The UK, France and Germany (the E3) have given a joint statement to media following a UK-chaired UNSC session on Iran’s implementation of UNSCR 2231.

Today, the Security Council discussed the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231, particularly Iran’s nuclear activity, missile development and continued weapons proliferation inconsistent with that resolution.

Iran has been in violation of its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), endorsed by Resolution 2231, for more than four years and its nuclear programme has escalated to dangerous levels. This is of utmost concern for international peace and security.

Regarding enrichment, the IAEA reports that the total stockpiles of Iran’s enriched uranium now stand at 21 times the amounts permitted under the JCPoA. Iran’s stockpiles of high enriched uranium at 20% and 60% are unprecedented for a state without a nuclear weapons programme. In March, the IAEA reported it had detected uranium particles enriched to 83.7% at Fordow. Enriching to such levels is a very grave development, inconsistent with the JCPoA or even the levels declared to the IAEA.

Regarding R&D, Iran’s activities already have provided Iran with irreversible and significant knowledge gains that the JCPoA sought to limit, as have Iran’s activities on uranium metal in the recent years. For the first time since 2009, Iran also failed to report a change in centrifuge configuration at Fordow to the IAEA.

Iran has no credible civilian justification for its continued escalation. It only brings Iran ever closer to weapons related capabilities. This is an issue of grave concern for the Security Council. At the same time, necessary steps – as committed to by Iran as part of the March 4 Agreement with the IAEA Director General – remain insufficient. They must be pursued in full, without further delay, as requested by the Director General in his latest report.

The Security Council has also today discussed key developments regarding Iran’s missile programme and its destabilising transfers of missiles and drones to state and non-state actors in the region and beyond.

Firstly, Iran continues to develop and improve ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran’s defence ministry announced on 25 May it had tested a missile capable of delivering a 1500kg warhead to a range of 2000 km. This is inconsistent with UNSCR 2231. A few days later it unveiled another missile with specification inconsistent with UNSCR 2231. Since its adoption, Iran has never stopped its ballistic missile programme, in disregard for this resolution.

Secondly, Iran endangers the region and the whole international community through its weapons proliferation to non-state actors. We have compelling evidence from repeated interdictions of Iranian weapons in the region that Iran has continued to transfer UNSCR 2231-controlled weapons to non-state actors in the Middle East. These transfers have not been permitted and therefore violate this Security Council resolution.

Finally, Iran has escalated its violations by transferring hundreds of UAVs to Russia since August 2022. Deliveries took place in the knowledge that Russia uses them to target Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure. It has thereby knowingly supported Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Neither Russia nor Iran have ever sought authorisation for these transfers, which are therefore a breach of UNSC Resolution 2231 by both states. We condemn Iran’s continued disregard for its obligations under this Resolution, urge it to immediately cease this activity, and strongly caution Iran against any further deliveries or escalation of such violations.

In light of such repeated violations, we encourage the Secretary General to instruct the UN Secretariat to examine and report on the ample evidence of Iran transferring weapons, materials, equipment, goods and technology or related services controlled by UNSCR 2231 as it has done so on several occasions in the past. We would welcome a visit by UN experts to Ukraine as requested by the Government of Ukraine and supported by us and other council members.

We remain determined that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon and must reverse its nuclear escalation. We are deeply concerned that against such dangerous dynamics, key restrictions of UNSC Resolution 2231, particularly on Iran’s ballistic activities and missiles transfers will expire in October. We recall that the restrictions of other relevant UNSC Resolutions will remain fully in place after that date.

We emphasise once again our determination to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, as demonstrated by our consistent efforts in that regard. We urge Iran to immediately de-escalate its ongoing activities. Positive moves are critical to open space for constructive engagement with the international community and for renewed steps towards nuclear diplomacy.

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Published 6 July 2023