Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, June 17, 2020 (Excerpts)

June 17, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


News leaks of the UN Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231

The other day several news agencies, mostly Western and primarily American, created a sensation by quoting from a semi-annual report by the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015). I would like to remind everyone that this resolution approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme.

It is notable that the news was leaked even before the UN member states received the report. The organisers of the news leak hurried to publish the information so that nobody would have a desire to read the document through and form their own opinions. The mobilised media outlets offered the international community tips on how to read the report properly and which parts to note. The leaked information did not include the “unnecessary” parts, of course. It is not surprising that from this perspective the blame for the current situation and the problems with the implementation of Resolution 2231 has been placed on Iran, even though it is common knowledge that it was the United States that unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and that is creating obstacles to the implementation of the related UN Security Council decisions by other countries.

In accordance with the established practice and current procedures, Russia will present a detailed analysis of this UN Secretary-General report at the VTC scheduled for June 30. As we see it, it will be a difficult meeting. What we will definitely not contest is that the report can hardly be described as balanced or accurate, which is regrettable. We are aware that the compilers spent a considerable part of the reporting period in self-isolation, losing personal contact with the UN member states and the situation on the ground. This can explain the lopsided presentation, certain bias, unsubstantiated accusations against Iran, and a desire to paint the situation black and white, which is unacceptable in such a delicate matter.

The international community is led to believe that the UN has allegedly proved Iran’s involvement in the missile attacks on the Saudi oil facilities in 2019 and the violation of some provisions of Resolution 2231, specifically, the restriction on delivering arms and military equipment. I will not go over the entire report now. At the same time, I think everyone should know that no reliable proof of Iran’s alleged violations has been provided to UN Security Council members. According to the report, representatives of the Secretariat visited some countries at their invitation where they inspected certain “artefacts” submitted to them. They had no mandate for this inspection. Resolution 2231 does not assign any inspection or attributive functions to the UN Secretariat. The Secretariat does not have the required expertise for this task. However, some self-appointed inspectors claimed, based on their personal observations, that what they had seen resembled items Iran had demonstrated at weapons shows. The allegedly irrefutable evidence they cite includes markings in Farsi. This is reminiscent of other cases where conversations in some foreign languages were used to conclude that the home country of the language in question was involved in a crime. These pseudo-experts, who decided for some reason that they have the expertise to act as investigators, never noted that these orderly suppositions had been produced by those who want to prove Iran’s guilt at all costs and by whatever means necessary. 

It is especially alarming that this so-called evidence against Iran is based on the results of intercepting some vessels in international waters by the US and Australian navies. The report does not mention the fact that such actions resemble piracy and do not fit in with the standards of international relations or international law, or that these “interceptors” acted provocatively and without any objective monitoring, which invalidates their findings.

It is regrettable that those who compiled the report had no time or desire to investigate the alleged launch of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism under the JCPOA last January. Contrary to the unsubstantiated claims made by the proponents of this version of events, three European countries actually issued an appeal to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to inform him of their intention to trigger this mechanism. However, they did not trigger it because of numerous procedural shortcomings. The mechanism can only be launched if these shortcomings are settled on the basis of consensus. As a result, the Joint Commission of the JCPOA has not even met to discuss the appeal from the three European countries. This matter was covered in detail in a Foreign Ministry comment published on January 24.

The above does not mean that the problems and challenges hindering the implementation of Resolution 2231 will vanish of their own accord. It takes consolidated efforts and a positive agenda rather than pressure and confrontation to resolve differences. This is how the UN and its Security Council should work. An intense discussion has been ongoing at the Joint Commission of the JCPOA for two years now. Russia has strongly proposed protecting the JCPOA from aggressive US attacks. The recent decision of the US administration to terminate the waiver of the sanctions against the nuclear reactors covered by the JCPOA, which is the essence of the nuclear deal, is an example and proof of who is destroying agreements and undermining Resolution 2231. We have discussed this with our partners many times and in a frank manner.

We believe that it is still possible to return the JCPOA implementation process into the initially coordinated framework and to attain the noble goals set out in the plan. But saving the JCPOA and ensuring full implementation of Resolution 2231 are only possible through a collective effort. To do this, the parties concerned must honour their commitments, with resolute support from the international community. We hope that the Secretariat and the UN authorities will promote this, and abandon any aspirations that can be aimed at undermining the related consensus decisions of the UN Security Council. In our opinion, any actions directed against the JCPOA must be censored sharply and resolutely.