Part 1: U.N. Report on Nuclear Deal, Iran's Missiles

December 12, 2018

On December 6, the U.N. Secretary General reported that Iran has continued to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In the sixth report on compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, António Guterres touted the JCPOA as a “major achievement in nuclear non-proliferation and in dialogue and diplomacy.” He said that he regretted the U.S. decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and reimpose sanctions on Iran. Guterres welcomed initiatives by the European Union to ensure lawful trade with Iran can continue despite U.S. sanctions. “It is essential that the Plan continue to work for all its participants, including by delivering tangible economic benefits to the Iranian people,” he wrote. 

The report also included allegations about Iranian ballistic missile testing and proliferation submitted by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. Resolution 2231 calls upon Iran not to undertake activities related to the ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The following are excerpts from the report

 

Key findings and recommendations

8. The procurement channel continues to be a vital transparency and confidence - building mechanism ensuring that transfers of certain goods, technology and/or related services to the Islamic Republic of Iran are consistent with resolution 2231 (2015) and the provisions and objectives of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Since 12 June 2018, five additional proposals have been submitted to the Security Council. The channel is operational and effective, and I encourage all States and the private sector to fully utilize and support this channel.

9. The Secretariat received further information on two shipments of dual-use items, previously brought to the attention of the Security Council. The authorities of two manufacturing States confirmed that, in their assessment, the items did not meet the criteria set out in INFCIRC/254/Rev.10/Part 2 and therefore did not require prior approval of the Council through the procurement channel.

10. During the reporting period, the Secretariat examined the debris of three additional ballistic missiles launched at the territory of Saudi Arabia on 25 March and 11 April 2018. The Secretariat observed design characteristics and component parts consistent with those of the missiles that it had examined previously. The debris of the three missiles had internal and external features consistent with those of the Scud-B missile and all its variants, as well as specific key design features consistent with those of the Iranian Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile. However, the Secretariat has not been able to determine whether such missiles, parts thereof or related technology were transferred from the Islamic Republic of Iran after 16 January 2016, the day on which the restrictions set out in annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) came into force.1

11. The Secretariat also examined two container launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The Secretariat found that they had characteristics of Iranian manufacture and that their markings indicated production dates in 2016 and 2017. The Secretariat also examined a partly disassembled surface-to-air missile seized by the Saudi-led coalition and observed that its features appeared to be consistent with those of an Iranian missile. The Secretariat is still analysing the information available on this disassembled missile, and I intend to report back to the Security Council accordingly.

Implementation of nuclear-related provisions

12. Since 12 June 2018, 5 new proposals to participate in or permit the activities set forth in paragraph 2 of annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) have been submitted to the Security Council, bringing to 42 the total number of proposals submitted since Implementation Day (16 January 2016) for approval through the procurement channel. At the time of reporting, 28 proposals had been approved by the Council, 4 had not been approved, 9 had been withdrawn by the proposing States and 1 was currently under review. The Council also received five new notifications pursuant to the same provision for certain nuclear-related activities that only required a notification to the Council or to both the Council and the Joint Commission.

13. Since my previous report, the Secretariat received further information related to three of the four shipments of dual-use items seized by the United Arab Emirates in May 2016 and April 2017 while in transit to the Islamic Republic of Iran (see S/2018/602, para. 18). Contrary to the original assessment by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, the authorities of two of the States of manufacture have confirmed that, in their assessment, the 40 cylindrical segments of tungsten and the 10 capacitors did not meet the criteria set out in INFCIRC/254/Rev.10/Part 2 and that their re-export to the Islamic Republic of Iran did not require prior approval of the Security Council. 2 The authorities of another State of manufacture informed the Secretariat that, in their assessment, the inductively coupled mass spectrometer met the criteria set out in the above-mentioned information circular, but that their internal review was ongoing. I intend to report thereon to the Council as more information becomes available on this shipment and on the shipment of one titanium rod.

14. In addition, on 30 October 2018, the United States provided the Secretariat with additional information on the transfer of two commodities that, in their assessment, would have required prior approval from the Security Council (see S/2018/602, para. 19). According to this information, at least 50 tonnes of aluminium alloys were shipped to the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2016 and 2017, and the carbon fibre was shipped in 2017. The Secretariat has sought clarification on that additional information from relevant Member States and will report to the Council in due course.

Implementation of ballistic missile-related provisions

Restrictions on ballistic missile-related activities by the Islamic Republic of Iran

15. During the reporting period, I received information regarding ballistic missiles reportedly launched by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 30 September and 1 October 2018 at targets in the Syrian Arab Republic. In identical letters dated 19 October 2018 addressed to me and the President of the Security Council (S/2018/939), the Permanent Representative of Israel noted that, according to Iranian media outlets, at least five ballistic missiles with a range of 700 km were launched. He considered that those missiles “crossed the Annex B threshold” of resolution 2231 (2015) and called upon the Council to condemn the activity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In a joint letter dated 20 November 2018 addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2018/1062), the Permanent Representatives of France, Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland stressed that those ballistic missiles were category I systems under the Missile Technology Control Regime3 and therefore inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons. They concluded that the launches of those missiles constituted an “activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and “launches using such ballistic missile technology”, which the Islamic Republic of Iran has been called upon not to undertake pursuant to paragraph 3 of annex B to the resolution. In the letter, they also stated that those launches were destabilizing and increased regional tensions. 

16. I also received information regarding flight tests of ballistic missiles by the Islamic Republic of Iran. In identical letters dated 23 November 2018 addressed to me and the President of the Security Council (S/2018/1047), the Permanent Representative of Israel brought to my attention information regarding seven flight tests reportedly conducted in 2018, in addition to those of a Shahab-3 variant and a Scud variant in January 2018 (see S/2018/602, para. 22). According to the information provided, one Khorramshahr, two Shahab-3 variants, one Qiam and three Zolfaghar ballistic missiles were flight-tested between February and August 2018. The Permanent Representative stated that their test-firing was in violation of resolution 2231 (2015) because those ballistic missiles were all category I systems under the Missile Technology Control Regime and therefore inherently capable of carrying nuclear weapons. 

17. In a letter dated 29 October 2018 addressed to me and the President of the Security Council (S/2018/967), the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran recalled that “the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, acting in legitimate self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, took limited and measured military action on 1 October 2018 in Syria, targeting terrorist elements that are also linked to the terrorist act in Ahvaz ”. However, in reference to the letter from the Permanent Representative of Israel dated 23 November, the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a letter dated 29 November addressed to me and the President of the Council (S/2018/1073), stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran had “not launched any type of such missiles on any of the dates specified in the letter”. The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in his letter dated 29 October, also reiterated the view of the Islamic Republic of Iran that none of its missiles were “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”, but rather, as the Chargé d’affaires a.i. had indicated in a letter dated 28 November addressed to the President of the Council (S/2018/1061), “‘designed’ to be exclusively capable of delivering conventional warheads”, and thus fell outside the purview of resolution 2231 (2015). The Chargé d’affaires a.i., in his letter dated 28 November, also stressed that there was no implicit or explicit reference to the Missile Technology Control Regime in paragraph 3 of annex B to the resolution and concluded that none of its criteria were applicable to the paragraph.

18. In a letter dated 30 November 2018 addressed to me and the President of the Security Council, the Chargé d’affaires a.i of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation underscored that the Islamic Republic of Iran was not prohibited by resolution 2231 (2015) to develop missile and space programmes and that it had been respecting in good faith the call to refrain from activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons. He noted that there was no evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran was developing or producing a nuclear weapon or means of its delivery. He underlined that the category I parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime were never intended to be used in the context of the resolution to ascertain whether certain missiles are designed to be capabl e of carrying nuclear weapons. He further stated that missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons included certain features and that no “evidence of the existence of such features on Iranian ballistic missiles or space launch vehicles ” was presented to the Council. 19. On 4 December 2018, the Security Council discussed the reported test firing of a medium-range ballistic missile by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 1 December 2018.

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