The United Nations Security Council high-level Arria-formula meeting on Media Freedom in Belarus

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Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at UN Security Council VTC briefing on Non-proliferation (Iran/JCPOA)

Thank you, Mr President.

I thank all the briefers for their interventions. Allow me to extend my special thanks to our Belgian colleague, and to his team for their diligent work in facilitating the implementation of resolution 2231 for the past two years.

Five years ago, persistent diplomatic efforts produced an agreement to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful in its nature. Estonia has repeatedly stated its support to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We continue to consider the JCPOA as a key element in global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and crucial for regional and wider international security. Owing to the strict limits and international monitoring mechanisms set by the Plan, the Iranian nuclear program remains under tight scrutiny and verification. We believe that these transparency measures remain crucial in averting the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.

In this regard, I would like to emphasise the important role of the IAEA in verifying and monitoring Iran’s nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. Estonia commends the impartial and professional work of the Agency and we encourage Iran to continue constructive engagement and cooperation with the IAEA.

Mr President,

The JCPOA has been facing a number of challenges these last few years. Estonia deeply regrets Iran’s decision of 2019 to start reducing its nuclear-related commitments under the Plan. As a result, Iran has again accumulated worrying levels of enriched uranium and acquired new knowledge through its research and development activities.

We note with concern the latest report of the IAEA informing of Iran’s intention to install additional advanced centrifuge machines at the Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz contrary to the JCPOA commitments. We also note with great regret the recent laws adopted by the Iranian Parliament with the purpose to further expand Iran’s nuclear program and restrict the IAEA’s inspectors’ access to key nuclear sites. These steps are counterproductive to preserving the agreement. We strongly urge Iran to reverse these and other measures contrary to its commitments without any delay and refrain from taking further escalatory steps.

Nuclear domain aside, Iran’s other actions give reason for concern. Iran taking steps that are inconsistent with the restrictive measures set out in annex B of the resolution 2231, with other Security Council resolutions and international obligations make it difficult to consider Iran a responsible actor. I refer here to Iran testing and developing ballistic missiles and technologies related to them, attacking commercial shipping in the Gulf of Oman, damaging Saudi oil facilities and transferring arms to its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Such weapons proliferation activities have a highly destabilizing effect to the region. They only increase mistrust and feed into the escalation of tensions. Such activities are unacceptable and need to stop immediately.

Mr President,

Despite the challenges, we remain hopeful that there is a way to preserve the JCPOA and ensure its full implementation. Estonia welcomes the JCPOA participants’ commitment to the JCPOA and efforts to address and find a viable solution to the issues of non-compliance. We believe that once the participants engage constructively and substantively in the Dispute Resolution Mechanism and return to full compliance of the deal, it will serve as a way to build confidence and create a possibility to address other concerns of regional security.

I thank you, Mr President.