Iran : May we be the agents of a political solution [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 26 June 2019
I thank Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Ambassador Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, and Mr. Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Ambassador of Belgium, in his capacity as Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) for their very enlightening briefings. I also wish to commend the professionalism and commitment of the Secretariat, which has produced a high-quality, very detailed and balanced report (S/2019/492).
The challenges that bring us together within the Council are more numerous and more serious than ever and our responsibilities are immense with regard to both non-proliferation issues and all regional issues with which we have to deal. In that context, our responsibility is to be fully engaged in preventing and resolving crises. From 2003, at the initiative of the E3 and with the support of the Council, that collective commitment and engagement made it possible to chart the way for negotiations with Iran, which led to the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. The agreement was formalized by the adoption of resolution 2231 (2015), which was supported by the five permanent members of the Council, reflecting their unity and our collective unity on non-proliferation issues, which are at the heart of our security. France remains firmly committed to the preservation of that framework and will actively continue its efforts to implement its obligations under the JCPOA, with its partners in the European Union, as long as Iran respects its nuclear commitments.
The JCPOA, which put an end to a serious nuclear proliferation crisis, is a cornerstone for the stability of the entire Middle East and an essential non-proliferation instrument. As we witness a worrying increase in tensions in the region, everyone must refrain from statements and measures that could weaken the JCPOA and precipitate an escalation.
The withdrawal of the United States from the agreement last year, followed by the American sanctions, started a very worrying period of uncertainty. France, in conjunction with its partners and in line with the Secretary-General, has clearly expressed its regret and concern about the decisions of the United States.
In that context, recent Iranian announcements with regard to non-compliance with the provisions of the JCPOA, which the Secretary-General has also regretted, are extremely worrying. I would like to reiterate my country’s position on that point: it is imperative that Iran continue to fully and rigorously implement its nuclear obligations. Apart from the announcements, Tehran must refrain from any measure that would constitute a violation of its commitments. The JCPOA is the outcome of a fragile balance. Any suspension, even partial, of Iran’s commitments would have negative repercussions in terms of the threat of nuclear proliferation and would further destabilize the region.
As France has said in the Chamber on many occasions, the preservation and full implementation of the agreement must go hand in hand with compliance with all the provisions of resolution 2231 (2015), which endorses it. Everyone knows that the collective commitments made in 2015 do not end with the JCPOA framework. In that regard, I would like to express France’s concern over the various elements identified by the Secretary-General in his report concerning Iran’s continued non-compliance with several of the provisions, in particular with regard to its ballistic activities and the transfer of various arms to other actors in the Middle East. Iran is conducting highly destabilizing missile activities, whether it be its efforts to develop a ballistic missile programme, contrary to resolution 2231 (2015), or transfers to State and non-State actors in the Middle East, which place Iran in breach of several resolutions of the Council, including resolution 2231 (2015).
It is therefore essential that Iran cease such activities and fully comply with the resolutions adopted by the Council.
Allow me to make an urgent appeal for pragmatism and clear thinking.
Given the risk of escalation caused by the incidents in the Gulf of Oman, it is crucial that all the actors concerned exercise the utmost restraint and prioritize the path of dialogue and peaceful settlement, thereby urgently contributing to regional de-escalation. France encourages and supports all mediation efforts between the parties. Ways must be found towards pacification through the efforts of all the actors involved. The crisis should also be an opportunity to pursue regional stabilization and security mechanisms.
The collapse of the JCPOA would represent a dangerous step backwards, bringing uncertainty and potentially far-reaching consequences for the region, the non-proliferation regime and our collective security. We must all work to prevent such a scenario, the price of which we would all pay, and to preserve the nuclear agreement. I call on everyone around this table to rally behind that goal.
As members know, France advocates a comprehensive approach, supported by the European Union, which seeks to ensure the preservation of the JCPOA while also addressing the long-term framework of the Iranian nuclear programme and Iran’s conduct in the ballistic sphere and in regional conflicts.
Given the worrying developments under way, I would like to conclude by calling, on behalf of France, for all stakeholders to exercise restraint, disengage their autopilot and shoulder their responsibility through respect and dialogue in order to find common ground and achieve de-escalation. Let us not sleepwalk into a military confrontation but be actors in an exclusively political solution. The Council may rest assured of France’s resolute commitment to that end.