‘Additional effort and patience’ needed to revive Iran nuclear deal

The United Nations

Ongoing talks to get the Iran nuclear deal back on track indicate “additional effort and patience” are required for its full restoration, the UN political affairs chief told the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday.

Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed ambassadors on developments surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sets out rules for international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran signed the JCPOA in 2015 alongside China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with Germany and the European Union.

Expedite pledges

Negotiations are underway in Vienna to revive the deal after the US pulled out in 2018 under the Trump administration.

“In recent days, both Iran and the United States have again affirmed their seriousness in seeking to return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” Ms. DiCarlo told the Council.

“The Secretary-General is encouraged by these pledges and calls on both countries to expeditiously translate these commitments into a mutually acceptable agreement.”

‘No viable alternative’

Ms. DiCarlo recalled that the JCPOA is widely regarded as a cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation, and an example of what dialogue and diplomacy can achieve.

A Security Council resolution endorses the deal, and guarantees that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to Iran’s nuclear programme.

“The Secretary-General hopes that in their current negotiations, the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran will mobilize the same spirit and commitment that resulted in the JCPOA. There is simply no viable alternative to the full and effective implementation of the Plan and the resolution,” she stressed.

Lift US sanctions

In this regard, Ms. DiCarlo said that alongside the UN chief, she appealed to the US to lift or waive sanctions against Iran, as outlined in the plan, and extend waivers regarding oil trade with the country.

“Also important is the extension of US waivers regarding certain civilian nuclear-related activities taking place at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the Fordow Facility, and the Arak reactor,” she continued.

“Waiver extensions are also required for the transfer of enriched uranium out of the Islamic Republic of Iran in exchange for natural uranium.”

Action for Iran

The UN official also called on Iran “to reverse the steps it has taken that are not consistent with its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan.”

The IAEA has indicated that research and development activities related to uranium metal production continue.

Furthermore, although the agency has been unable to verify Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, estimates indicate more has been accumulated at limits that exceed the agreement.

The IAEA has also reported that its verification and monitoring activities have been “seriously undermined” by Iran’s decision to stop implementing its nuclear-related commitments, while “continuity of knowledge” on its nuclear activities has also been hampered.

Attacks and investigations

Ms. DiCarlo also reported on measures under the Council resolution, including concerns by several countries surrounding a ballistic missile launch in May and two space launch vehicle tests by Iran a month later.

She said debris from six ballistic missiles, a cruise missile and several unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) used in attacks against Saudi Arabia has been examined. Saudi authorities believe the weapons had been transferred to Houthi fighter in Yemen.

Similarly, debris from an alleged Iranian UAV that had entered Israeli airspace via Jordan was also examined. Israeli authorities believe the UAV was launched from either Iraq or Syria.

Ms. DiCarlo said the information collected is being analysed and a report is forthcoming.

UN News Release. More on this here.