Security Council Briefing on the Third Report on the Implementation of Resolution 2231 (2015), Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

June 29, 2017

Mr. President, Members of the Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Two years after the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Secretary-General is immensely encouraged by the continued commitment by all participants to the agreement.  The JCPOA – reached by the E3/EU+3 and Iran on 14 July 2015 – is the embodiment of successful multilateral diplomacy, political will and perseverance. This diplomatic achievement reflects the spirit, purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and gives us all hope that even the most difficult issues amongst States can be addressed through dialogue, understanding and reciprocity. As noted by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini, the agreement belongs to the entire international community. Hence it is imperative that all JCPOA participants, the United Nations and the international community at large continue to support the full and effective implementation of this historic agreement.

Mr. President, 

Today’s meeting of the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) is taking place against a backdrop of steady implementation, cooperation and progress.  Since “Implementation Day”, 16 January 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued seven reports documenting continued implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments. The recent 25 April meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna – the fifth meeting since Implementation Day – noted the continued adherence to JCPOA commitments by all its participants, and stressed the need to ensure its full and effective implementation.

The Secretary-General believes that the comprehensive and sustained implementation of the JCPOA will guarantee that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful, while allowing for transparency, monitoring and verification.  It will also provide Iran with an opportunity for greater engagement with the international community and assist in increasing Iran’s trade and economic relations. It will also bring forth to a satisfactory conclusion the consideration of the Iranian nuclear issue by the Security Council.  

Mr. President,  

Thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on the Third Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2231 (S/2017/515).  The report was submitted to the Council on 16 June 2017 pursuant to annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) and paragraph 7 of the Note by the President of the Council [issued on 16 January 2016 (S/2016/44)].   

As guided by the Security Council, the report of the Secretary-General focuses on the implementation of the provisions contained in annex B to resolution 2231 (2015).   Let me turn to the main findings of the third report.  

First, the Secretary-General has not received any report, nor is aware of any open source information regarding the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of the resolution. 

I also welcome the fact that Member States are making greater use of the procurement channel. Since 30 December 2016, 10 new nuclear-related proposals were submitted to the Security Council for approval, bringing to 16 the total number of proposals submitted since Implementation Day. Of the 16 proposals, 10 were approved by the Council, 2 were withdrawn by the proposing States and 4 are currently under review. 

The proposals were processed in accordance with the timelines established by resolution 2231 (2015), with due regard for information security and confidentiality.  The operational linkages established between the Security Council and the Procurement Working Group of the Joint Commission are both effective and efficient.  

In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent cooperation we have with the European External Action Service (EEAS), especially its Coordinator of the Procurement Working Group (PWG) of the Joint Commission (JC). 

Second, regarding the implementation of ballistic missile-related provisions, the report notes that on 29 January 2017, Iran launched a (Khorramshahr) medium-range ballistic missile. Letters were submitted to the Secretary-General by Iran and Israel, and jointly by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States concerning the launch, which presented a range of views and interpretations.  As in the case of the ballistic missile launches by Iran in March 2016, there was no consensus in the Security Council on how this particular launch related to resolution 2231 (2015). In this regard, I would like to quote from the third report of the Secretary-General: [quote] I call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to avoid such ballistic missile launches that have the potential to increase tensions. I appeal to all Member States to redouble their efforts to promote peace and stability in the region [end quote].

Third, in terms of restrictions on arms-related transfers, the report includes additional information on the seizure of an arms shipment by the French Navy in the Northern Indian Ocean in March 2016. In January 2017, France invited the Secretariat to examine the seized arms.  After examination of the weapons and analysis of information provided, the Secretariat is confident that the weapons seized are of Iranian origin and were shipped from Iran.  

Fourth, the report also highlights the participation, for the second year in a row, of the Defence Industries Organisation (DIO) in the Iraq Defence Exhibition held in March which may again have implications regarding implementation of the assets freeze. Since the DIO is an entity on the list maintained pursuant to resolution 2231 (2015), its funds, other financial assets and economic resources on the Iraqi territory should have been frozen by Iraqi authorities. The issue was raised again with the Permanent Mission of Iraq and the Secretary-General intends to report back to the Council in due course. The Secretary-General report also provides information on additional travels by Major General Qasem Soleimani since the second report.  The travels were reported by Iranian and Arab media outlets.

In addition to the above findings, the report also reflects official information provided by Member States to the Secretary-General. They included information from Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Yemen.  The Secretariat has not been able to independently corroborate these reports and will provide further updates, as appropriate, should additional information become available. 

Mr. President, 

As we are about to enter into the third year of JCPOA implementation, the Secretary-General would like to once again reaffirm the particular responsibilities of JCPOA participants in carrying the full and effective implementation of the agreement. The Secretary-General is hopeful that all participants will continue to make progress in the implementation of the agreement, and in the process secure its durability.  

In closing, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of H.E. Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy) in his role as Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). I would also like to convey our fullest support to him as well as to the Security Council in the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). 

Thank you.