I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Head of the EU delegation, Mr.Olof Skoog, and facilitator of ”format 2231” and Permanent representative of Ireland Ms.Geraldine Byrne Nason for the briefings.
We also welcome our Iranian colleagues to this meeting.
We positively assess the adoption of the report by facilitator of “format 2231” and the efforts Irish side has made to have it endorsed. Colleagues demonstrated a truly professional and result-oriented approach. We still have several points of criticism regarding this report, but taking into account the importance of maintaining UNSC unity on the issue, we decided to support the consensus.
The negotiation process in Vienna now stands in the spotlight of international attention. Our colleagues now have a very challenging task to bring the implementation of the JCPOA back in the initially agreed framework. We need to help them. And we can only do this if we demonstrate strategic restraint and avoid “heating up the atmosphere”. This applies to all JCPOA members, as well as the Security Council and Iran’s neighbors in the region. In the context of resolution 2231, professional diplomacy is highly demanded today. We need to give it a chance to be effective. Its success is in our shared interests.
This being said, we are frankly rather puzzled that some Western colleagues today rushed to comment not only on the negotiation process, but also on Iran’s position at the talks. As we understand, this position is evolving and being dynamically elaborated, that’s why any far-reaching conclusions, especially made from here, from the New York platform, are absolutely inappropriate.
We should realize that objectively the Vienna talks are not a quick and easy process. There is a good Russian proverb to describe this: “It is easier to pull down than to build up”. As many said today, it was the United States that pulled everything down back in 2018. It withdrew from the JCPOA and “messed things up”, undermining the deal and barring other parties from observing it. And now it is the whole world that is trying to build it all up again.
Than we spent six months waiting for Biden Administration to determine its policy towards the JCPOA. Though often disregarded, this fact is another reason why the return to the JCPOA comes that hard today. So let us be objective and not forget that it is the US policy, and not the policy of Iran that stands at the core of all today’s problems. Now our US colleagues claim ready to get back to observing the JCPOA. But so far those are just words that need to be backed by real action.
It is regretful, that despite the complex context of the Vienna talks, the United States proceeds with its policy of “maximum pressure on Iran”. By means of reciprocity, the Iranian side does not revoke its freezing of certain obligations under the JCPOA. This vicious circle does not allow to be disrupted yet. We assume that as the United States makes progress getting back to full implementation of the deal, it will create conditions for prospective reciprocal “unfreezing” by Iran of the obligations that have been put on pause. Let me repeat: Iran’s steps are a reaction (that was effected after a considerable respite) to the destructive approach of the United States, rather than Tehran’s voluntary breach of obligations. It is in this context that we should consider the reports by IAEA Director-General, without trying to present them, as our Western colleagues do, as evidence of Tehran’s malevolent policy.
Allegations that the JCPOA might have become outdated and might need any updates, extensions, etc. are perilous and irresponsible. The deal features a carefully-calibrated balance of interests. It must be implemented in the form, in which it was adopted back in 2015, without extracting or adding anything. Nor can we agree that the JCPOA was allegedly losing its relevance due to the Vienna process not being “rapid enough”. As of now, there is no alternative to the JCPOA. Thanks to the verification mechanism that it envisages, present-day Iran is the most verified state in the world. It is no less important, that in terms of politics, the JCPOA has come to signify an ability to make deals on most complex and sensitive issues, despite diverging approaches. The deal is the biggest confidence-building measure both in the region and globally. Without it, there can be no confidence. Those who believe there can be a “world without JCPOA” must recognize that this would be another world, far less predictable and more dangerous.
Secretary-General’s support for the Vienna talks is crucial. We have noted that his latest report communicates this message. Also, highest UN officials made a conclusion that we regard as an important signal: issues that do not relate to the JCPOA should be addressed outside the efforts aimed at reviving the deal. We also speak the words of appreciation to the IAEA, and share Secretary-General’s call upon member states to enhance trade and economic cooperation with Iran, i.a. via INSTEX mechanism.
Unfortunately, some of our traditional criticism of UNSG biannual reports on the progress of resolution 2231 remains unaccounted for. As before, the report does not make the initial causes of the current situation around the JCPOA explicit enough. Unwillingness of the UN leadership to call things by their proper names looks like their silent consent to the current state-of-affairs. However violations of UNSC 2231, including the JCPOA, by the United States cannot be considered normal and must be corrected.
We do not share the approach of the authors of the report that equals lifting of illegal unilateral US sanctions and introducing exemptions to them. In doing so, the report legitimizes the practice of imposing unilateral restrictions which contradicts UNSC resolution 2231, as well as the letter and spirit of the UN Charter.
We remain deeply concerned over the illegitimate practice of the UN Secretariat to initiate so-called investigations in the framework of resolution 2231, while having neither the authority nor specialized expertise to do so. The mandate of the UN Secretariat has a purely administrative and technical nature, which is stipulated in Note S/2016/44 of SC President dated 16 January 2016. “Team 2231” is not a sanctions committee, so it has no right to collect and analyze data, the more so – to conduct “investigations”. Nor has it any authorities to file data requests with member states. I particularly mean the requests mentioned in para.9 and para.11 of the SG report. We proceed from the assumption that this report's calculations related to those illegitimate “investigations” will not have any follow-ups in the next SG report.
In conclusion, I would like to get back to Vienna. What's most important is that normal diplomatic process is underway. We are all professionals, we are all diplomats. We are well aware that sometimes it may take several days before one phrase is endorsed, to say nothing of complex multi-level agreements. This is a normal thing. We should not try to rush this process or leverage its participants from the outside. I am convinced that if they assume a pragmatic and constructive approach, aimed at finding a balance of interests, acceptable-to-all-solutions will be found.