NEW YORK, New York - Iran has blasted the United States at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council discussing the UN resolution endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015.
Resolution 2231 (2015), adopted by the Security Council, brought to an end, sanctions imposed by UN resolutions and compels all nations to abide by it.
The United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and has imposed its own sanctions, said by Iran to be more far-reaching than those in place previously.
Now Iran has taken issue with the U.S., charging it with breaching Resolution 2231, committing repeated cases of "significant non-performance", and continuous, systematic, material breach of its legal obligations under Resolution 2231, the UN Charter, and International Law.
Iran has also said the United States has bullied other countries by threatening to punish them if they did business with Iran,
Iran says while it has been practicing "maximum restraint," the U.S. has been openly engaging in "maximum pressure."
The United States hit back saying if the Iranian regime wanted sanctions relief and economic opportunities, "it must first demonstrate that it is serious about fundamentally changing its behavior." Iran, the U.S. representative said, "must cease its nuclear extortion and negotiate a comprehensive deal that includes enduring nuclear restrictions and addresses its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles," its continuing support for terrorism, the unjust detention of its citizens, and its other destabilizing activities in the region.
While the Iranian presentation was lengthy, the U.S. response was brief.
"The U.S. has defied the unanimously issued order of the International Court of Justice on 3 October 2018, which includes an obligation to remove impediments to humanitarian trade with Iran," the Iranian Ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi (pictured) told the Security Council this week.
"However, instead of taking any remedial measures authorized in the JCPOA, Iran, upon the E3's request, exercised restraint and strategic patience for one year."
"Nevertheless, our maximum restraint was responded to with the so-called "maximum pressure" of the U.S. and its ever-increasing unlawful sanctions as well as the utter failure of the E3/EU to implement their commitments," Ravanchi said.
"This left us with no choice but to take certain remedial steps in full conformity with the JCPOA's paragraphs 26 and 36, according to which, in case of "a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions", Iran has the right "to cease performing its commitments in whole or in part.""
"Therefore, Iran's steps are in full accordance with our rights and commitments under the JCPOA, and more importantly, are completely reversible," said the Iranian ambassador to the UN.
"However, the damages and sufferings inflicted upon Iran are almost absolutely irreversible."
"In the last four years, the U.S. has imposed over 1,500 sanctions against Iran, targeting almost all sectors of our economy and cutting almost all dividends of Iran from the JCPOA," said Ravanchi.
"Such sanctions, which are expected to increase even up to the very last minute of the current U.S. administration in office, is, in fact, an all-out war wherein the economic means have replaced weapons."
"According to the U.S. officials, the objective of sanctions is the "starvation" of the Iranian people through weaponizing food and medicine, which is prohibited even in wartime," Ravanchi said.
"Sanctions prevent the import of humanitarian goods, including vital medicines and medical equipment needed for patients particularly those with rare or complicated diseases. At a time when Iran is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19, sanctions are drastically hindering our national response to the pandemic."
"The U.S.' claim that humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions is an absolute lie. As an example, even today, we cannot easily import medicine for relieving the breathing problems of those injured by chemical weapons which were provided by some western countries to Saddam and used by him during his aggression against Iran," the ambassador told the UN Security Council.
"The U.S. also claims that sanctions are "not directed at the people of Iran". This is also a sheer hypocrisy as sanctions target the most vulnerable people the most, harm the poor more than the rich, the ill people more than the healthy ones, and infants and children more than adults."
"Sanctions do not merely create economic hardships; in many cases, sanctions claim the innocent lives of people from all walks of life. By any measure, the U.S. sanctions are illegal, illegitimate, immoral, inhumane and oppressive, and have no designation other than economic terrorism and crime against humanity. Yet, sanctions are only one part of the destructive bullying policies and practices of the U.S. against my country, which include its systematic Iranophobia campaign, warmongering, military adventurism in the Persian Gulf, interference in our domestic affairs, and many other unlawful and provocative actions," said Ravanchi.
"The living example of this bankrupt policy is the horrific assassination of martyr Qasem Soleimani almost one year ago. This terrorist act, conducted at the direct order of the U.S. President, is a gross violation of international law. There are also serious indications that the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian scientist, on 27 November 2020, was conducted by the Israeli regime--the closest regional ally of the United States with a long dark record of such terrorist acts against the Iranian nuclear scientists in the past."
"During the past four years, the U.S. and its regional allies have, through a series of orchestrated measures, employed all possible means including illegitimate and unlawful measures to destroy the JCPOA. As an example, you, Mr. President, and distinguished (UN Security) Council members witnessed this summer how stubbornly the U.S. attempted to abuse the process of the Council and the provisions of resolution 2231 to extend the arms-related provisions of that resolution. However, even when the U.S.' proposed draft resolution, in addition to the U.S. itself, received only one more affirmative vote, the U.S. did not stop its destructive policy and unsuccessfully attempted, through abusing the so-called snapback mechanism, to destroy the JCPOA and 2231 mechanism altogether. This time, none of the Council members supported the U.S. request, and more importantly, 13 members of the Council rejected it orally and in writing and consequently, two consecutive Presidents of the Council stated that they were not in a position to take any action with regard to the U.S. claims. Hence, the U.S. move faced a total defeat in the Council," the Iranian representative said.
"The U.S. is now desperately attempting to raise the same issue in the UNGA's Fifth Committee. This unlawful move aims to establish and fund a Security Council sanction regime without a Council mandate. The UN Member States are expected not to allow UN mechanisms to be misused and, if needed, vote against U.S. proposals on the program budget of the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 for 2021. Once again, I sincerely thank members of the Council for their valuable support. Your votes and voices were not merely in support of the JCPOA as a historic achievement of diplomacy but were strong support for multilateralism and rule of law and a loud and clear no to unilateralism and bullying. The continuation of such support is critical for ensuring the full and unconditional implementation of resolution 2231 and the JCPOA by all its participants."
"As the arms and travel-related provisions of resolution 2231, consistent with the established timelines in the resolution, were terminated on 18 October 2020, all other provisions of the resolution must be implemented and terminated according to the timelines identified therein," said Ravanchi.
"Iran has paid a heavy price and has done much more than its fair share to preserve the JCPOA. Therefore, no one can expect us to do more," he said.
"In fact, those JCPOA participants who have for years violated their commitments under resolution 2231 and the JCPOA must bear more responsibility. Iran has been implementing its commitments under the JCPOA. However, the illegal U.S. sanctions as well as the E3's non-compliance with their JCPOA commitments have not only deprived Iran from its benefits foreseen in the JCPOA, that is, to enjoy normal economic and trade relations with others, but have also inflicted severe damages and sufferings upon our economy and people."
"The so-called maximum pressure policy of the U.S. against Iran has faced with our maximum resistance and has not been able to bring us to our knees as the U.S. officials have been dreaming. It should have been clear by now that the policy of intimidation and pressure on Iran does not and will not yield any result. The only way out is to go back to the prompt, full, and unconditional implementation of JCPOA," Ravanchi said.
"As has been clearly stated by our officials, as soon as all JCPOA participants start implementing their commitments unconditionally, effectively and in full, Iran will also resume implementing all its JCPOA commitments. This has always been our principled position throughout recent years and now it has become a binding legal obligation for the government following the recent adoption of a new law by our Parliament. The JCPOA cannot be linked to any other issues as the agenda of the nuclear talks from the beginning was the nuclear issue. We decided not to allow other issues to complicate the already difficult negotiations. That was a very wise decision made by all JCPOA participants. Therefore, any attempt now to link the future of JCPOA to extraneous issues will be doomed to fail."
"We have on numerous occasions made our position on the defensive capabilities of our country quite clear. To develop a conventional missile program is an inherent right of any country under international law and Iran is no exception. Consequently, Iran will not negotiate its legitimate ballistic missile program. to Living in such a volatile region as the Middle East, we will not allow our security and conventional defensive capability be compromised, restricted, or undermined. Bullying policies of certain powers will not intimidate Iran to relinquish its legitimate defensive means," the Iranian ambassador told the Security Council.
"The only source of instability and insecurity in our region is the presence of a large number of American forces in almost all Iran's neighboring countries, the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea as well as the flow of unprecedented amounts of the most sophisticated weaponry by the U.S. and other Western countries to this region. The Persian Gulf region has been suffering from many years of foreign intervention, conflicts, and unhealthy rivalries. This region is turned into a powder keg as a result of the unfettered flow of dangerous weapons from Western countries. In order to sell more weapons to this region, these countries sow discord and apply a divide and rule policy among countries in the region."
"It is high time for regional countries to engage in good faith and work toward the establishment of a better, safer and more prosperous region. Our Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) is a recipe for bringing regional countries closer to each other with the aim of resolving their differences and establishing friendlier relations among them. We hope that our honest and sincere call for opening a new page in regional cooperation will be heeded by our neighbors in the Persian Gulf soon," said Ravanchi.
The U.S. response was delivered by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Croft's deputy, Deputy Permanent Representative Richard Mills, as Croft was in Israel having separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, President Reuven Rivlin, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
"I have one message in my intervention today, one that is pretty straightforward: the tenth report of the Secretary-General provides unmistakable indication of Iran's continued destabilizing behavior," said Mills.
"Take for example, the Secretary-General's assessment that an anti-tank guided missile discovered in Libya has characteristics consistent with Iranian-produced anti-tank guided missiles. This demonstrates that Iranian weapons continue to proliferate in Iran's immediate region and beyond."
"Moreover, as we heard, that an entity designated by the Security Council may have been involved in shipping, "valves, electronics, and measuring equipment," suitable for use in ground testing of liquid propellant ballistic missiles to Iran, should demand this Council's attention. Yet, as Iran continues to flout this Council's resolutions, too many Council members, unfortunately, are eager to ignore or overlook Iran's disregard for the restrictions that the Council has put in place, including those which the United States has re-imposed through our legitimate snapback process," the U.S. ambassador said.
"The Security Council has a responsibility to address Iran's destabilizing behavior and a failure to do so, I fear, calls into question the credibility of this body. A reluctance to act also sends a dangerous message to other rogue actors and despots around the world. Members of the Council must condemn Iran's behavior that threatens international peace and security, and not reward the regime's dangerous gamesmanship with economic appeasement," the U.S. ambassador to the UN Security Council said.
"If the Iranian regime seeks sanctions relief and economic opportunities, it must first demonstrate that it is serious about fundamentally changing its behavior. Iran must cease its nuclear extortion and negotiate a comprehensive deal that includes enduring nuclear restrictions and addresses its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles, as well as deals with its continuing support for terrorism, the unjust detention of its citizens, and its other destabilizing activities in the region."
"Finally, we recognize the Secretary-General's report's attention to the snapback of previous UN sanctions on Iran. We regret, however, the decision of the Secretary-General to encourage the continued use of the procurement channel in Resolution 2231, which is inconsistent with snapback," said Mills.
"We call again on the Secretary-General as well as every member of the Council to fully implement all UN sanctions measures, including those which were re-imposed through snapback."
"If I may, I also want take a minute just to note that the discussion of the waiver issued by the United States for activities related to the existing unit at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant pertains to a domestic administrative process that did not result in any sanctions designations. We believe that such matters should not be the focus of the Secretary-General's 2231 report," Mills said.
"Iran's failure to abide by its Security Council obligations should be met with continued diplomatic and economic pressure and the further isolation of the Iranian regime."
"The United States will continue to work with our partners around the world, especially those in the region who face the devastating effect of Iran's destabilizing influence most directly, to jointly address Iran's reckless disregard for its Security Council obligations," the U.S. ambassador said.