Briefing by H.E. Ms. Joanne Adamson, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in her capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to the Security Council Agenda item: Non-Proliferation
- Thank you for giving me the floor. I am honoured to address the Council today again on behalf of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in her capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
- First, I would like to thank Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as H.E. Sebastiano Cardi, Ambassador of Italy, who is serving as the Facilitator for the implementation of UNSC resolution 2231 (2015) in 2017, for the excellent cooperation. Let me also express my gratitude to our colleagues in the UN Security Council Affairs Division for their unwavering support and for the excellent cooperation in particular regarding the running of the Procurement Channel. I would also like to note my appreciation for their work in the preparation of the latest report of the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of UNSC resolution 2231.
- As we approach the second anniversary of the JCPOA’s “Implementation Day” – 16 January 2016 – I believe it is correct to say that we are at a critical moment. On 13 October US President Trump announced his decision not to certify Iranian compliance with domestic US legislation. We respect this as having taking place in the context of US domestic legislation, but it has created uncertainty regarding the United States’ continuing commitment to the JCPOA. In its reactions to this announcement, the EU stressed that it expects full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides. This view was expressed by High Representative Mogherini, by all 28 Foreign Ministers and Heads of State and Government of the 28 EU Member States.
- Since Implementation Day, seven JCPOA Joint Commission meetings have taken place, chaired by the Secretary General of the European External Action Service on behalf of the HR/VP, monitoring implementation and providing guidance on a number of implementation issues. The last meeting took place in Vienna on 13 December 2017 and I am pleased to report that all participants expressed their continued adherence to their respective JCPOA commitments. They stressed the need to ensure its effective implementation in all its parts in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere.
- The JCPOA is a key strategic priority not only for European security, but also for regional and global security. While the community of nations faces once again the threat of unchecked nuclear capabilities, the JCPOA has become an example of a peaceful resolution of issues pertaining to the international non-proliferation agenda. An overwhelming number of partners around the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and in the Pacific have signalled that they share the view that the JCPOA needs to be preserved and fully implemented.
- The EU fully agrees with the Secretary-General’s assessment that it is in the interest of the international community that the JCPOA – this achievement of multilateral diplomacy – overcomes implementation challenges, cementing our collective commitment to diplomacy and dialogue.
- The JCPOA is working as intended. The IAEA, as the only body mandated by the Security Council to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, has issued nine reports – the latest on 13 November – confirming that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the deal. Iran’s nuclear programme is the subject of a strong monitoring, verification and transparency mechanism. Following the commitments of Iran as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will have to apply the IAEA Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol forever, which will allow the IAEA to continue monitoring Iranian nuclear activities and provide assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.
- While the JCPOA is working, a number of serious issues outside of the deal proper are casting a shadow. The situation in the region has clearly worsened over the past few months, and the EU has repeatedly called upon all parties to de-escalate their current rhetoric and to find a minimum common ground on which to base their neighbourly relations. The EU is closely following developments concerning ballistic missile launches aimed at the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and encourages the Secretariat to seek more information in this regard. I call upon all actors in the region and beyond to do their utmost to contain the current trends towards violence and conflict. What we need, above all, is for all actors to demonstrate their full commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the problems at hand.
- The EU has a long-standing track record of expressing its concern at the regional military build-up, including Iran’s missile programme. The EU has repeatedly called upon Iran to refrain from activities which may deepen mistrust, such as ballistic missile tests, which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231, and the statements associated with these.
- The situation in the region including the issue of ballistic missiles needs to be addressed as a priority, but outside from the JCPOA. Dismantling a nuclear agreement that is working would certainly not put us in a better position to discuss all the rest. The EU stands ready to actively promote and support initiatives to ensure a more stable, peaceful and secure regional environment.
- In addition to Iran’s nuclear obligations, laid out in Annex I of the JCPOA, and on elements related to sanctions lifting, contained in Annex II, please allow me to also touch upon matters related to Annex III of the JCPOA, which covers civil-nuclear cooperation. The EU sees this annex as key in the overall balance of the agreement and essential to the overall objective of ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.
- The EU is engaging with Iran on the basis of an EU-Iran statement on civil-nuclear cooperation, adopted in April 2016, in a number of concrete projects, focused on nuclear safety and research. Last month, the second EU-Iran high-level seminar on civil-nuclear cooperation and governance was held in Isfahan, Iran, building further on the concept that civil-nuclear cooperation and the adherence to international norms on nuclear governance have to go hand in hand. While implementing projects on the ground and conducting research, Iran is also making steps towards its accession to the international nuclear regulatory framework. These steps need to be encouraged and supported further.
- I will now focus on the reporting related to Annex B of UNSCR 2231, in particular on the work of the Procurement Working Group, responsible for reviewing proposals by States seeking to engage in activities with Iran that are for nuclear and non-nuclear civilian end-uses. Since Implementation Day, the Procurement Working Group, which is comprised of E3+3 and Iran representatives and coordinated by a delegated coordinator of the EU High Representative, has been in full operation. Setting up this new authorisation mechanism after a long prohibition period was not an easy task. Following outreach efforts and as a demonstration that this mechanism works, the number of States interested in transfers to Iran has increased, as has the number of countries submitting proposals.
- Transparency has been one of our guiding principles during the negotiations and a cornerstone of the JCPOA. According to paragraph 6.10 of the JCPOA Annex IV, the Joint Commission reports to the Security Council every six months on the status of the Procurement Working Group’s decisions and on any implementation issues. In this context, on 1 December 2017, the Coordinator of the Procurement Working Group submitted to the Facilitator, on behalf of the Joint Commission, its fourth bi-annual report. This report aims at providing the Facilitator and UNSC Members with an overview of the work undertaken by the Procurement Working Group from 13 June to 30 November 2017. The report has been circulated as a document of the Security Council (S/2017/1009).
- During this period, the Procurement Working Group has continued to work intensively to further develop and update the group’s operational modalities. It has also intensified efforts to be as transparent as possible without compromising confidentiality, by reaching out to UN Member States and promoting a better understanding of its aims, objectives and its review process, embedded in the JCPOA’s multi-layered system of checks and balances.
- In addition, it is important to underline that the proper functioning of the Procurement Channel needs to be ensured. Proposals need to be judged based on their technical merits as the aim of the Procurement Channel is to support the transfer of sensitive goods to Iran while ensuring that they cannot be misused. The Procurement Channel is ready to receive more proposals for transfers and we are ready to further support countries and authorities interested in such transfers. To this end, our outreach efforts will continue, together with colleagues from the UNSC Secretariat and the Facilitator.
- Let me conclude by calling upon all parties to remain committed to the full implementation of the JCPOA in good faith, as well as of resolution 2231 in all its dimensions. The very same values embodied by the United Nations community are the building blocks of the JCPOA, which has allowed us to tackle a nuclear proliferation issue in a peaceful way. We need to continue to build on this achievement of multilateral diplomacy, which is the best hope for security and stability in the region. As ever, the Coordinator of the Joint Commission stands ready to work with UN bodies and Member States in order to support the objectives of the JCPOA.
Thank you, Mr. President.