On 10 March, following reports of a recent ballistic missile launch by Iran, the Secretary-General called on the Government of the Islamic Republic to “act with moderation, caution and the good sense not to increase tensions through any hasty actions.”
In his statement, the UN chief recalled that the launch came “soon after the positive news of the lifting of sanctions against Iran”, following the agreement reached with Tehran in July of 2015.
In lifting sanctions, through resolution 2231 (2015), the Security Council had called on the Iranian Government not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. In his statement, the Secretary-General also noted that it was for the Council to examine information regarding resolution 2231 (such as allegations that its terms had been violated, for example.) He went on to urge “all concerned to act with restraint.”
Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015)
But what does resolution 2231 actually provide for? Following is a brief primer on that important text, including timelines, milestones and safeguards in case of non-implementation of the nuclear agreement, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). For full information on the resolution, please visit: www.un.org/en/sc/2231/
- 14 July 2015: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is concluded by China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union (the “E3/EU+3”) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Finalisation Day).
- 20 July 2015: Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2231 (2015) endorsing the JCPOA.
- 18 October 2015: JCPOA enters into force (Adoption Day).
- 16 January 2016: Implementation Day.
Implementation Day (16 January 2016) was triggered by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report confirming that Iran has taken a series of nuclear-related measures called for by the JCPOA and resolution 2231 (2015).
On Implementation Day:
- The provisions of previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue were terminated, including the mandates of the 1737 Committee and its Panel of Experts;
- 36 individuals and entities were de-listed, or taken off the list of sanctions;
- The specific restrictions established by Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015) came into force (see below, under “Restrictions”).
Steps to Removing the Iran Nuclear Issue from the Agenda
Resolution 2231 (2015) Termination Day: 10 years from Adoption Day, all provisions of the resolution shall be terminated and the Security Council will have concluded its consideration of the Iranian nuclear issue.
The terminations shall not occur if the provisions of the previous resolutions have been reinstated in the interim through the mechanism set forth in resolution 2231 (2015).
Resolution 2231 (2015) Implementation
- The Security Council shall take any necessary action to support and improve implementation of the resolution including:
- Monitoring implementation of the resolution;
- Taking action, as appropriate, to improve its implementation;
- Answering enquiries from Member States and international organizations;
- Responding appropriately to information regarding alleged actions inconsistent with the resolution;
- Undertaking outreach to promote proper implementation of the resolution;
- Reviewing and deciding on proposals by States for nuclear-, ballistic missile-, or arms-related transfers to or activities with Iran
- Granting exemptions to the restrictions.
The Secretary-General’s Role
The Secretary-General reports to the Council every six months on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015);
The Department of Political Affairs, through its Security Council Affairs Division, supports the Council and its Facilitator in matters related to implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), including by:
- Assisting in the organization and staffing of Council informal meetings;
- Managing incoming and outgoing communications and assisting the facilitator in corresponding with Member States;
- Drafting correspondence, speaking notes and briefings of the Facilitator;
- Maintaining and archive all Council information and documents;
- Maintaining and promote publicly available information on the restrictions;
- Providing administrative support for the Council’s review of recommendations from the Joint Commission;
- Performing any other task, upon request from the Council.
Determining What Can Be Transferred to Iran ... And When
A Joint Commission comprised of representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the E3/EU+3 includes a Procurement Working Group (PWG) makes recommendation to the Council for nuclear-related transfers to or activities with Iran. It reports to the Council every six months on the status of the PWG’s decisions and on any implementation issues.
The IAEA will verify and monitor Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA for their full duration.
Resolution 2231 also contains a list of time bound restrictions on transfers with Iran. The restrictions in its “Annex B” will apply for various periods of time (listed below), or until the IAEA concludes that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities, whichever is earlier:
- 5 years: restrictions on arms-related transfers and travel ban;
- 8 years: restrictions on ballistic missile-related transfers and activities and assets freeze;
- 10 years: restrictions on nuclear-related transfers and activities (procurement channel).