-Secretary-General tells Security Council.

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Delegates Acknowledge Possible United States Return to Landmark Accord

Iran must refrain from further steps to reduce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on its nuclear programme, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council during a 22 December video‑teleconference meeting of the 15-nation organ, during which several members acknowledged a possible United States return to that landmark agreement.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefing the Council on the Secretary-General’s tenth report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) (document S/2020/1177), expressed regret that the United States has re-imposed sanctions since its withdrawal from the Plan of Action, and that Iran is scaling back some of its nuclear-related commitments under the agreement.

During the reporting period, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran had installed a cascade of IR-2M centrifuges at its Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant and began feeding uranium hexafluoride into them, she said. According to the Agency, Iran had also enriched uranium up to 4.5 per cent U-235 and brought its total enriched uranium stockpile to 2,442.9 kilogrammes, surpassing limits stipulated in the Plan of Action. In a report on 4 December, IAEA noted Iranian intentions to install more centrifuge cascades at Natanz, she added.

“We note that Iran has stated its intention to remain in the Plan and that the steps that they have taken are reversible,” she said. “It is essential that Iran refrains from further steps to reduce its commitments and returns to full implementation of the Plan.” She echoed the Secretary-General’s call on all participants to work constructively to address their differences within the dispute resolution mechanism set out in the Plan of Action. She also underscored the importance of all initiatives in support of trade and economic relations with Iran, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reimposition by the United States of all of its national sanctions that had been lifted or waived pursuant to the Plan of Action are contrary to the goals set out in the agreement and in resolution 2231 (2015), through which the Council endorsed the Plan of Action, she said. “Steps taken by the United States not to extend waivers for the trade in oil with Iran and certain non-proliferation projects may also impede the ability of Iran and other Member States to implement certain provisions of the Plan and the resolution,” she added.

Turning to the measures set out in Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015), as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, she said that the Secretariat has received no reports on the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear and nuclear-related dual‑use items, nor has it received any official information alleging action inconsistent with the ballistic‑missile-related provisions of the resolution. On arms transfers, she said that the report reflects information provided by Israel regarding the ongoing proliferation of advanced weaponry by Iran, contrary to the resolution. Iran categorically rejected those claims in its own letter to the Secretary-General.

Providing an update on an arms-related case from the last report, she said that the Secretariat ascertained that one of four alleged Dehlavieh anti-tank missiles in Libya “has characteristics consistent with the Iranian-produced Dehlavieh”. However, it could not determine if that weapon was indeed transferred to Libya and/or whether its transfer was inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015). She went on to say that, during the reporting period, Iran notified the Secretary‑General and the Council that Moshen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian science named on the 2231 Committee Sanctions List, had been “assassinated in a terrorist attack” on 27 November in Absard city.

The representative of the European Union, speaking on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in his capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, said challenges related to non-compliance with the nuclear weapons non-proliferation accord with Iran remain a global threat. The international community must address these jointly, ensuring full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). At five years of age, the accord has withstood increasing pressure over past years, which underscores its value and provides solid evidence that diplomacy in its favour must be continued. Further, it is crucial that cooperation with IAEA remains intact, especially its impartial and technical capacity to monitor compliance with the accord. The Union deeply regrets the decision taken by the United States in May 2018 to withdraw from the Plan of Action and its subsequent re-imposition of previously lifted unilateral sanctions, as well as the decision to discontinue granting nuclear waivers, which have hampered full implementation of the deal.

Iran continued to comply with the nuclear provisions of the agreement for three and a half years, including for 14 months after the United States withdrew from the accord and re-imposed unilateral sanctions, he noted. However, it is deeply worrying that the country continues to decrease its nuclear-related commitments, especially its continued accumulation of low‑enriched uranium in excess of the Plan of Action’s stockpile and level thresholds, along with its continued research into advanced centrifuges and their ongoing transfer underground. In addition, Iran has adopted a new law allowing for and supporting further steps towards an increase to 20 per cent uranium enrichment, which is worrying. He expressed appreciation over indications that Iran is ready to return to fully implement the Plan of Action, strongly encouraging sufficient space for diplomacy to bring the accord back on that path in the near future.

Philippe Kridekla (Belgium) spoke in his capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), saying that since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action entered into force, it remains the best way to guarantee the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. Presenting his tenth report as Facilitator (document S/2020/1244), which covers the period 24 June to 17 December, he said that he cannot overestimate the central, impartial, factual and professional role played by the IAEA as it continues its verification and monitoring activities in Iran in light of resolution 2231 (2231).

Reviewing the various letters circulated within the “2231 format”, he recalled that on 20 August, the Secretary of the State of the United States wrote to the President of the Security Council (document S/2020/815) to say that his country was initiating the process set forth in resolution 2231 (2015) to re-impose specified measures terminated under that text. Thirteen Council members expressed divergent views on that letter, he said, adding that all communications in that regard, including those from Iran and the Secretary-General, are included in his report. Divergent views on restrictions on arms transfers to and from Iran, and on the travel ban that expired on 18 October, were also conveyed in letters during the reporting period. Those views touch upon issues at the heart of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), he said, praising all interested parties for showing restraint and a strong will for cooperation to reach consensus on his report. He concluded by echoing the support expressed by the Secretary-General and the Joint Commission, which monitors the Plan of Action, in favour of preserving the agreement.

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