Statement on Non-Proliferation: Implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231

Statement by H.E. Mr. Majid Takht Ravanchi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
June 30, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the briefers for their reports.

Today, the Council’s message is loud and clear: the JCPOA must be implemented and there is no better alternative.

Despite such encouraging statements, we have recently heard (including in this meeting) discouraging statements from a few Council members pointing their fingers at the victim instead of demanding the culprit to act responsibly.

They have deliberately ignored the fact that Iran’s steps in ceasing implementation of some of its commitments are remedial in nature. They have called on Iran to come to full compliance with its JCPOA commitments as if it was Iran that withdrew from the JCPOA; as if it was Iran that re-imposed or introduced countless inhumane sanctions with the publicly declared objective of starving an entire nation; as if it was Iran that brazenly threatened all States either to violate Resolution 2231 or face punishment; as if it was Iran that pursued maximum pressure policy; and as if it was Iran that made every attempt to kill the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 forever.

Our record and that of the United States with respect to the JCPOA are clear. The challenges of the JCPOA’s implementation cannot be assessed in isolation.

These challenges arose when President Trump started to demonize the JCPOA even before coming to office and harass Iran’s business partners; and later, in 2018, unilaterally and unlawfully withdrew from the JCPOA; and by re-imposing sanctions, waged an all-out economic war against us with deliberate objective of “starving” the Iranian people. Weaponizing food and medicine is prohibited even in wartime and this indeed is a manifestation of crimes against humanity.

Nevertheless, instead of taking immediate remedial measures allowed by the JCPOA, we exercised strategic patience for one year, but to no avail. Our maximum restraint was responded to with the so-called “maximum pressure” policy of the U.S. and the appeasement policy by Europe.

Only one year after the U.S. withdrawal, we took certain remedial steps authorized by the JCPOA’s paragraphs 26 and 36, according to which, in case of “a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions”, Iran has “the right to cease performing” its commitments “in whole or in part”.

At the same time, Iran’s response was applied in a reasonable and incremental manner in order to provide more time for common sense to prevail.

Yet, while Iran’s steps are reversible, the sufferings of our people are not. Of course, we cannot and will not overlook hundreds of billions of dollars of damages inflicted upon the Iranian economy. But unfortunately, precious lives lost due to sanctions are irreversible.

How can the pain, grief and emotional problems throughout the life of a kid for the loss of his or her mother due to the lack of certain medicine, the import of which was prevented by sanctions, be compensated?

Or, how will the lifelong sufferings of mothers and fathers who have lost their children due to the lack of medicines for rare diseases be relieved and compensated?

Therefore, this is the factual context within which the current implementation status of the JCPOA must be evaluated.

It must be reminded that the JCPOA is not a one-way street. It is founded on two pillars: Iran’s nuclear-related commitments and the reciprocal commitments for the lifting of all UN, EU and U.S. sanctions as well as promoting normal economic and trade relations with Iran. All these commitments are meticulously worded and explained in detail in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231.

Since the Council’s previous meeting on Resolution 2231, nothing has changed except the verbal declaration of the United States of its intention to return to compliance with the JCPOA. In reality, till this very moment, the maximum pressure policy and the draconian sanctions against our people still continue and the U.S. continues to be in violation of JCPOA and Resolution 2231.

Even despite the unanimous order of the International Court of Justice, on 3 October 2018, obliging the United States to remove impediments to humanitarian trade with Iran, all humanitarian goods, including much needed medicine and medical equipment have been subjected to sanctions.

The general authorization, by the U.S. Treasury Department on 17 June 2021, on certain COVID-19-related transactions with Iran clearly and conclusively refutes the previous United States’ claims that such items were exempted from sanctions.

In contrast to certain remaining JCPOA participants which has only paid lip service to the JCPOA in the past years, Iran is the country which has paid a heavy price to preserve this agreement. Therefore, it is high time for the U.S., and off course, EU/E3 to make “difficult decisions” to return to full compliance with the JCPOA.

We have fully proven our sincerity during the JCPOA’s negotiation, conclusion and implementation. We have demonstrated our resolute determination to keep it alive by exercising strategic patience and maximum restraint for years. We did that, while we were not and still are not receiving the intended benefits from the deal.

Those who broke their promise are the ones who must prove their sincerity and genuine political will. They are the ones who must take hard decisions.

Therefore, they are not in a position to criticize Iran for taking remedial measures which are fully authorized under the deal; are in no way inconsistent with our obligations under the NPT and our safeguards agreement; and do not have any alleged proliferation concern contrary to what certain countries attempt to portray, as our nuclear program has been under the Agency’s “most robust” monitoring and verification mechanism. The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to cooperate with the IAEA in line with its international obligations.

IAEA reports including in the past six months confirm that there is no safeguards related issue regarding Iran’s ongoing nuclear activities and there is no evidence of diversion of the nuclear materials to non-peaceful purposes.

It shall be added that, contrary to what has been declared, the uranium enriched up to 60 percent and the uranium metal have legitimate civilian applications and none of them are prohibited under the NPT.

The law passed by our Parliament was indeed a calibrated response to dismal record of unlawful measures by the United States and the impotence of the EU/E3 to withstand such measures for well over three years.

The objective of that law is to retrieve the lost balance in the JCPOA’s implementation, as it clearly states that Iran’s remedial measures are reversible if the JCPOA is fully implemented by others in practice and all sanctions are fully removed.

At the same time, to give more room for diplomacy, a temporary technical understanding reached between Iran and the IAEA in February and extended in May 2021. Nevertheless, after four months of negotiations, nothing has changed in practice and the Iranian nation continues to suffer from the unlawful sanctions.

In the past few months, certain attempts have also been made to establish a possible link between paragraph 3 of annex B to Resolution 2231 and the launches by Iran of certain ballistic missiles or space launch vehicles and consequently, to draw an arbitrary conclusion.

Paragraph 3 of annex B does not concern space launch vehicle for a number of obvious reasons including their different design, technical nature and mission.

Additionally, Iran’s ballistic missiles are designed to deliver conventional warheads and are “not designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”, and accordingly are outside the purview of Resolution 2231.

The development of a conventional missile program is an inherent right under international law and is neither prohibited nor limited by resolution 2231. The Islamic Republic of Iran will not compromise on its security and its conventional defensive capability as no other country does.

We are also determined to pursue the realization of our inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes despite all plots, sabotage and terrorist acts. The latest of such unlawful measures were the assassination of martyr Fakhrizadeh, an outstanding Iranian nuclear scientist as well as the 11 April 2021 terrorist act at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant -- with the clear indications pointing to the Israeli regime’s responsibility for both cases as also recently acknowledged by the ex-Mossad chief. This Council must hold the Israeli regime to account for such adventuristic practices.

Mr. President,

Iran’s decision to negotiate and conclude the JCPOA was based on our principled policy to make the best use of dialogue and diplomacy in advancing our foreign policy objectives. We have always been steadfast in applying this policy.

Iran will remain consistent and resolute in pursuing this approach regarding the JCPOA as long as other parties put an end, completely and without any precondition or further delay, to their bullying policies, violating their obligations and dishonoring their promises.

The JCPOA is a deal made to secure the interests of all sides. While we are sincere and serious in current negotiations, our ultimate goal is only to ensure implementation of the deal as is by all, no more, no less.

Given years of serious violations of the JCPOA by other sides, it is essential to secure enough assurances that all sanctions are removed verifiably; and the U.S. will not, once again, withdraw from the JCPOA or abuse its mechanism to create another implementation crisis to deprive Iran of its benefits from the deal.

This is vital for establishing confidence in the full and continued adherence of the United States and E3/EU to their commitments, and thus creating a calm and stable atmosphere required for “promoting and facilitating the development of normal economic and trade contacts and cooperation with Iran”, as expressly stated in Resolution 2231.

This is of particular importance for Iran’s business partners to conclude agreements with Iran with peace of mind. It is also critical for Iran to fully benefit from the deal’s dividends.

Our observations on Secretary-General’s report are contained in my letter already sent to the Council.

Lastly, in reaction to what has been said in this meeting, I would like to say a few words about our region.

We are living in a volatile region. The challenges are enormous and at the same time the opportunities for better relations amongst regional countries are great. However, there are forces that do not want to see rapprochement, reconciliation and good neighborliness established in the region. The U.S. with its interventionist policies in the Middle East including its unbridled export of sophisticated armaments and advanced weaponry to the region and its blind support for the Israeli regime has turned this sensitive region into chaos and turmoil.

The U.S. cannot distract attentions from its military adventurism and destabilizing role in our region by baselessly accusing Iran of violating Resolutions 1701 and 2216, which I categorically reject.

I also reject references made by the British Ambassador to human rights as they are outside the agenda of this meeting and the purview of the Security Council.

I thank you, Mr. President.