"We expect Iran to play a positive and responsible role on the significant issues which face the region."

Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK Mission to the UN statement in the UN Security Council Briefing on Iran and Implementation of Resolution 2231.

Ambassador Matthew Rycroft

Thank you Mr President,

I thank the Secretary-General for his first report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231. It has been produced in challenging circumstances, but it is a strong report which covers the full range of implementation. I also thank both briefers and Ambassador Román Oyarzun for his excellent work as facilitator.

On the 14th of July 2015, after nearly two years of negotiation, the P5 +1 and Iran agreed the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. All parties worked hard to uphold their obligations which culminated in the implementation of the deal on 16th of January after the IAEA confirmed that Iran had completed all steps necessary to reduce its nuclear programme. We welcome the latest IAEA report of 17th of May which confirmed that Iran continued to comply with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The United Kingdom is committed to working with Iran and our E3+3 partners through the Joint Commission and the working groups established under the deal. This includes our role on the procurement channel established for the export of nuclear-related goods and services to Iran and we will continue to operate transparently in this regard, while respecting the confidentiality of applications made by UN Member States.

Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action triggered the first phase of sanctions relief, including UN, EU and US sanctions and we are committed to ensuring that these delivers tangible economic benefits for the Iranian people. We encourage businesses to take advantage of these new economic opportunities. The second phase of sanctions lifting, which will commence a maximum of eight years after Implementation Day provides a further incentive for Iran. For the meantime though, those restrictions remain in place and we are unswerving in our efforts to ensure that those sanctions which remain in place continue to be robustly enforced by all Member States.

Mr President,

I must be clear that we remain concerned about Iran’s regional behaviour. Its continued testing of ballistic missiles which are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons is destabilising to regional security and inconsistent with Resolution 2231.The UK determines that the ballistic missiles tested by the Islamic Republic of Iran are designed to deliver a payload of at least 500 kilograms which is the weight of a first generation nuclear warhead. These missiles are designed to reach a range of at least 300 kilometres which would qualify as a “strategic strike”. So in our view they are designed to be inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Together with international partners we wrote to the Security Council in March to express our concern, as ballistic missile launches have the potential to heighten regional and global tensions. It is completely unacceptable that references to Israel were reportedly written in Hebrew on a missile and we call on Iran to refrain from such provocative actions. We urge Member States to continue to enforce the sanctions regime on ballistic missile technology and encourage Member States to act on and report all suspected violations of these sanctions.

We are concerned that Iran continues to provide substantial military and financial support to Hezbollah and to the Syrian regime in contravention of the UN embargo on the export of weapons by Iran. We are also worried about reports that an arms shipment seized in March 2016 had originated in Iran and was likely bound for Yemen. We therefore urge Member States to continue to enforce the binding restrictions in place under Resolution 2231 and encourage Member States to act on and report all suspected violations of these sanctions.

Mr President,

The United Kingdom is committed to ensuring that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a success. We have always been clear that all sides need to implement fully the provisions of the agreement and UNSCR 2231 for it to work. For Iran to benefit from this deal, it must build the confidence of the international community, including the commercial sector, that it intends to enter into a new relationship with the international community. As a regional power, we expect Iran to play a positive and responsible role on the significant issues which face the region. We call on all participants to redouble efforts to implement all aspects of the deal which will build that confidence.

Thank you.

Published 18 July 2016