Non-proliferation - Security Council, 8811th meeting
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Amid ongoing talks to fully restore 2015 nuclear deal, United States should lift or waive sanctions against Iran, political affairs chief tells Security Council.


Representatives of Iran, United States Fault Each Other for Not Complying with Landmark Accord, as Council Members Press Parties to Achieve Breakthrough

With talks ongoing in Vienna to fully restore the landmark 2015 agreement to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations political affairs chief called on the United States to lift or waive its sanctions against Tehran, as Security Council delegates rallied the parties to make the difficult political decisions needed to achieve a breakthrough.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, said implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the outcome of 12 years of intense diplomatic and technical negotiations — has “improved considerably” since the Council’s last meeting on the topic in December 2020, following the withdrawal by the United States of letters previously sent to the Council President in August and September 2020.

She urged the United States Administration to extend the waivers related to oil trade with Iran and to facilitate non-proliferation activities at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Fordow Facility and the Arak reactor, calling these moves “needed steps” to advance implementation of the Plan and resolution 2231 (2015).

Highlighting steps taken by Iran to reduce its nuclear-related commitments, following the United States exit from the accord in 2018, she said Iran has enriched uranium up to 60 per cent, giving it a total enriched uranium stockpile of 3,241 kilogrammes, which surpasses the Plan of Action’s stipulated limits. Iran also suspended the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has not indicated whether it will maintain the temporary understanding forged with the Agency in its absence.

In this defining moment, it is critical for all parties to bring the Plan of Action “back on the right track” as soon as possible, she said, and thereby offer proof that even the most contentious issues can be addressed through dialogue, understanding and reciprocity.

“We have a limited diplomatic window ahead of us that we should not miss,” said Oloff Skoog, head of the European Union delegation, in its capacity as observer, joining other Council speakers in welcoming the United States’ intention to rejoin the accord. While the bloc is fully committed to the Plan of Action, it is deeply concerned about Iran’s accumulation of low‑enriched uranium in excess of thresholds set in the agreement.

In the ensuing dialogue, Iran’s representative said nothing has changed since December 2000 except the United States’ verbal declaration of its intention to return to compliance with the Plan of Action. Its maximum‑pressure policy and draconian sanctions continue. It is “high time” for the United States, as well as the European Union and the three European parties to the agreement, to make the difficult decisions to return to full compliance. “Those who broke their promise are the ones who must prove their sincerity and genuine political will,” he said.

The Russian Federation’s delegate said it is naïve to think that it will be easy to clean up the results of the United States’ withdrawal from the Plan of Action. All parties must demonstrate patience and political will, and if a deal is reached, it must not demonize Iran. Steps taken by Tehran were not a wilful violation of the agreement, but a legitimate response to non-compliance by the United States.

The United States representative countered, stressing that Iran continues to disregard resolution 2231 (2015). He shared the concerns of the “E3” — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — and Israel about Iran’s ballistic‑missile activities, rejecting assertions by the Russian Federation and Iran that they are not covered by resolution 2231 (2015). The United States will use tools to counter Iran’s destabilizing acts and promote adherence to resolutions 1701 (2006) and 2216 (2015), he said, which forbid the transfer of arms and related material to Hizbullah and Houthis in Yemen.

Others emphasized that the Vienna talks cannot be open-ended, with the United Kingdom’s representative stressing that “we cannot guarantee that the same terms for a deal will be on offer later in the year”. France’s delegate agreed, adding that, after six negotiating rounds, the parameters for a return to the accord have been identified and thorny questions remain pending. He called for an expedited conclusion of the negotiations. Germany’s delegate, meanwhile, urged all parties to show flexibility, stressing that the negotiations will not succeed without compromise. “We will now do everything in our power to see [Plan of Action] talks in Vienna succeed,” he assured. “We count on all parties to return with a mandate to put this agreement fully back in place.”

Also speaking today were representatives of Ireland (as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) and in her national capacity), Niger, Viet Nam, Tunisia, India, China, Saint Vincent Grenadines, Mexico, Kenya, Norway and Estonia.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:17 p.m.