Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Zhang Jun on the Security Council Draft Resolution Presented by the US on the Extension of Arms Embargo on Iran
14 August 2020
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was concluded in Vienna in July 2015 after long and arduous efforts by all relevant parties. As an outcome of collective wisdom and multilateral diplomacy, the JCPOA was endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2231, and has the force of international law. Over the past five years, the JCPOA has become a key element of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, a positive factor in maintaining regional and global peace and stability, and a good practice of resolving regional issues through multilateralism.
It is regrettable that the US unilaterally announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 and gradually reimposed illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran. The US has been advancing the so-called “maximum pressure” policy, trying all means to obstruct the implementation of the JCPOA by other parties, even asking the Security Council to extend conventional arms embargo on Iran. These acts violate UNSCR 2231, further escalate tensions, and are widely opposed by the international community.
China believes that all provisions of UNSCR 2231, including the arrangements on conventional arms transfers to and from Iran, should be faithfully implemented. China has made clear many times that the US draft resolution is about reimposing sanctions on Iran; it is a continuation of the “maximum pressure” policy which is inconsistent with the spirit of the JCPOA and the provisions of UNSCR 2231. The US draft has no legal ground and common sense. The overwhelming majority of the Security Council members have expressed reservations about the draft. However, the US has ignored those concerns and insisted on asking the Security Council to take action. Under such circumstances, China has voted against the draft resolution with a view to safeguarding the authority of the Security Council, the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and regional peace and stability.
Recently, the US has repeatedly claimed that it will invoke the snapback mechanism. Having withdrawn from the JCPOA, the US is no longer a JCPOA participant and therefore ineligible to demand the Security Council invoke a snapback. The overwhelming majority of the Security Council members believe that the US attempt has no legal basis. Should the US insist regardless of international opinion, it is doomed to fail like today.
The voting result once again shows that unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail. Any attempt to place one’s own interest above the common interest of the international community is a dead end. In recent years, in pursuing unilateralism and “America first”, the US has abandoned its international obligations, and withdrawn from multilateral agreements and international organizations, shattering its own credibility. As COVID-19 sweeps the world, the US turns a blind eye to the impact of the pandemic on Iran and the appeal by the UN Secretary-General and many countries, and refuses to lift its unilateral sanctions on Iran, making things worse for the Iranian people. We urge the US to abandon unilateralism, and stop unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. It should adopt a reasonable and realistic attitude, return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and the UNSC resolution, and work together with relevant parties to maintain the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East.
China has repeatedly emphasized that diplomatic dialogue and consultation is the only right way forward. Maintaining and implementing the JCPOA is of vital importance. We should facilitate dialogue and consultation among relevant parties through established channels including the Joint Commission, and a new regional cooperation mechanism, to properly address differences among regional countries. China will continue to work with the international community to jointly uphold the JCPOA and the Security Council resolution. China will always be on the side of international fairness and justice, world peace and stability, and multilateralism, and work hard for the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.