Upholding nuclear non-proliferation regime

Thank you very much, Mr President. And thank you to Rosemary DiCarlo for her briefing today. And, of course, welcome, Olof Skoog, Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Zarif to the Council today. It’s also good to see the Secretary-General here.

Mr President, the United Kingdom welcomes the Secretary-General’s ninth report on the implementation of UNSCR 2231. We offer our thanks to the Secretariat for their continued professionalism and the support they provide the Secretary-General enabling the production of this report. The Secretary-General and his team are fully mandated to thoroughly investigate and report on activities which are contrary to or inconsistent with Resolution 2231. And we support the findings set out in this impartial and professional report.

Mr President, together with our French and German colleagues – and I take this opportunity to align myself with the statement of German representative and I am sure to align myself with the statement you’ll be making later, Mr President. The United Kingdom has frequently restated our full commitment to the JCPoA, in line with our collective security interests, which include upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

We have also frequently stated our unequivocal regret and concern at the United States decision to leave the JCPoA and to reimpose sanctions on Iran. We understand the continued impact this has had in Iran and on the Iranian people.

Since May 2018, we have worked tirelessly to preserve the JCPoA. We have fully upheld our commitments and we have gone beyond our obligations to develop INSTEX, which is operational and facilitating transactions.

Mr President, the United Kingdom deeply regrets that since 2019, Iran has taken nuclear measures contrary to its commitments under the JCPoA. These measures seriously undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the agreement. This is the reason that the E3 initiated the JCPoA’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism on the 14th of January as one of the last tools under the agreement to find a diplomatic way forward and bring Iran back into compliance with the Deal.

Mr President, 2020 has seen a continuation of Iran’s destabilising activity around the Middle East, including activities which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and other resolutions. As we have noted previously, Iran’s ballistic missile technologies pose a threat to regional security, both in their role as a potential delivery system for weapons of mass destruction, but more immediately, in their enabling role as the means of delivery for the increasingly lethal conventional payloads developed by Iran.

We are deeply concerned by Iran’s development of advanced technologies under the guise of Space Launch Vehicle research and the roles these technologies play in supporting Iran’s military ballistic missile program. We reject Iran’s claims that the Qased system used in their most recent launch is not a military launch system. In addition to the self-proclaimed role of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the launch, Iran’s official reports show a Transporter Erector Launcher, characteristic of military ballistic missiles and not a static launch done, or “gantry”, of the type normally associated with civilian Space Launch Vehicles. We recognise the high caliber of Iran’s scientific community and its desire to participate in the exploration of space and advancements of scientific knowledge, but we encourage Iran to join other multinational space exploration endeavours. Iran must not develop launch systems in contravention of UNSCR 2231.

Mr President, the Secretary-General’s report clearly details how Iran actively proliferates missile technology throughout the region, including to non-state actors. As well as violating several Council resolutions, these actions are destabilising for the region and escalate already high tensions. If Iran wants to be a responsible actor, it should stop.

We note the findings in the Secretary-General’s report that materials seized by the United States in December 2019 and February 2020 was consistent with weaponry either manufactured in Iran or found to have been transferred to Iran after 2016.

We further note the report’s conclusion achieved through thorough analysis of the wreckage of the attacks that weaponry used in the Aramco attacks, as well as in the Afif and Abha attacks, were of Iranian origin and were identical in material, structure and assembly to that Iranian weaponry seized by the United States.

The Aramco attack was reckless, destabilising and completely unacceptable, affecting more than five percent of the world’s oil and gas production. As well as having implications for the world’s energy supply, the attack risked undermining efforts to stabilise the region. This attack followed the 2019 attacks on commercial shipping near Fujairah and in the Gulf of Oman on the Yanbu oil pipeline. The United Kingdom has performed thorough assessments and, as we previously noted, we believe that all these attacks were almost certainly carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

As I said at the outset, the United Kingdom remains committed to the full implementation of Resolution 2231. But in light of the aforementioned concerns and the detail contained in the Secretary-General’s report, we believe that the planned lifting of arms restrictions on Iran in October would have major implications for regional security and stability. We are committed to working with JCPoA partners and Security Council members to address these concerns. E3 Foreign Ministers have stated that unilateral attempts to trigger UN sanctions snapback would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPoA.

Preservation of the JCPoA will continue to be the guiding principle for the E3 on this agenda. This is because we believe in the absence of a viable alternative, that the agreement provides the best means of achieving our shared objectives on regional security and stability, upholding the nuclear nonproliferation regime and ensuring the continued authority and integrity of the Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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