Satellite photos, released by Israeli firm ImageSat International on January 14, 2019, show apparent preparations by Iran to launch a satellite into space from its Imam Khomenei Spaceport in northern Iran. (ImageSat International)

The UK, France and Germany (E3) have issued a joint statement following the UN Security Council meeting to discuss the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231.

Today, the Security Council discussed the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231, which underpins the Iran nuclear deal and sets out Iran’s nuclear commitments. This resolution is due to terminate in October next year. The next 16 months will therefore be pivotal in finding a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear crisis.

Very concerningly, the IAEA Director General’s recent reports again show that Iran is moving in the wrong direction by continuing to escalate its nuclear activities far beyond the limits of the Iran nuclear deal – the so-called JCPoA. Iran’s nuclear advances, some of which are irreversible, have hollowed out the JCPoA and will continue to make a return to a negotiated solution more difficult. Meanwhile, Iranian officials have issued statements about its capacity to assemble a nuclear weapon and a potential change of its so-called “doctrine”, that are explicitly contrary to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran’s total stockpiles of enriched uranium now stand at more than 30 times the JCPoA limit. Iran is growing its stockpile of high enriched uranium to levels unprecedented for a state without a nuclear weapons programme. Such activity has no credible civilian justification.

Most recently, Iran has followed through on installing and operating thousands more advanced centrifuges across multiple sites, including the deep underground facility at Fordow. Under the JCPoA, Iran committed not to install or operate any of these centrifuges, and not to use this site for enrichment purposes. We reiterate our call on Iran to cease its ongoing escalation and return to compliance with its JCPoA commitments.

Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA over many years undermines global non-proliferation. It also prevents the Agency from carrying out vital work to assess the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran’s agreements with the IAEA and its legal obligations must be pursued in full, without further delay, as repeatedly requested by the Director General and the Board of Governors. It is especially concerning to see Iran flatly deny its legal obligation to under Modified Code 3.1 to declare new nuclear facilities to the IAEA.

Our governments have diligently pursued a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue over many years and would continue to support diplomatic efforts that ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon, but Iran must seriously and urgently honour its commitments to diplomacy and legally binding obligations in the remaining 16 months before the expiry of this resolution.