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Further to our letters dated 16 March 2020 (A/74/752-S/2020/212) and 28 May 2020 (S/2020/454), as well as numerous previous communications on the implementation of paragraph 3 of annex B to Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), I have the honour to once again reiterate the position of the Russian Federation on this issue in connection with the letter dated 3 June 2020 from the representatives of France, Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations (S/2020/400).

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a member of the United Nations, is fully entitled to the advantages of space science and technology.

None of the existing international instruments and mechanisms, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Missile Technology Control Regime, either directly or implicitly prohibit Iran from developing missile and space programmes.

Neither Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) itself nor the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action places constraints on the rights and capacities of Iran to develop its national missile and space programmes.

The references to the Missile Technology Control Regime and Security Council resolution 1929 (2010), as well as the conclusions, in the aforementioned communication (S/2020/400) are irrelevant. The Missile Technology Control Regime technical guidelines were not mentioned in either the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), including paragraph 3 of annex B.

We strongly object to the stated intent of France, Germany and the United Kingdom to apply the Missile Technology Control Regime category-1 systems criteria for the purposes of implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), in particular its paragraph 2. What is effectively being proposed is to prohibit any non State actor, including private entities, from manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, developing, transporting, transferring or using any space launch vehicles that are, by virtue of technical design, capable of delivering 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km, regardless of claimed intent. In this age of space exploration, and in view of the recent successes of private-public partnerships in this sphere, we find such an approach incomprehensible.

We would like to once again remind our European counterparts that paragraph 7 (a) of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) stipulates that resolution 1929 (2010) in its entirety, including paragraph 9 that prohibited Iran from undertaking “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons”, has been terminated.

Paragraph 3 of annex B of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.

Paragraph 36 of the final report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1929 (2010) (S/2012/395, annex) referred to in the aforementioned communication (S/2020/400) clearly states that “the Panel noted that the Safir space launch vehicle itself was not designed to carry a nuclear weapon”, despite being derived from two nuclear-capable missiles (the Shahab-3 and the R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile in its second stage).

Therefore, the conclusion that the Qased “shares these inherent design features thereby making it nuclear-capable”, as it makes use of the Shahab-3 technology, is a deliberate fallacy.

In conclusion, I would like to underline that whatever the concerns of France, Germany and the United Kingdom might be with respect to Iran’s national missile and space programmes, they will not be resolved by levelling dubious accusations regarding Iran’s alleged “breach” of Security Council resolutions 2231 (2015), 2216 (2015) and 1540 (2004). The reference in this context to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) – a mechanism designed for cooperation, not coercion – is especially regrettable. It serves only to illustrate that certain countries are ready to dismantle a whole era of cooperation in the collective work of preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors for the sole purpose of making a talking point of their baseless accusations.

Given the above and since no viable information to the contrary has ever been provided to the Security Council, the Russian Federation continues to proceed from its previous assessment that Iran is respecting in good faith the call addressed to it in paragraph 3 of annex B to resolution 2231 (2015) to refrain from activities related to ballistic missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

We would be grateful for the circulation of the present letter as a document of the Security Council and its full and thorough reflection in the upcoming report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).