Remarks at a U.N. Security Council Briefing on Resolution 2231

Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
December 22, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Thank you, Mr. President. And I want to thank our briefers for their presentations this morning. I have one message in my intervention today, one that is pretty straightforward: the tenth report of the Secretary-General provides unmistakable indication of Iran’s continued destabilizing behavior.

Take for example, the Secretary-General’s assessment that an anti-tank guided missile discovered in Libya has characteristics consistent with Iranian-produced anti-tank guided missiles. This demonstrates that Iranian weapons continue to proliferate in Iran’s immediate region and beyond.

Moreover, as we heard, that an entity designated by the Security Council may have been involved in shipping, “valves, electronics, and measuring equipment,” suitable for use in ground testing of liquid propellant ballistic missiles to Iran, should demand this Council’s attention.

Yet, as Iran continues to flout this Council’s resolutions, too many Council members, unfortunately, are eager to ignore or overlook Iran’s disregard for the restrictions that the Council has put in place, including those which the United States has re-imposed through our legitimate snapback process.

The Security Council has a responsibility to address Iran’s destabilizing behavior and a failure to do so, I fear, calls into question the credibility of this body. A reluctance to act also sends a dangerous message to other rogue actors and despots around the world.

Members of the Council must condemn Iran’s behavior that threatens international peace and security, and not reward the regime’s dangerous gamesmanship with economic appeasement.

If the Iranian regime seeks sanctions relief and economic opportunities, it must first demonstrate that it is serious about fundamentally changing its behavior. Iran must cease its nuclear extortion and negotiate a comprehensive deal that includes enduring nuclear restrictions and addresses its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles, as well as deals with its continuing support for terrorism, the unjust detention of its citizens, and its other destabilizing activities in the region.

Finally, we recognize the Secretary-General’s report’s attention to the snapback of previous UN sanctions on Iran. We regret, however, the decision of the Secretary-General to encourage the continued use of the procurement channel in Resolution 2231, which is inconsistent with snapback.

We call again on the Secretary-General as well as every member of the Council to fully implement all UN sanctions measures, including those which were re-imposed through snapback.

If I may, I also want take a minute just to note that the discussion of the waiver issued by the United States for activities related to the existing unit at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant pertains to a domestic administrative process that did not result in any sanctions designations. We believe that such matters should not be the focus of the Secretary-General’s 2231 report.

Iran’s failure to abide by its Security Council obligations should be met with continued diplomatic and economic pressure and the further isolation of the Iranian regime.

The United States will continue to work with our partners around the world, especially those in the region who face the devastating effect of Iran’s destabilizing influence most directly, to jointly address Iran’s reckless disregard for its Security Council obligations.

We hope that members of the Council will join us in these efforts, and we look forward to the Secretariat’s continued reporting on this pressing issue.

Thank you, Mr. President.

If I may just indulge the Council for a second, since this is also the last scheduled meeting of the year, on behalf of my mission and Ambassador Craft, I wanted to take just a moment to thank the five outgoing members of the Council today, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa, for their work over the past two years. I think as most of you know, I have only been here about two months, but I have seen during that time, what I was told in Washington before I arrived here, that these were five elected members who brought great commitment, a great willingness to speak truth on the Council, and every now and then, a bit of feistiness to the work, was true. And it has been a great pleasure for me to part of this for the last 60 days. All of us here at the U.S. Mission wish our departing colleagues future continued success and we look forward to working with all five delegations on other issues.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.