Negotiations Stall While Iran’s Uranium Stockpiles Increase, Security Council Told, as Additional Allegations Frustrate Return to Joint Nuclear Plan
Diplomacy, Implementation of Plan Only Viable Option, Speakers Stress
Stalled efforts to restore implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have been complicated further by allegations that Iran transferred unmanned aerial vehicles to the Russian Federation for use in Ukraine, speakers told the Security Council today, with members — divided from the start — voting on whether to allow Ukraine to participate in the debate in the first place.
Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, recalled her last briefing on the matter, when all participants to the Plan and the United States reaffirmed that returning to the Plan’s full implementation was the only viable option. Six months later, negotiations have stalled, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that Iran has an enriched-uranium stockpile of more than 20 times the allowable amount under the Plan.
“Diplomacy is the only way to effectively address the Iranian nuclear issue,” she stressed, urging the United States to lift sanctions against Iran and calling on Tehran to reverse actions inconsistent with its nuclear-related commitments. She also noted the receipt of information on ballistic-missile parts seized in international waters and on alleged transfers of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to the Russian Federation. While Iran and the Russian Federation have disputed the evidence provided, several States hold the view that such transfers are inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015).
Björn Olof Skoog, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in his capacity as Coordinator of the Plan’s Joint Commission, said that Iran’s military support to the Russian Federation’s war of aggression in Ukraine “has not stopped, and rather, expanded”. Any transfer of certain combat drones to or from Iran without prior Council permission violates resolution 2231 (2015). Further, the Plan’s restoration remains the only path for Iran to reach its full economic potential, he stressed, as this will result in lifted sanctions and greater cooperation between that country and the entire international community.
Vanessa Frazier (Malta), speaking in her capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), highlighted IAEA’s vital role in the verification and monitoring of nuclear activities in Iran. The Agency’s work provides the international community with confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, she said.
In the ensuing debate, many speakers expressed concern over Iran’s alleged transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Russian Federation in violation of resolution 2231 (2015). Council members also echoed briefers’ calls for diplomacy, with several recalling the United States’ withdrawal from the Plan of Action in 2018. While some members urged focus on the nuclear issue, others pointed out that Iran’s advancements in that area are particularly alarming, as well.
France’s delegate, warning that Tehran’s “stocks of enriched uranium have reached considerable levels”, added that Iran’s continuous improvement of its enrichment capacities hollows out the thresholds established in the Plan of Action. Further, Iran continues to violate resolution 2231 (2015) by transferring missiles and drones without preauthorization by the Council.
On that, the representative of the United States cited public reports regarding eight Iranian-made drones that terrorized Kyiv last week, calling for a probe into these violations of that resolution. The Russian Federation’s acquisition of hundreds of these drones “dramatically changes the equation”, he said, underscoring that the United States will continue to sanction companies and traders contributing to this threat.
Ukraine’s delegate, similarly, said that the Russian Federation has used Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles in its full-scale war of aggression against his country. Ukrainian investigators and independent international experts have identified evidence confirming the Iranian origin of the vehicles. “If Russia insists that the photos with Iranian drones are fake, why do you so resolutely oppose the UN inspection to corroborate your statements,” he asked.
The representative of the Russian Federation, however, rejected accusations regarding the Iranian origin of drones in Ukraine, characterizing the evidence as “comical”. “There is no alternative to the Plan,” he reiterated, and its prompt resumption is the only way to meet the interests of regional players and advance international security. While Tehran is genuinely interested in revitalizing the Plan, Western countries have not demonstrated that same desire. He also said that the root cause of problems with the Plan’s implementation is the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018.
Iran’s delegate echoed that, pointing out that the United States blames his country for lack of progress without considering its own failure to uphold its obligations. While implementation of the Plan of Action was “not flawless, it was undoubtedly the most viable option”. Talks have stalled due to the lack of political will, but Iran is ready to participate should other parties be ready to do so. As well, he deplored the “inconsistent photos and questionable open-source information” released as evidence of his country’s alleged violations.
The representative of China, meanwhile, called on all parties to treat the Iranian nuclear issue separately from other matters to avoid further escalation. Brazil’s representative echoed that, reminding Council members that the Plan had a very specific mandate — assuring that Iran’s nuclear programme remained exclusively peaceful. “We must be able to focus our attention on that limited, but crucial, issue,” he stressed. Arms transfers, the use of conventional weapons and the evolution of missile technology are serious issues, he said, but they should not hamper the full implementation of the Plan as originally intended.
At the outset of the meeting, the representative of the Russian Federation requested a procedural vote regarding Ukraine’s participation in the meeting. By a vote of 12 in favour to 2 against (China, Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (Mozambique), the Council adopted the proposal to invite Ukraine to participate in the meeting under Rule 37.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 12:29 p.m.
Speaking at the meeting’s outset, VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) reminded the United Kingdom — Council President for July — to convene meetings on time. Lobbying national interests in discussions with Member States is something that the Presidency should do before the start of Council meetings. He also asked the United Kingdom to clarify the basis on which her delegation proposes that participation be granted to the representative of Ukraine who — unlike Iran and Germany — is not party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) said that, following receipt of Ukraine’s request to participate in the meeting under Rule 37 of the Council’s provisional Rules of Procedure, the United Kingdom consulted Council members. It then accepted Ukraine’s request on the basis that the majority of such members expressed support.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) warned his colleagues that participation in the meeting by a State that is neither a Council member nor party to the Plan of Action is far from routine. For many years, the Plan of Action was discussed only by Council members and parties to the agreement. While there were others — including regional States — who wished to participate, each time the Council wisely decided to limit the discussion to those delegations who are directly involved in negotiations around the Plan of Action. “This nuclear deal is our shared achievement, which already was under threat of derailment as a consequence of the withdrawal of a participant,” he said. Now, the British presidency “desires to ‘Ukrainize’, so to speak, everything — even the most important work of the Council”, he stressed, requesting that the question of Ukraine’s participation be put to the vote.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) urged fellow Council members to allow Ukraine to speak under Rule 37. Both Iran and the Russian Federation have violated their obligations under resolution 2231 (2015) by participating in the transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles without obtaining advanced Council approval. Iran’s development of such vehicles has direct implications for Ukraine. “Over the last several weeks, we have seen Russia repeatedly use UAVs in attacks that have killed Ukrainian civilians,” he said, adding: “It would be unconscionable to deny Ukraine the opportunity to speak at this meeting when it is experiencing the devastating effects of Iran’s violation of resolution 2231 (2015) first hand.”
Ms. WOODWARD (United Kingdom) rejected the Russian Federation representative’s assertion that her country’s discharge of its duties as President was in any way irregular. There is a long-established procedure for Rule 37 participation, which the United Kingdom has followed. She proposed to put to the vote the proposal to extend an invitation to Ukraine to participate in the meeting under Rule 37.
By a vote of 12 in favour to 2 against (China, Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (Mozambique), the Council adopted the proposal to invite the representative of Ukraine to participate in the meeting under Rule 37.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said the United States, who spoke in favour of including Ukraine in the meeting, is the reason behind the crisis involving the Plan of Action as it withdrew from the deal in 2018. “We regret that we all, at the will of the British presidency today, have been bearing witness to the collapse of the established format for the discussion on the JCPOA in the Security Council,” he said. Unfortunately, the British presidency has not drawn any conclusions from the mistakes of its last shift in 2022, and continues to disregard procedure, undermine the Council’s work practices and openly abuse the presidency. Today, the world once again is bearing witness to the double standards of Western States. For the benefit of their clients in Kyiv, London, Washington, D.C., and their Western allies stand ready to sacrifice any and all achievements of multilateral diplomacy, he stated.
ROSEMARY A. DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said that, when she last briefed the Council on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) in December 2022, all participants to the Plan and the United States had reaffirmed that a return to its full implementation was the only viable option to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Six months later, negotiations to restore the Plan remain stalled. “Diplomacy is the only way to effectively address the Iranian nuclear issue,” she said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions as outlined in the Plan and to extend waivers regarding the trade in oil with Iran. She also echoed calls on Iran to reverse the steps it has taken that are inconsistent with its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan.
She said that, further, Iran should address concerns raised by participants to the Plan and by other Member States in relation to Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015). In May, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it had installed surveillance cameras at workshops where centrifuge parts are manufactured. The Agency added that it had no further questions regarding the presence of highly enriched uranium detected at one location. Despite that encouraging step, however, there are still reasons for concern. The Agency estimates that Iran now has an enriched uranium stockpile of more than 20 times the allowable amount under the Plan. This includes increased quantities of uranium enriched to 20 per cent and 60 per cent. “Such a stockpile of uranium is of serious concern,” she said.
Turning to the restrictive measures set out in Annex B, she said that, while no new proposals on the nuclear-related provisions were submitted to the procurement channel in the last six months, the Council did receive 10 notifications for certain nuclear-related activities consistent with the Plan. The United States’ renewal of waivers with respect to certain nuclear-non-proliferation projects foreseen in the Plan and the nuclear-related provisions in Annex B for another 180-day period was an important step. Regarding the ballistic-missile-related provisions, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom provided information to the Secretary-General and the Council concerning the test flight of a space launch vehicle conducted by Iran in March.
She also noted that the United Nations received information from the United Kingdom about ballistic-missile parts seized by the British Royal Navy in February in international waters south of Iran. France, Germany and the United Kingdom conveyed their view that some of the seized components are controlled items and that their transfer — without prior Council approval — was inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015). In their responses, Iran and the Russian Federation stated that there was no evidence linking the intercepted vessel and its cargo to Iran. The Secretariat also received letters from Ukraine, France, Germany and the United Kingdom concerning alleged transfers of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to the Russian Federation. Such States’ assessment was based on comparisons with the debris of other attacks in the Middle East and with imagery of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles available via open sources. Iran and the Russian Federation disputed the evidence provided and noted that accusations were not substantiated, she said.
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in his capacity as Coordinator of the Plan’s Joint Commission, recalled that, in July 2022, intense diplomatic efforts to restore implementation of the Plan were nearing completion. Regrettably, it was not possible to reach a deal at that time and, since then, a conducive environment to restore the agreement has been lacking. He stressed that IAEA has documented the continuous acceleration of Iran’s nuclear programme, in grave departure from that country’s commitments under the Plan. Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium — still increasing — has reached unprecedented levels, and its stockpile of uranium enriched up to 60 per cent was, as of May, 26.6 kilogrammes more than it was at the beginning of 2023. He cited Iran’s uranium-enrichment capacity as “incommensurable” with the Plan’s limits.
Acknowledging the joint statement concluded between IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in March, he welcomed the start of its implementation — particularly the installation of surveillance cameras at one location and of monitoring equipment at two declared enrichment facilities. He also urged the country to restore IAEA surveillance capabilities. Iran has faced serious negative economic consequences following the United States withdrawal from the Plan and subsequent re-imposition of unilateral sanctions, he observed, adding that Washington, D.C., has also imposed additional sanctions linked to Tehran’s nuclear programme. On its side, the European Union has lifted all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions since the Plan’s implementation day, and this remains the case. He underscored that the Plan’s restoration remains the only way for Iran to reach its full economic potential, as this will result in a comprehensive lifting of sanctions that will, in turn, encourage greater cooperation between the entire international community and that country.
Voicing concern over Iran’s military support to the Russian Federation’s war of aggression in Ukraine — including through deliveries of drones — he said that “this has not stopped, and rather, expanded”. He therefore called on Iran to cease military cooperation with a country that is violating every principle of the Charter of the United Nations. Any transfer of certain combat drones to or from Iran without prior Council permission violates resolution 2231 (2015). In further violation of that resolution, Iran has unveiled new ballistic missiles. Accordingly, he urged Iran to progress with the implementation of the joint statement, to cooperate with IAEA and to refrain from stepping farther away from its commitments under the Plan as a first — and minimum — measure. He emphasized that de-escalation on the nuclear front will help restore trust and could recreate an environment conducive to the resumption of negotiations, which could lead to a fully effective Plan.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), speaking in her capacity as Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), introduced the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2023/473). She recalled that the Council met in the 2231 format on 30 June, during which representatives discussed the findings and recommendations contained in the fifteenth report on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action prior to its public release. Among the official communications circulated during the reporting period were two regular quarterly reports issued by IAEA, as well as one update. Highlighting the Agency’s vital role in the verification and monitoring of nuclear activities in Iran, she said that IAEA’s work provides the international community with confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes. Noting that no new proposals were submitted to the Security Council through the procurement channel during the reporting period, she pointed out that the channel remains operational and echoed the Secretary-General in encouraging all participants in Plan, Member States and the private sector to fully support and utilize it.
Mr. WOOD (United States) voiced grave concern over the violation of resolution 2231 (2015) by Iran and the Russian Federation through the transfer of weapons related to the latter’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. Citing public reports about eight Iranian-made drones that terrorized Kyiv last week and left three buildings damaged and one man injured, he called for an investigation into these violations of paragraph 4 of Annex B of the resolution. Further, the Secretariat should send without any further delay, a team of investigators to review materiel recovered by the United Kingdom. “The mandate is clear and requires no less,” he said, adding: “Security Council resolutions are not optional and they must be upheld.”
The Russian Federation’s acquisition of hundreds of these drones “dramatically changes the equation”, he continued. Despite proof submitted to the Council and the Secretary-General on components of Iranian drones recovered on the battlefield in Ukraine, Tehran denies its role, which suggests that its leaders are uncomfortable with their use against civilian targets. He also voiced concern over Moscow’s attempts to undermine verified information confirming its use of Iranian drones. Turning to Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, he said that his country will continue to take vigorous measures to block the proliferation of sensitive ballistic missile-technology to and from Iran even after certain restrictions in resolution 2231 (2015) terminate. Further, the United States will also continue to sanction companies and traders contributing to this threat. Calling on Iran to take actions that deescalate tension and to refrain from nuclear provocations, he urged States to implement measures in Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015).
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) said his delegation regrets the United States decision to leave the Plan of Action in 2018, just as it regrets recent Iranian actions that have progressively undermined the letter and the spirit of the Plan of Action. The Plan of Action had a very specific mandate which was assuring that Iran’s nuclear programme remained exclusively peaceful. “We must be able to focus our attention on that limited, but crucial, issue,” he stressed. Arms transfers, the use of conventional weapons and even evolution of missile technology are serious issues that should be discussed, but they should not hamper the full implementation of the Plan of Action as originally intended. IAEA plays a vital role in interfacing with Iran, defusing tensions and finding ways to preserve dialogue. “Isolating Iran and cutting off avenues to dialogue can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to exactly the outcomes that all of us here are seeking to avoid,” he warned.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) expressed deep concern about both the United States withdrawal from the Plan of Action and various Iranian measures incompatible with its nuclear commitments. A “revitalization” of the Plan depends on three aspects. First, Iran must cooperate rigorously, transparently and unequivocally with IAEA. Second, Iran’s development and testing of ballistic missiles, which are incompatible with resolution 2231 (2015), is regrettable, she said, also expressing concern about alleged transfers of ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to third countries. Any transfer of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology listed in the 2015 Missile Technology Control Regime, without prior Council approval, violates resolution 2231 (2015). Third, efforts at dialogue both within the region and beyond give hope that these talks will remind all parties of the interest of all in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, she said, adding that political détente must be accompanied by a return to compliance with the obligations.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) underscored that the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme must be ensured through the full implementation of the Plan of Action and by IAEA verification and monitoring activities. She voiced deep concern over the expansion of Iran's nuclear activities beyond the limits of its commitments under the Plan, which includes enhanced uranium enrichment up to 60 per cent U-235 and its storage, and the expansion of advanced centrifuges, as well as that country’s suspension of its voluntary application of the Additional Protocol. The restoration of the Plan of Action will require a process of sincere confidence-building among the relevant countries, particularly between Washington, D.C., and Tehran, she said, stressing “diplomacy remains the only viable solution”. Further, she strongly condemned the transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to the Russian Federation.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador) echoed the call in the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Council resolution 2231 (2015) on all parties to engage in dialogue under the existing framework. He called for the restoration of actions within the context of the Plan of Action and for outstanding issues to be resolved. He voiced concern over the findings of the IAEA report related to highly enriched uranium in Iran, which are inconsistent with the level of enrichment previously reported by that country. He called on Iran to comply with all provisions of the agreement, including its Annex B, rejecting any transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles or other weaponry in flagrant violation with such provisions. Underlining the “primordial” role of IAEA in the context of the accord, he welcomed meetings it held in March with Iran, and called on that country to cooperate with the body and comply with its obligations.
Ms. FRAZIER (Malta), speaking in her national capacity, echoed the Secretary-General’s view that the Plan of Action is the best available option for ensuring the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. “A diplomatic solution remains possible,” she said, urging all sides to implement commitments under the Plan fully and effectively. While welcoming the cooperation between IAEA and Iran during the last six months, she said several questions remain unanswered, including IAEA’s inability to verify Iran’s total stockpile of enriched uranium. Urging Iran to resolve outstanding issues with the nuclear watchdog, and to address concerns related to the expansion of its nuclear enrichment capacity and the production of highly enriched uranium, she stressed that “a revived JCPOA could succeed in providing the necessary assurances regarding Iran’s non-proliferation goals and promote regional stability”.
GENG SHUANG (China) said that the previous United States Administration unilaterally withdrew from the Plan of Action and exerted extreme pressure on Iran, which triggered the Iranian nuclear crisis. Negotiations have since stalled. “The situation on [the] Iranian nuclear issue has been experiencing ups and downs and the future prospects have been uncertain,” he added, calling on all parties to demonstrate political wisdom, break down obstacles and reach consensus on restoring the integrity of the Plan. The United States must lift all unilateral sanctions against Iran to create favourable conditions in this regard. Further, all parties should maintain a rational attitude and treat the Iranian nuclear issue separately from other issues to avoid any further escalation. Noting that this is the reason his delegation voted against the proposal in the procedural vote, he said: “We hope that similar situations that would further complicate the Iranian nuclear issue would not happen again.”
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said that diplomatic engagement is crucial to address concerns surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme and to pave the way towards a resolution that ensures all nuclear activities in Iran are exclusively peaceful. Strict, timely compliance with the Plan of Action’s nuclear-related commitments and full cooperation with IAEA are key for ensuring regional and global nuclear security. She voiced concern over Iran's step-by-step cessation of nuclear-related commitments under the Plan since May 2019, noting that the country’s enrichment programme has advanced to a scale that is unjustifiable for civilian purposes. Pointing to the seizure of ballistic missile components in the Gulf of Oman by the British Royal Navy, she said the suggestion has been made that some of these components bear design characteristics similar to those previously observed in the debris of ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “This has severe implications for regional security,” she asserted.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said that the report painted a “disturbing picture” about Iran’s activities, which appear to supersede and fail to comply with the Plan of Action. Despite Iran’s recent communications with IAEA, its opaque practices undermine that body’s full verification and monitoring activities. When viewed closely, these activities indicate Iran’s determination to build nuclear weapons in the future, rather than implement the Plan’s provisions, he stressed. Iran’s reported development of ballistic missile technology constitute deplorable violations of paragraph 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015), he added. Iran’s destructive activities destabilize the region and beyond, he said, citing its empowerment of Houthis in their “war of terror” on neighboring countries, and its supply of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Russian Federation, which “equals a supply of death to Ukrainian civilians”. He called on Iran to cease supporting terror by proxies, among other destabilizing actions.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) recalled his expectation that the expiration of some of the sanctions outlined in Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015) would occur against a backdrop of cooperation, communication, transparency and verification. This was not the case, however, due to a high level of distrust among the parties. The commitment to define the steps necessary to restore implementation of the Plan is weak, he added. Underscoring the critical importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he called for the development of a practical road map to return to full compliance with the Plan and resolution 2231 (2015). Ghana also echoes calls for the parties to demonstrate flexibility and political will to reach a compromise on outstanding issues. He further called on all parties to adhere to their commitments under the Plan — including by lifting all related sanctions imposed against Iran — and on Tehran to fulfil its obligations under the deal.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that Iran is undertaking a continuous nuclear escalation. “The Iranian nuclear programme has never been this advanced before,” he said, also adding: “The stocks of enriched uranium have reached considerable levels.” Iran continues inexorably to improve its enrichment capacities, hollowing out the thresholds set out in the Plan of Action. France regrets, that in 2022, Iran turned away from several diplomatic opportunities to return to the agreement. “It is fully responsible for this,” he stressed. Iran, furthermore, continues to develop its ballistic activities. Iran violates resolution 2231 (2015) by transferring missiles and drones without preauthorization by the Council. “These transfers must cease,” he stressed. Since 2022, Iran has provided the Russian Federation in violation of resolution 2231 (2015) combat drones used within the framework of its war against Ukraine. Iran continues such transfers despite their use against civilian infrastructure and the Ukrainian public.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) voiced concern over the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was “a milestone of multilateral diplomacy”. He noted that Ukraine’s invitation to the meeting is a politicized, provocative step — geared towards undermining constructive discussion — and “another stain on the reputation of London as the President of the Security Council”. The root cause of problems with the Plan’s implementation is the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and subsequent imposition of sanctions on Iran. Accordingly, he called for the full lifting of such illegitimate measures. He further rejected the practice of non-consensual visits and arbitrary inspections on so-called invitations of States in breach of Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations, noting that his Government will view any such action as a deliberate provocation.
Stressing that Washington, D.C., attempted to nullify Moscow’s shared achievement with its unilateral withdrawal from the Plan, he pointed out that the United States’ representative focused his statement on the issue of drones and missiles. “The guilty party had nothing to provide us with in terms of information about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action itself,” he asserted, only detracting attention from the endless flow of weapons Washington, D.C., has provided to the Kyiv regime. Further, he rejected accusations regarding the Iranian origin of drones in Ukraine, characterizing the evidence — including fake images already circulating on the Internet — as “comical”. “There is no alternative to the Plan,” he reiterated, and its prompt resumption is the only way to meet the interests of regional players and advance international security. “Everybody knows whose court the ball is in,” he said, adding that, while Tehran is genuinely interested in revitalizing the Plan, Western countries have not demonstrated similar interest.
DOMINGOS FERNANDES (Mozambique) said that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is an unparalleled — if not existential — threat to humanity. “We must ensure that this remains a vital component of our shared security architecture,” he stressed, expressing support for all efforts towards a world free of such weapons. Recognizing the possibility of a nuclear crisis caused by accident, intent or miscalculation, he stressed the need to take all necessary measures to prevent such a catastrophic scenario. He also expressed regret over the continued lack of progress towards a return to full, effective implementation of the Plan, urging all parties concerned to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency, renew dialogue and strive to reach an agreement on outstanding issues. “Disarmament is the only viable option to ensure sustainable international peace and security,” he emphasized.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) noted that the fifteenth report underscores the importance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the best way to guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. However, he voiced regret over the dearth of progress in implementing the Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), which poses a concern for international disarmament architecture and nuclear non-proliferation. The “alarming developments” documented in the report — and corroborated by IAEA — highlight the need to uphold international peace and security and prevent nuclear escalation, he said, calling for parties to the agreement to return to the negotiating table and ensure the full implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). He also welcomed the IAEA Director-General’s recent visit to Iran, and echoed the Secretary-General’s call for the parties to the accord and the United States to arrive at a diplomatic solution.
Ms. WOODWARD (United Kingdom), Council President for July, spoke in her national capacity to stress that Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile currently exceeds the Plan’s limits by a factor of more than 21. Tehran’s enrichment capabilities have expanded to include over 2,500 advanced centrifuges that are suitable for nuclear-weapons purposes. Building this capacity has given Iran irreversible gains in technical knowledge, she noted, warning that the country is launching missiles that could be capable of delivering nuclear weapons and is testing technology directly applicable to intermediate- and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that Iran continues to provide material support to the Russian Federation’s war of aggression in Ukraine — with the knowledge that such support will be used to target civilians and civilian infrastructure. She also pointed out that Iran has continued to supply increasingly complex weapons systems to the Houthis in Yemen, which undermines regional security, stability and prosperity.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) said that his delegation is extremely alarmed by the latest findings of the Secretary General's report on the implementation of the Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), in particular the violation by Iran and the Russian Federation of paragraph four of Annex B. These actions are directly affecting peace and security in Europe. Since September 2022, the Russian Federation has used Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles in its full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine. More than 1,000 launches by the Russian Federation of such vehicles over the territory of Ukraine have been recorded. Ukrainian investigators and independent international experts have identified evidence confirming the Iranian origin of the vehicles, he said, adding that despite numerous official denials, Iran continues to transfer the vehicles to the Russian Federation.
“They are then used by Putin's regime not only as a weapon on the battlefield, but as a method of warfare against highly populated areas and critical infrastructure of Ukraine,” he said. The transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to the Russian Federation constitutes a flagrant violation of Council resolution 2231 (2015), he said, noting that Ukraine has shared a document containing relevant evidence. He urged the international community to reinforce joint efforts aimed at combating the uncontrolled transfer of these items, which are prohibited under the forementioned resolution. “If Russia insists that the photos with Iranian drones are fake, why do you so resolutely oppose the UN inspection to corroborate your statements,” he asked.
MICHAEL ALEXANDER GEISLER (Germany) sounded the alarm about the speed in which Iran has escalated its nuclear programme. With over 2,500 powerful advanced centrifuges, Iran has expanded its stockpile of enriched uranium to more than 21 times the Plan’s limit. “Put differently, Iran now possesses almost three times the amount of nuclear material required for a nuclear explosive device,” he said, stressing the need for IAEA to be able to promptly report any further such escalation. In a further blatant violation of resolution 2231 (2015), Iran continues to transfer missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to partners and proxies in the region and beyond. With the transfer of such vehicles to the Russian Federation and plans to establish a production facility there, “Iran’s violations have reached a new level of severity”, he warned, urging Tehran to halt immediately any support of Moscow’s war of aggression and recall that indiscriminate attacks on civilians constitute a war crime.
AMIR SAEID JALIL IRAVANI (Iran) objected to Ukraine’s participation in the meeting and rejected its unfounded allegations regarding the conflict in that country. He deplored the “inconsistent photos and questionable open-source information” released by Ukraine and the United Kingdom as evidence of his country’s alleged violations, which he called “unprofessional, deceptive and unconstructive”. Further, he objected to requests that the Secretariat conduct investigations, as these lack legal basis, adding that such actions seek to divert attention from the root causes of the lack of implementation of the Plan of Action — such as the United States’ withdrawal from the accord in 2018. He said that, while implementation was “not flawless, it was undoubtedly the most viable option at that time, and continues to be the optimal choice among all available options”.
However, he voiced regret that the United States blames Iran for lack of progress on the issue, without considering its own failure to uphold its obligations. The European Union is also to blame, due to its non-performance under the agreement and resolution 2231 (2015). Given these circumstances, Iran had no option but to take remedial measures in line the agreement “to restore the delicate balance in reciprocal commitments”, he said, adding that such measures are reversible if sanctions are lifted. Noting that talks in Vienna have stalled due to the lack of political will by the United States and other parties, he emphasized that his country is ready to participate should such parties be ready to do the same. Iran continues to constructively cooperate with IAEA, he said, outlining the Agency’s scrutiny of Tehran’s activities.