Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

 

Briefing by the EU to the UN Security Council on Non-Proliferation – JCPOA

New York, 26/06/2019 - 15:35, UNIQUE ID: 190626_9
Statements on behalf of the EU

26 June 2019, New York - Briefing by H.E. Mr. João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in her capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to the Security Council on Agenda item: Non-Proliferation

- AS DELIVERED -

 

Mr President,

  1. Thank you for giving me the floor. I am honoured to address the Council today, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mrs Federica Mogherini, in her capacity as Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  1. My warm thanks firstly also to Secretary-General António Guterres, Under Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, and Ambassador Pecsteen, serving as Facilitator for the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231, for the great collaboration over the past months. Additionally, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the colleagues in the UN Secretariat for their dedication and support, and in particular in relation to the Procurement Channel and their work to prepare the latest report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of the UNSCR 2231. 

Mr President,

  1. We are just a couple of weeks away from 14 July and it will be four years since the historic conclusion of the JCPOA in Vienna by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, UK, China, Russia, US, Iran and the EU High Representative.  At this particular challenging moment, it is important to remind ourselves of the achievements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It rolled back Iran's nuclear programme, blocked access to plutonium and high-enriched uranium and established the most robust verification mechanism by the IAEA. The JCPOA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and was endorsed unanimously by this Council under UNSC Resolution 2231.  It is the only tool available to provide the necessary assurances on Iran's nuclear programme.
  1. This is why the EU is resolutely committed to the JCPOA, continues to support it and is determined to work with the international community to preserve it. The EU has been consistent in its commitment to the continued full and effective implementation of the agreement as long as Iran abides by its commitments. This has been repeated in numerous statements and in our most recent EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 4 February 2019.
  1. The JCPOA has been delivering on its nuclear goal: to provide the international community with the necessary reassurances on the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. As confirmed by fifteen consecutive reports by the IAEA, Iran has continued to implement its nuclear-related commitments, and it must continue to do so.
  1. With reference to the Chair's statement  after the 6 March 2019 Joint Commission, the remaining participants of the JCPOA recognise that, alongside implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the JCPOA. In this regard, the EU and all the 28 member states deeply regret the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement. The US' subsequent re-imposition of unilateral sanctions, its decision to not extend waivers  with regard to trade in oil and not to fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects are having a significant impact on Iran's economy.
  1. As recalled in her statement of 4 May 2019, together with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the High Representative remains committed to contribute to provide tangible results and economic dividends to the Iranian population. The operationalisation of INSTEX (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges), a Special Purpose Vehicle conducive to effective financial channels, is moving ahead and will enable legitimate trade with Iran, consistent with international and European laws and regulations.
  1. At the same time, the European Union notes with great concern the different announcements made by Iran from 8 May regarding its commitments under the JCPOA. As stressed in the Joint statement by High Representative Federica Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on 9 May 2019, the EU remains committed to the JCPOA. It does not accept any ultimatums and will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons).

 

Mr President,

  1. A number of projects are being implemented in support of JCPOA Annex III on civil nuclear cooperation, particularly in the field of nuclear safety and regulatory support.  Annex III helps us get a better understanding of Iran's nuclear needs and gradually build confidence on Iran's programme. It also plays a significant role for Iran as it balances the limitations of the nuclear programme with the civil nuclear development and longer term engagement.  
  1. Established under Annex IV of the JCPOA, the Procurement Channel remains a unique non-proliferation, transparency and confidence-building instrument.  It is a key mechanism to prevent the misuse of nuclear or dual-use items and to ensure that exports of such items are consistent with the JCPOA.
  1. We recognise the challenges brought about by the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of sanctions. The Procurement Channel, however, remains a UN Security Council mechanism and the decision on a proposal for transfer is endorsed by all its 15 members. In the seventh Joint Commission report on the status of the Procurement Working Group’s decisions and on any implementation issues, submitted to the Facilitator on 13 June 2019 and subsequently circulated as a document of the Security Council (ref. S/2019/488), the remaining participants stated their commitment to continue reviewing proposals in an impartial and independent manner.
  2. In this context, it is a positive signal that the Channel keeps receiving proposals, albeit at a decreased pace (44 proposals have been submitted to date).
  3. A substantial amount of outreach has been conducted during the past few years, and countries around the world are aware of the procedures of the Channel. Our outreach efforts will continue, together with colleagues from the UNSC Secretariat and the Facilitator. We expect that all Security Council members will continue to support the preservation of the Channel in line with Resolution 2231. 

Mr President,

  1. While the JCPOA addresses nuclear non-proliferation aspects, a series of events outside the nuclear domain are increasingly worrying. The EU consistently calls for reducing tension and regional military build-up by all actors. The EU has repeatedly urged Iran to refrain from activities that could deepen mistrust, such as ballistic missiles tests, which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231.
  1. The EU is a strong promoter of multilateral diplomacy and continues to advocate for dialogue and constructive engagement. Thanks to the JCPOA the EU has been able to hold discussion with Iran on regional issues. The EU-led discussions together with France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have already taken place five times, with a focus on exchanging views with Iran on regional stability. It is thanks to the JCPOA that this dialogue as well as other channels of communications between the EU and Iran has been set up and provides useful platforms for discussions.
  1. Today we may be at a critical juncture regarding the future of the JCPOA. Yet, it should be recalled that the JCPOA is a nuclear agreement that has been working and delivering on its goals. There is also no credible, peaceful alternative. The EU together with other partners of the international community will continue to work relentlessly to preserve the JCPOA as long as Iran abides by its commitments.
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