Iran: there is no credible alternative to JCPOA [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 12 december 2018
First of all, let me thank the Ivorian presidency of the Security Council for convening today’s meeting and welcome in particular the presence of Mr. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States of America. I also thank Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and Mr. Serge Christiane, Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. I would like to warmly thank our Dutch colleague Ambassador Karel van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, and his team for their work this year as Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).The past year has shown that our work is not finished with regard to the regime on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. It has also shown how it is now more important than ever that we maintain our constant collective mobilization in strengthening it. Today’s meeting on resolution 2231 (2015) is therefore very timely, since it concerns one of the most significant non-proliferation achievements of recent years. That resolution was supported by all the permanent members of the Security Council and unanimously adopted; it was brought to fruition both by the perseverance of the international community and by the leadership role of the Council. And it sealed the major agreement reached in Vienna after years of negotiations. In other words, it is a resolution that embodies the unity of the international community, the Security Council and all its members, especially its permanent members.
However, the paths of the States parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have diverged since 2015 and, as the Secretary-General does in his report (S/2018/1089), we have expressed our regret and concern about the implications of the United States withdrawal and the reimposition of American sanctions. Yet we all share the same objective — to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to ensure, through strict international monitoring, the peaceful ends of its programme. That is what made it possible put in place the JCPOA for 10 years, to which there is no credible alternative today. The collapse of that agreement would mark a serious step backwards, for which we would all pay the price.
While we have seen a serious crisis of confidence this year, the agreement remains in place and is working — Iran continues to comply with its nuclear obligations, as confirmed to us for the thirteenth consecutive time by the International Atomic Energy Agency. We welcome that fact. The situation must be strengthened through respect for all our commitments, which applies to all United Nations Members, not only the parties to the Plan. No external developments should affect the implementation of those commitments. In that regard, France will actively continue to support the agreement as long as Iran strictly and fully respects its nuclear obligations and makes efforts to preserve the economic benefits of the JCPOA.
France commends the rigorous work of the Secretariat through its balanced report, prepared in full compliance with its mandate. Our collective commitments do not stop at the JCPOA, and Iran must comply with all the provisions of resolution 2231 (2015). However, the report identifies several elements of Iranian actions that are not in conformity with those provisions, which gives us cause for concern. In conjunction with Germany and the United Kingdom, France has expressed its concern on several occasions concerning ballistic missiles. I would recall that the missiles in question are technically designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and it is that type of activity, which runs counter to resolution 2231 (2015), that we have collectively called on Iran not to carry out. The issue of ballistic transfers to State and non-State actors, in particular the Secretariat’s conclusions on ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis, is also a great source of concern for France. Whether in Yemen or in the Syrian theatre, such actions violate resolution 1540 (2004), which is also an essential element of the international non-proliferation architecture.
Let us be clear: for the sake of regional stability and international security, Iran must immediately cease all destabilizing activities. We have already expressed our concern on that issue, including directly to the Iranian authorities. Each of us must clearly convey that message, and France, for its part, will continue its robust dialogue with Iran.
In conclusion, I would like to echo the Secretary-General’s appeal to all States, whether or not they are parties to the Plan, to ensure the continuity of the JCPOA as a pillar of international and regional peace and security. Rest assured that France, which has worked tirelessly to make the agreement robust and endow it with rigorous verification mechanisms, remains fully committed to that goal. Only in that way can we together draw up a long-term strategy in the region, which cannot be reduced to a policy of pressure and sanctions. Such a strategy must also include a firm and frank dialogue with the Iranians about our concerns. That is the only way that the international community can lay the foundation for a new agreement on a framework for Iranian nuclear power beyond 2025-2030, Iranian ballistic activity and regional stability. There is no other way to achieve lasting stability in the region and ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.