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UN council optimistic of US return to Iran nuclear deal

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Moses Kuwema

Iran must refrain from further steps to reduce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on its nuclear programme, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council during a Tuesday video‑teleconference meeting of the 15-nation organ, during which several members acknowledged a possible United States return to that landmark agreement.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefing the Council on the Secretary-General’s tenth report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) (document S/2020/1177), expressed regret that the United States has re-imposed sanctions since its withdrawal from the Plan of Action, and that Iran is scaling back some of its nuclear-related commitments under the agreement.

During the reporting period, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran had installed a cascade of IR-2M centrifuges at its Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant and began feeding uranium hexafluoride into them, she said.  

According to the Agency, Iran had also enriched uranium up to 4.5 per cent U-235 and brought its total enriched uranium stockpile to 2,442.9 kilogrammes, surpassing limits stipulated in the Plan of Action.  

In a report on December 4, IAEA noted Iranian intentions to install more centrifuge cascades at Natanz. 

“We note that Iran has stated its intention to remain in the Plan and that the steps that they have taken are reversible,” she said.  

“It is essential that Iran refrains from further steps to reduce its commitments and returns to full implementation of the Plan.”  She echoed the Secretary-General’s call on all participants to work constructively to address their differences within the dispute resolution mechanism set out in the Plan of Action.  

She also underscored the importance of all initiatives in support of trade and economic relations with Iran, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reimposition by the United States of all of its national sanctions that had been lifted or waived pursuant to the Plan of Action are contrary to the goals set out in the agreement and in resolution 2231 (2015), through which the Council endorsed the Plan of Action, she said.  

“Steps taken by the United States not to extend waivers for the trade in oil with Iran and certain non-proliferation projects may also impede the ability of Iran and other Member States to implement certain provisions of the Plan and the resolution,” DiCarlo added.

Turning to the measures set out in Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015), as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, she said that the Secretariat has received no reports on the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear and nuclear-related dual‑use items, nor has it received any official information alleging action inconsistent with the ballistic‑missile-related provisions of the resolution. 

On arms transfers, DiCarlo said that the report reflects information provided by Israel regarding the ongoing proliferation of advanced weaponry by Iran, contrary to the resolution.  Iran categorically rejected those claims in its own letter to the Secretary-General.

Providing an update on an arms-related case from the last report, she said that the Secretariat ascertained that one of four alleged Dehlavieh anti-tank missiles in Libya “has characteristics consistent with the Iranian-produced Dehlavieh”.  

However, it could not determine if that weapon was indeed transferred to Libya and/or whether its transfer was inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015).  

DiCarlo went on to say that, during the reporting period, Iran notified the Secretary‑General and the Council that Moshen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian science named on the 2231 Committee Sanctions List, had been “assassinated in a terrorist attack” on November 27, in Absard city.

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