Our priority remains to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons [fr]
STATEMENT IN NATIONAL CAPACITY
BY NICOLAS DE RIVIERE
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
New York, 30 June 2020
I would like to thank the Secretary-General, the US Secretary of State and the Iranian Foreign Minister for their participation. Thanks also to the briefers for their interventions.
Our priority remains to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. This is a proliferation issue, and therefore a peace and security issue, that affects and concerns us all. That is why France, Germany and the United Kingdom have been working since 2003 to resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. And we were able to find a way out of this crisis in 2015, thanks to the perseverance of the international community, and to the convergence from 2006 towards the line taken by the E3, and to the robust dialogue with Iran.
The Security Council not only endorsed the Vienna Agreement (JCPOA) by resolution 2231, but also validated a method, that of pragmatic and demanding multilateralism, a method that was then carried by its five permanent members, in unity, steadfastly and exemplarily.
We all take the measure of the challenges of the moment. The trajectories of the signatory States have diverged since the United States left the agreement, to our great regret and concern. After that, Iran has, worryingly, taken measures that are contrary to its commitments under the agreement. These have serious proliferation consequences - which is why the E3s activated the JCPOA dispute resolution mechanism in January this year: to address this serious problem, but to address it within the framework of the agreement.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom have fully implemented their commitments. We remain committed to preserving the agreement and to continuing discussions to bring Iran back to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPoA. This requires constructive engagement by Iran and by all.
We have just heard the very worrying confirmation of Iran’s violations of the provisions of resolution 2231 on arms transfers. The Secretary-General’s conclusions, which we support, are consistent with our assessment. Let me be clear: these destabilizing activities, which we have condemned, are unacceptable and must stop.
As the E3 Berlin ministerial declaration of 19 June testifies, France, together with Germany and the United Kingdom, understands and shares the concerns regarding the implications of the upcoming expiration of the embargo on conventional arms provided for in resolution 2231. We have expressed our readiness to explore constructive options to address our common concerns, including outside this Council. We intend to address this issue in close consultation with all members of this Council, in particular the remaining participants in the JCPoA and other key actors.
We will continue to be guided by the following objectives: respect for the authority and integrity of the United Nations Security Council and commitment to regional stability and security. We would not, however, support unilateral proposals leading to the return of sanctions. They would only deepen divisions in the Security Council and beyond and would not be likely to improve the situation on the ground of nuclear non-proliferation.
As the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom stated in Berlin on 19 June, "we firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC. We would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPoA."
All members of this Council share fundamental security interests. They bring us together around shared objectives and responsibilities. That is the raison d’être of this Council and the spirit that drives us all. I therefore want to believe that none of us would risk a backsliding that would exacerbate tensions in the Middle East. The JCPOA, which is the result of compromise, can of course be seen as an instrument that can be improved. But there is as yet no serious alternative to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; and its disappearance would improve neither the regional situation nor the security of our populations.
We certainly have differences of approach. But it is together that we must build a comprehensive strategy on all aspects of the Iranian issue, with our eyes open, without naivety, with pragmatism and lucidity. It is this long-term objective that we wish to prioritize, while preserving the international order based on law, of which we are the guarantors. Thank you.