Iran’s Ambassador to the UN on Lifting Sanctions

By Gholamali Khoshroo, Ambassador to the United Nations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, specially for

In the Name of God.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which took effect on 16 January 2016, following a joint statement delivered by Iran' Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, and the EU Foreign Policy High Representative, Ms. Mogherini, in Vienna, is the result of a series of extensive and collective efforts that sought, for more than two years, to give diplomacy a chance and end resort to pressure, coercion and threat. The new fundamentally different approach, taken following Iran's Presidential election in 2013 and the election of President Rouhani, was a departure from the path travelled during the preceding years. This new approach helped all of us opt for the best possible way out, put an end to an unnecessary crisis and accomplish major achievements for all the parties involved and the whole international community.

Under the JCPOA, we agreed to take a number of measures to address some stated concerns of a number of countries. In so doing, we did our best to be constructive and help build confidence. Based on the steps stipulated in the deal, we turned our small stockpile of medium-enriched uranium into plates to be used in our research reactor, drastically reduced our stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and agreed to cut the number of our gas centrifuges for a number of years. We also agreed to take a number of other steps with regards of the Arak heavy-water facilities and limiting our Uranium-enrichment activities, etc. The agreement provides that in return for the steps taken by Iran, U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions will be removed, suspended and relieved.

On the implementation day of the JCPOA, 16 January 2016, and pursuant to the JCPOA and resolution 2231, adopted on 20 July 2015, the Security Council resolutions that unjustifiably placed sanctions on Iran for its efforts to exercise its rights were terminated. Those resolutions were grounded on nothing else but baseless and pure speculation and hearsay. Nobody had ever presented any proof indicating that Iran’s program has been anything but peaceful. The IAEA that put Iran's facilities under a record inspection has consistently reported that Iran has dutifully stood by every single commitment.

The solution that we arrived at is undoubtedly in the interest of strengthening the regime of nuclear non-proliferation in its entirety, as it includes and recognizes the right of Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including uranium enrichment activities and R&D on its soil. Rights and obligations of States parties to the NPT, as under any other international regime, can only go hand in hand. Obligations would be honoured and these regimes, including the NPT, sustained only if rights could also be achievable. No threats of sanction or war could help sustain the NPT in the long run if big powers fail to honour all its three pillars, including total nuclear disarmament and the right of all to use nuclear energy, and non-parties are rewarded for their intransigence.

Looking up to the future, we hope that the set of the new developments herald a new chapter in the relationship between Iran with the international community. As Iran had already committed to the Fatwa of its Supreme leader, who has declared all weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, to be Haram (religiously impermissible), and also its defense doctrine so requires, Iran is both in a position and willing to comply fully with its commitment under the JCPOA. We hope that our partners as well as the Security Council do the same with regards to their commitments under the same documents.

While this deal focuses on nuclear issue, we expect it have a wider positive implications for our region and the whole international community  as well as for broader relationship between Iran and the outside world:

It should reinforces faith in diplomacy as the most rational way to resolve differences in our interconnected world, and shows that diplomacy can work and prevail over war and tension. The so-far smooth implementation of the deal has the potential to help trigger a major development in our region towards more cooperation and coordination aimed at addressing the real issues at hand. Thus, we earnestly hope that it helps turn the page in our region, enabling countries to close their ranks and fight resolutely against violent extremism, and to move towards more cooperation to address the grave threats that our region and the world face, which is violent extremism. While all countries in our region have a very high stake in defeating terrorism, violent extremism and sectarianism, the other parts of the world are also facing similar challenges to their security from these phenomena. With the dust settled over the nuclear issue, we are now free to focus on real issues and benefit from the better environment conducive to a wider cooperation among all actors.

As to the relationship between Iran and the outside world, we are confident that the new environment and the expansion of diplomatic ties would create a more favorable condition for the realization of Iran's extensive potentials in the economic and industrial fields. Iran benefits from huge and partly untapped natural resources. Iran's young and educated human resources are also a huge source for the development of economic ties between Iran and foreign economies. These two resources plus Iran's location and Diaspora, with the latter rich in asset and talent and ready to engage in the development of their home country, are assets that could facilitate and accelerate economic cooperation in the fields of investment and the establishment of joint ventures in different sectors in Iran. At the same time, the Iranian Government under the presidency of the Dr. Rouhani has been adopting measures in the past two years to pave the ground for wider economic enterprises in Iran, including through privatization, deregulation, building confidence, strengthening the rule of law, improving business conditions, enhancing the ease of doing business, etc. All these reforms should be turning Iran into a new magnet for investment, know-how, technology, experts and managers.