I thank the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, the Head of the European Union Delegation and the Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 for their briefings.
Since the last Security Council meeting on the implementation of resolution 2231 in December 2020, we have noted both a constructive dynamic towards a return to the Iranian nuclear agreement and a series of worrying developments.
France echoes the support expressed for the negotiation process underway in Vienna on the return of the United States and Iran to the implementation of all their commitments under the Iranian nuclear agreement and resolution 2231. France is actively involved in these negotiations, in particular with its E3 partners, in a demanding manner, particularly in terms of preserving the non-proliferation benefits of the agreement, and in a pragmatic manner too, given that the priority is a rapid stabilization of the nuclear situation in Iran. After six negotiating sessions, the parameters of this return to the agreement are clearly identified and the most difficult questions remain pending. It is now crucial that the necessary courageous decisions be taken to conclude the negotiations and allow for a swift return of all the parties to the agreement. We will continue to mobilize all efforts to expedite the conclusion of the negotiations. This process cannot go on indefinitely, because the parameters and benefits of a return to the Agreement will not be the same if too much time goes by.
Despite the launch of this process three months ago, the nuclear situation in Iran has continued to deteriorate. Iran is developing particularly sensitive nuclear activities in violation of the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: research and development on uranium metal production; uranium enrichment at 20% since the beginning of the year and now up to 60%, without any civilian need in Iran for such enrichment rates; accumulation of advanced centrifuges in enrichment facilities, etc. As a result, Iran has never before been so close to a threshold capability today.
In addition, Iran has suspended for more than four months the implementation of the voluntary verification and transparency measures under the Vienna Agreement, including the Additional Protocol. The Agency has informed the Council that its activities have been "affected" by this decision. A mechanism was put in place to preserve the possibility for the IAEA to recover continuity of knowledge of the nuclear programme in the future, in the context of a return to the Agreement. However, this mechanism expired on 24 June and Iran has not yet confirmed to the IAEA that it intends to continue implementing these provisions. It is of great concern that the IAEA is no longer able to fully carry out the verification and monitoring mission for which the Security Council mandated it under Resolution 2231. We therefore call on Iran to resume cooperation with the IAEA and restore full access without delay.
Nuclear developments in Iran are also worrying in view of the continuation of ballistic activities during the last six months contrary to Resolution 2231. France is particularly concerned regarding the proliferation of missile activities and technologies in the region, especially ballistic missiles, which have a particularly destabilizing effect.
For France, the full implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement and of Resolution 2231 is an imperative both for non-proliferation and for the stability of the Middle East. Our priority is to seek a rapid conclusion of the current negotiations on the return to the agreement in order to resume full implementation as soon as possible. We cannot stop here: beyond this nuclear agreement, we have other areas of concern for regional and international security, which must be addressed with our partners and the states of the region.