Statements and speeches by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov
Statement by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the adoption by the P5+1 and Iran of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the final settlement regarding the Iranian nuclear programme
July 14 marks the end of years of negotiations in pursuit of a final settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. The international mediators (Britain, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and France), joined by the EU, and Iran have adopted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It is based on the phased approach and the principle of reciprocity set forth by Russia some time back and President Vladimir Putin’s formula: recognition of Iran’s unconditional right to a peaceful nuclear programme, including uranium enrichment under international supervision, resolution of all IAEA-related issues, and the lifting of all sanctions on Iran.
All the negotiating teams of the P5+1, the EU and Iran deserve high praise for their performance, particularly the experts who found the right wording to resolve extremely complex technical and political issues. I would like to express special thanks to the Austrian and Swiss governments for providing optimal conditions for successful negotiations. Our friends from Kazakhstan also contributed by hosting several rounds of talks.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action consists of one hundred pages, including the main political document and five technical annexes. It clearly lays out all the steps to be taken by Tehran, on the one hand, and the P5+1 and the EU, on the other.
Tehran has assumed long-term commitments to limit its nuclear programme and place it under strict IAEA supervision. Implementation of these commitments will guarantee the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and address all relevant concerns reflected in UN Security Council resolutions.
In turn, the P5+1 pledge to initiate the phased lifting of UN sanctions on Iran. The EU and the United States will also rescind their unilateral sanctions that far exceed the scale of the UN Security Council resolutions. We have never recognised their legitimacy and can only welcome this step toward restoring justice in Iran’s relations with Washington and Brussels.
Any disputes and problems that may emerge during implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will be subject to collective discussion at the joint commission that is currently being established with the participation of the P5+1, Iran and the EU. Relevant issues may be submitted to the UN Security Council only in extreme cases.
The Russian delegation, including our nuclear experts, suggested several practical solutions during the negotiations that have become an inalienable part of the final agreements. In addition, to achieve a final settlement, we agreed to resolve two key items on the agenda as part of our cooperation with Iran via Rosatom. I am referring to the following joint projects – shipping Iranian stockpiles of low-enriched uranium to Russia in exchange for natural uranium and repurposing the now former uranium-enrichment plant at Fordow for the production of stable isotopes for medical and industrial purposes.
Considering that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is subject to approval by the UN Security Council, we paid special attention to ensuring the charter prerogatives of this body and respect for the role of all of its members, including non-permanent ones, in the adoption of decisions required for the implementation of the agreements.
The comprehensive agreements on the Iranian nuclear programme will strengthen the non-proliferation regime and exert a positive influence on security and stability in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf. Importantly, normalisation of the Iranian issue removes all pretexts for the use of force against that country, which some politicians viewed as a “real alternative” to negotiations.
New opportunities are now opening up for the resolution of many other regional problems and conflicts. Thus, there are additional incentives to move forward on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The largely artificial obstacles to forming a broad coalition in the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists groups are being removed.
I would like to make one additional point. In his speech in Prague on April 5, 2009, US President Barrack Obama said resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue would obviate the need for the European segment of US missile defence. We hope that our American colleagues remember this and will adjust their plans accordingly. We are prepared for dialogue on this issue.
No doubt, resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue will have a positive influence on bilateral relations between Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran and will open up even broader prospects for their deepening and diversification. This applies to the implementation of plans to build new units for Iran’s nuclear power plant. The agreements reached on the Iranian nuclear programme insure these plans against any negative impact from external factors
The lifting of sanctions agreed by the parties will allow us to promote bilateral cooperation in other areas. It will no longer be affected by the exterritorial application of unilateral restrictions by the United States and the EU on financial transactions and other aspects of the joint practical work of Russian and Iranian operators.
Opportunities for Russian-Iranian military-technical cooperation are also growing, which is particularly important for the urgent tasks of confronting terrorist threats in the region.
Most important, the deal on the Iranian nuclear programme convincingly demonstrates that given political will, realism and respect for each other’s lawful interests, the international community can resolve the most challenging issues related to strengthening international security by political and diplomatic means.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU have proved their ability to work collectively. The trust that has been built up will be very helpful in the implementation of the agreements on the Iranian nuclear programme. It would be great if this invaluable experience, free of ideological and geopolitical designs, is used to resolve other crises where success can only be achieved through honest cooperation. Russia is ready for this.
July 14, 2015