Non-Proliferation - Security Council, 9225th Meeting

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19-Dec-2022 01:58:25
Security Council urges Iran to abide by commitments under Joint Nuclear Plan, United States to lift sanctions against country, in kickstarting talks.

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Delegates Lament Iran’s Alleged Support to Russian Federation’s Military Invasion of Ukraine, Houthis in Yemen
Warning that the opportunity for diplomacy is waning, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today that all parties must resolve outstanding issues relating to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to preserve gains made to date, as members diverged on whether the United States or Iran is to blame for stalled negotiations on the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.

Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, noting that the United States and Iran have yet to return to full, effective implementation of the Plan of Action, observed that “the space for diplomacy appears to be rapidly shrinking”. nbsp;Since the Council last met on this issue, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Iran’s intention to install new centrifuges and produce more enriched uranium and, while the Agency is unable to verify Iran’s stockpile, it is estimated to be more than 18 times the allowable amount under the Plan. nbsp;Further, the IAEA has reiterated that Iran’s decisions have impacted the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Against that backdrop, she called on Iran to reverse steps it has taken since July 2019 that are inconsistent with its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan, and on the United States to lift its sanctions pursuant to that agreement. nbsp;She went on to note that several States have provided information relating to Iran’s activities that reflects diverging views among Member States on whether such actions are inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015). nbsp;Stressing that restoring the Plan remains crucial to assuring the international community of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, she encouraged all parties and the United States to resume efforts to resolve outstanding issues — lest gains achieved by the Plan to date be completely lost.

Silvio Gonzato, speaking on behalf of Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Iran’s unilateral June decision that all IAEA Plan-related surveillance and monitoring equipment be removed from operation has further aggravated existing concerns. nbsp;Iran, which conditioned a deal to restore the Plan on settlement of “outstanding safeguards issues”, must fully cooperate with the IAEA. nbsp;Expressing regret that Iran continues to face economic consequences following the United States’ withdrawal from the Plan and its reimposition of unilateral sanctions, he noted that the European Union’s nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions remain lifted. nbsp;He expressed concern, however, over Iran’s military support to the Russian Federation’s war of aggression in Ukraine, adding that the bloc will continue to respond as necessary.

Fergal Tomas Mythen (Ireland), speaking in his capacity as Security Council facilitator for implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), stressed that the IAEA’s work provides confidence to the international community that Iran’s nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. nbsp;He also encouraged all participants in the Plan, Member States and the private sector to fully support the Procurement Channel.

In the ensuing debate, many speakers expressed concern over advances in Iran’s nuclear programme and its alleged transfers of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Russian Federation and materiel to the Houthis in violation of resolution 2231 (2015). nbsp;Others stressed that unilateral sanctions against Iran are counterproductive to efforts to restore the Plan, urging the need to restore confidence between the parties. nbsp;Members also highlighted the importance of the IAEA’s monitoring and verification activities, calling for full access for the Agency to carry out its work.

The representative of the United States said his country has been engaged for months in serious negotiations aimed at a mutual return to the Plan’s full implementation. nbsp;However, Iran’s own actions have been responsible for preventing that outcome. nbsp;Further, Tehran’s repeated failure to cooperate with the IAEA and expansion of its nuclear programme for no legitimate civilian purpose reinforce the United States’ scepticism about Iran’s willingness and capability to reach a deal. nbsp;He went on to state that, given Iran’s increasing integration into the Russian Federation’s defence sector, the United States fears additional violations in the future. nbsp;“This is not acceptable,” he said.

The Russian Federation’s representative, however, stressed that actions of the United States have chipped away at bases of the Plan, and that all subsequent steps taken by Tehran were a mere reaction to pressure from the United States. nbsp;Turning to alleged deliveries of drones by Iran to the Russian Federation for use in Ukraine, he said such allegations are patently concocted and false. nbsp;“We see no insurmountable problems preventing restoration of the JCPOA,” he said, but added that attempts to exert pressure on Iran are liable to completely negate prospects for restoring the deal.

Ghana’s delegate said the Plan presents a balanced compromise that enables Iran to benefit from peaceful uses of nuclear energy for its development, while ensuring imperatives of non-proliferation. nbsp;She encouraged all parties to refocus on the general good and define steps necessary to restore the Plan. nbsp;Moving forward, unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran must be lifted, as they have a negative impact on that country’s economy and contribute to tensions that increase security risks. nbsp;The Iranian Government must also fully assume its commitments under the deal, she added, calling for unimpeded access for the IAEA to conduct its verification and monitoring activities in Iran.

On that point, the representative of the United Arab Emirates expressed hope that dialogue between Iran and the IAEA can continue to restore the Agency’s ability to monitor that country’s nuclear activities. nbsp;He voiced concern, however, about findings in the Secretary-General’s report highlighting that cruise-missile parts, seized by the United Kingdom, have many similarities with those present in cruise missiles used by the Houthis in their terrorist attacks in Yemen against Saudi Arabia and his country. nbsp;The Council must do more to counter the threat of non-State actors acquiring missile and drone technology and prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, he stressed.

Iran’s representative stated that the Plan can only be restored by addressing the root causes of its current situation — the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement on 8 May 2018. nbsp;Tehran’s full compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan have been verified by the IAEA, and its steps in reaction to the United States’ withdrawal were remedial measures based on its rights under the agreement. nbsp;Further, Iran has officially stated that it has never produced or supplied — nor does it intend to — items that it determines could contribute to the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems. nbsp;Reiterating Iran’s commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, he stressed that “the United States now has the ball in its court”.

The representative of the United States, taking the floor a second time, said: nbsp;“The ball is not in the US’ court; on the contrary, the ball is in Iran’s court.”

Also speaking were representatives of Gabon, Ireland, Mexico, China, France, Albania, Norway, Brazil, United Kingdom, Kenya, India and Germany.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:04 p.m.
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