No agreement among Permanent Members that Iran is not complying with resolution 2231: Finaud
Marc Finaud, a senior member of Geneva Centre for Security Policy, says that in the Middle East, several countries have wide-ranging missile capabilities that are the result of threat perceptions often fueled by the others’ arms build-ups.
Former Senior Resident Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) adds “This is why the only effective way of dealing with that issue is a regional framework.”
A senior member of Geneva Centre for Security Policy also says that “there is no agreement among the Permanent Members that Iran is not complying with resolution 2231.”
Finaud adds that “The E3 letter raises an important issue but it is bound to fail if it only seeks to pressure Iran and does not offer an opportunity to discuss the matter on a regional basis.”
Following is the full text of the interview:
The British, German and French ambassadors, in a letter circulated on Wednesday, called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to inform the Security Council in his next report that Iran’s missile program was “inconsistent” with a UN resolution that had endorsed the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers (UN Security Council Resolution 2231). The claim is that some of Iran's missiles do not comply with the resolution, while the resolution “calls on” Iran not to work on missiles "designed to carry nuclear warheads". What is your assessment of this letter? And is it possible to vote against Iran at the Security Council meeting?
The provisions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program are part of the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA but are not part of the JCPOA itself. The Security Council could theoretically discuss and adopt a resolution on those missile provisions, but in fact, there is no agreement among the Permanent Members that Iran is not complying with resolution 2231. The E3 letter raises an important issue but it is bound to fail if it only seeks to pressure Iran and does not offer an opportunity to discuss the matter on a regional basis.
This was Europe's action while Europe had already threatened Iran to investigate the trigger mechanism. Why, besides threatening to investigate the trigger mechanism, have they also raised the Iranian missile issue?
This initiative seems intended to push Iran to accept a broader scope of negotiation beyond its nuclear program in the hope of achieving a new deal that could be accepted by the United States. But it is unlikely to succeed unless Iran can derive some benefits from such a broader agreement.
These two actions of Europe while Europe failed to fulfill its obligations to Iran and the reduction of its obligations by Iran was also a reaction to the passivity of European countries. What is your assessment?
The problem obviously comes from the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in violation of the agreement itself and Security Council resolution 2231. Iran’s decisions to reduce the implementation of its commitments are consistent with the spirit of the JCPOA, based on reciprocity, if not with its letter. But it also increases the risk of collapse of the whole agreement. The Europeans did try to reduce the impact of American sanctions on Iran, but their efforts are restricted by bureaucracy and their limited influence on European companies which are deterred to trade with Iran by US sanctions.
Resolution 2231 uses the term “calls on” which does not have a legal requirement. Accordingly, while on the basis of arguments put forward by Europe, Iran has models of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but there are no legal entities for the legal review of countries' missile programs. This means that there is no international organization for recognizing the country's missile capabilities and its aims include defensive, offensive or capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. What is your assessment?
It is indeed regrettable that the international arms control framework on missiles is very weak: it only consists of the MTCR export control regime and The Hague Code of Conduct, a voluntary set of transparency- and confidence-building measures. In the case of the Middle East, means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction are part of the mandate of a WMD-free Zone, but discussions of this project have not made much progress so far.
Iran does not have a Continental missile and its missile range is eventually 2,000 kilometers. However, Israel has both a nuclear bomb and missiles that have far more missiles than Iranian missiles, and Saudi Arabia has a new, more advanced, missile program. Regarding this why Iran have no right to have a missile balance? If Iran is asked to limit its missile program, so should countries around Iran. What is your assessment?
Indeed, in the Middle East, several countries have wide-ranging missile capabilities that are the result of threat perceptions often fueled by the others’ arms build-ups. This is why the only effective way of dealing with that issue is a regional framework. With other experts, my organization has made proposals for a series of measures (such as limits on range and payload and ban on transfers) that could be adopted by the key regional states as one of the first steps towards the establishment of a WMD-free zone.
Interview by Javad Heirannia