– Check against delivery –
- 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, Mr Josep Borrell, in his capacity as Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and will, therefore, focus my intervention today on this.
- I would also like to extend my gratitude to Secretary General Antonio Guterres and H.E. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Ambassador of Belgium serving as Facilitator for the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231 for the excellent collaboration over the past months. Additionally, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude for the work done by the colleagues in the UN Secretariat, including in relation to the Procurement Channel and work to prepare the latest report of the UN Secretary General on the implementation of UNSCR 2231.
- Nuclear proliferation remains a global threat with potentially worldwide consequences. That is why we have the responsibility as members of the international community to address these challenges jointly – for the benefit of world peace and for future generations. Only last week the international community celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. At that time, 75 years ago, the disastrous damage caused by nuclear weapons was fresh in memory. It is in this light and with this memory in mind that we need to view the JCPOA - as a key component of the global non-proliferation architecture that helps reduce regional and global security risks.
- The JCPOA has removed the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran from the regional security equation. Most importantly, it has done so in a verifiable way as the agreement provides for an unprecedented amount of IAEA access and monitoring under Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol. Thanks to the Additional Protocol, the IAEA has access in both declared and undeclared sites in Iran, and in key facilities the IAEA has installed 24/7 online monitoring systems. According to the IAEA’s annual Safeguards Implementation Reports, Iran’s regular inspections have doubled compared to the period before the JCPOA. In addition, since 2016, Iran consistently holds the highest number of complementary access under the Additional Protocol.
- It is important to remember that the Additional Protocol is implemented by Iran as part of its JCPOA commitments. Therefore, losing the JCPOA would also mean losing the Additional Protocol, the access rights granted to the IAEA and, accordingly the additional transparency.
- Unfortunately, despite all its achievements, the JCPOA has been increasingly challenged. As Coordinator of the Joint Commission we have spared no efforts to engage with all remaining participants and other partners to find solutions within the framework of the JCPOA and to address current difficulties, including matters referred to the Joint Commission for resolution. Now more than ever a joined up international effort is needed to preserve the agreement, an agreement that was endorsed by the international community through the adoption of the UNSC Resolution 2231.
- I would also like to reiterate our deep appreciation for the IAEA, which plays a crucial role in monitoring and verifying the entirety of Iran’s nuclear programme, including Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA. We fully support the impartial and technical work carried out by the IAEA, as well as efforts that facilitate the IAEA in carrying out its mandate.
- I recognise that Iran continued to fully comply with the nuclear-related provisions for three and a half years, including for 14 months after the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and re-imposed unilateral sanctions which the EU and its Member States as well as the other remaining participants of the JCPOA continue to deeply regret.
- However, it is deeply worrying that Iran has decreased its nuclear related JCPOA commitments. We remain particularly concerned about Iran’s continued accumulation of low enriched uranium in excess of the JCPOA stockpile and enrichment level thresholds, its continued expansion of R&D with advanced centrifuges, and the enrichment activities in Fordow. These activities are inconsistent with the nuclear-related provisions of the JCPOA. We urge Iran to reverse these activities and return to full implementation of its commitments without delay.
- At the last Joint Commission meeting on 26 February the remaining participants in the JCPOA confirmed their determination to pursue all efforts to preserve the agreement. Full and effective implementation by all sides is key. These efforts have continued over the past months. And we remain determined to continue working with the international community to preserve the JCPOA, an important multilateral achievement, endorsed by UN Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).
- I would like to recall that the JCPOA is a nuclear non-proliferation agreement. Implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments is one essential part of the agreement. Here the agreement sets strict limitations regarding Iran’s access to both, plutonium and high-enriched uranium, and establishes a comprehensive monitoring and verification mechanism. The other essential element is the comprehensive lifting of sanctions promoting and facilitating the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran.
- The European Union for its part lifted sanctions in line with its JCPOA obligations on Implementation Day . Today it remains fully committed to working on the preservation of the agreement, including towards the objective of normalising the economic and trade relations with Iran. In this spirit, extensive technical support has been provided to set up and operationalise the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
13. I would like to address the issue of the possible snapback of sanctions in this Council, about which there has been recent speculation. As the High Representative has already said, in May 2018 the US announced that it was ending its participation in the JCPOA. This announcement was confirmed in a presidential memorandum. Since then the US has not participated in any meetings or activities within the framework of the agreement.
14. I will now turn to the Procurement Channel which was 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.
15. 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 ninth Joint Commission report on the status of the Procurement Working Group’s decisions and on any implementation issues, submitted to the Facilitator on 5 June and subsequently circulated as a document of the Security Council S/2020/508, the remaining participants stated their commitment to continue reviewing proposals in an impartial and independent manner.
16. In this context, it is a positive signal that the Channel continues to receive proposals. We expect all Security Council members to continue to support the preservation of the Channel in line with Resolution 2231.
17.We also deeply regret the US decision to end the three waivers covering key JCPOA nuclear projects in Iran, including the Arak Modernisation Project. These projects, endorsed by Security Council resolution 2231, serve the non-proliferation interests of all and provide the international community with assurances of the exclusively peaceful and safe nature of Iranian nuclear activities.
18. Today, as I have said I am focusing my intervention on the JCPOA. Nevertheless, I am very mindful of a series of events outside the nuclear domain which are increasingly worrying.
19. Finally, I should like to recall that the JCPOA will have its fifth anniversary in two weeks. The agreement remains a great achievement of multilateral diplomacy. Full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides is crucial. It remains the only tool to provide the international community with the necessary assurances regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. It is, therefore, essential that we do all we can to preserve it. We should not allow it to be derailed or degraded or to become irreparable. Nor should we assume that an opportunity will arise again in the future for the international community to address Iran’s nuclear programme in such a comprehensive manner.