Briefing to the UNSC by H.E. Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, Head of the Delegation of the EU to the UN, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in his capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to the Security Council on Agenda item: Non-Proliferation

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24 June 2024

Mr. President,

It is an honour to have the opportunity to address the Council on behalf of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell, in his capacity as Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the JCPOA).

I would also like to thank Secretary General António Guterres and the Secretariat for their work related to the implementation of Resolution 2231 as well as Malta as the Facilitator of Resolution 2231. We take note of the 17th report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Security Council resolution 2231.

Ensuring that Iran does not acquire or develop a nuclear weapon is a key security priority for the EU. Iran’s nuclear programme today cannot be seen in isolation from regional developments. The risk of a nuclear proliferation crisis in the region is increasing as a result of Iran’s nuclear trajectory.  We still believe that diplomacy is the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

The IAEA remains the sole impartial and independent international organisation mandated by the Security Council to monitor and verify the implementation of Iran’s nuclear non-proliferation commitments under the JCPOA. We fully support the IAEA’s monitoring and verification of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments and, at the same time, express our strong concern about Iran’s lack of cooperation with the Agency.

IAEA reports are clear.  Iran continues to depart from its JCPOA commitments and irreversibly gaining knowledge. Iran’s accumulation of high enriched uranium, its continuously growing enriched uranium stockpile and the expansion of its nuclear enrichment infrastructure are alarming. Such actions carry very significant proliferation-related risks and raise grave concerns about Iran’s intentions. Moreover, Iran’s consistent lack of cooperation with the IAEA is affecting the IAEA’s ability to carry out its monitoring duties and impedes it from providing assurances that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. The IAEA has now reached a point where it has lost the continuity of knowledge as regards several key components of the nuclear programme of Iran, which would make the resumption of diplomatic efforts even more challenging.

Iran’s announcement of its intention to further increase its installed enrichment capacity, as reported by the IAEA on 13 June, further increased our concerns. If implemented, these actions would constitute a significant escalation by Iran with regard to its nuclear programme and capabilities, and a further departure from Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA and UNSC resolution 2231. We call on Iran not to proceed with the implementation of its plans, as that would undoubtedly put at risk any future nuclear diplomacy.

We continue to recognise that Iran has faced and continues facing very serious negative economic consequences following the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of previously lifted US unilateral sanctions. The US have also imposed additional sanctions linked to the nuclear programme. At the same time, Iran’s nuclear programme is now more advanced than ever and without sufficient monitoring and verification by the IAEA.

Regarding other aspects of JCPOA implementation, we note that the Procurement Channel remains ready to receive proposals. It was designed as a transparency and confidence-building mechanism to give assurances that transfers of nuclear and dual-use goods and services are fully in line with Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA.

Mr. President,

We are extremely worried about Iran’s military support to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine including through deliveries of drones, which was done in violation of the provisions of UNSCR 2231. In view of this situation and of Iran’s support to non-state armed groups in the Middle East and the Red Sea region, and following the Iranian drone and missiles attacks against Israel on 13 April 2024, the EU decided on 14 May 2024 to expand its restrictive measures on UAVs to the transfer of missiles. We call on the Government of Iran to stop military cooperation with a country that is violating the UN Charter. The EU will continue to respond to this, as necessary. In particular, any ballistic missile transfer from Iran to Russia, will be met with a strong reaction.

Mr. President,

The world is facing a range of severe crises. In this context, it is important to keep in mind that the deeply troubling situation in the Middle East makes even more urgent to find ways to stabilise the region, of which the JCPOA should be an essential part.

With this in mind, we call on all remaining parties to the JCPOA and the United States to sustain dialogue in order to address without delay the Iranian nuclear programme.  Nuclear diplomacy must be restored.

The Coordinator has continued to be in touch with all JCPOA participants and the US in order to preserve the space for nuclear diplomacy based on the framework of the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. A diplomatic solution remains the only way to sustainably address the Iran nuclear issue.

We urge Iran to resume full cooperation with the IAEA, and to refrain from any more step away from its JCPOA commitments as a first and minimum measure. De-escalation steps on the nuclear front will help restore trust. They could re-create an environment conducive to the resumption of negotiations.

It has now been two years since the High Representative put forward a compromise text laying down the necessary steps that at that time were needed for the US to return to the JCPOA and for Iran to resume the full implementation of its commitments. We regret that Iran has not made the necessary decisions to return to its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, That compromise text is still on the table as a potential point of departure for any renewed effort although the new situation as regards Iran’s nuclear programme as well as sanctions against Iran will need to be taken into account in any future talks.

Nevertheless, the High representative remains ready and will spare no efforts to facilitate the dialogue between all JCPOA participants and the United States in line with the call made by the Secretary General in the report before us today, at the right time.

Thank you, Mr. President.




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