Five years ago, on 14 July 2015, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Germany, Iran, China, Russia, France and the United States, with the participation of the EU, concluded settlement agreements for the Iranian nuclear programme that were unique in their scope and reach.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action driven by the common political will of the countries participating in its development and reinforced by UNSC Resolution 2231 was a major achievement of multilateral diplomacy. It showed the benefits and effectiveness of the decisions made during the talks that prevailed over approaches based on threats, pressure and brute force.
The success of the JCPOA was possible because the parties involved in the talks were able to find a common language and hear and understand each other's concerns and, most importantly, find the keys to resolving one of the most difficult and long-standing conflicts in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation based on international law and generally recognised instruments.
Over a relatively short period of time, the JCPOA made it possible to provide comprehensive answers to the questions that the IAEA had at that time regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, while providing an unprecedented level of transparency.
Today, there’s no state verified by the IAEA more than Iran.
Contrary to the speculations that have been occasionally heard in the West, the JCPOA has never been aimed at calling into question or restricting Tehran’s legal rights to develop peaceful nuclear programmes enshrined in Article IV of the NPT. On the contrary, the agreements paved the way for expanded mutually beneficial cooperation with Iran in the field of nuclear energy, as well as other economic, trade, scientific and technical spheres.
Most importantly, what the opponents and critics of the JCPOA prefer to keep silent about, are the agreements built on an equal footing which rely on a carefully aligned balance of interests and reciprocal commitments. There were no losers among the JCPOA participants. The entire world benefitted from its conclusion.
Today, five years on, we have to admit that the implementation of the JCPOA constantly requires enormous endurance and perseverance from its participants. The root cause of the many difficulties and challenges that arise in the process of implementing the agreements is the unilateral abandoning by the United States of its obligations and numerous gross violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
The maximum pressure policy adopted by Washington, which it decided to use to impose sanctions not only on Iran, but also on the JCPOA, is short-sighted and erroneous. This policy discredits the United States and opposes it to the rest of the world, which is strongly advocating rigorous implementation of the Security Council resolutions and consistent and comprehensive implementation of the JCPOA in accordance with the initially agreed-upon goals and parameters. The state, which is one of the key co-sponsors of a major agreement and the above-mentioned UN Security Council resolution, has been refusing to act on them for more than two years now and is stubbornly preventing others from doing so, undermining respect for it as a responsible agent of international relations capable of concluding and fulfilling international treaties.
The current White House administration should realise that the United States has and will always have obligations to the rest of the world, which it must fulfill. These are the principles of coexistence in a world based on universally recognised norms of international law, rather than the rules that someone is trying to write and rewrite to suit their own needs to the detriment of others.
Failures and challenges in implementing the JCPOA do not diminish its achievements. Its settlement arrangement has not lost its relevance. Like five years ago, the world does not have a more reliable and effective choice when it comes to implementing the agreed-upon decisions of the UN Security Council rather than settling accounts. The chances of the JCPOA returning to a steady operation mode remain intact. Russia will make every effort for this and encourage its partners to work together meaningfully to find ways to de-escalate and protect the JCPOA from the US attacks.
The JCPOA detractors have nothing to offer to replace it. Their agenda is focused on destruction and nothing else. For the sake of their own ambitions and a false sense of exceptionalism, they are prepared to act recklessly, break agreements, escalate military-political tension in the Middle East, provoke a crisis at the UN Security Council and to try to achieve their election goals while doing so. This path leads nowhere. The JCPOA was designed to prevent the implementation of military scenarios and to avert the threat of war that was looming over the Gulf region.
It has no alternative now, either.
We urge our JCPOA partners and other UN members to show political will and defend it. The UN member states have no room for error today.