Review of the Fourth Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 and Its Relation to Recent US Actions against Iran
The fourth Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Resolution 2231 was issued on December 8, 2017. This report comprises the following sections: – Implementation of Nuclear-Related Provisions – Implementation of Ballistic Missile-Related Provisions – Implementation of Arms-Related Provisions – Implementation of Asset Freeze Provisions – Implementation of the Travel Ban Provisions of Individuals Listed in Resolution 2231
Implementation of Nuclear-Related Provisions
In this section, the Secretary-General has cited reports of Iran’s attempts to procure certain dual-use goods from Germany, without obtaining the necessary permission from the Security Council. According to a report by the UN Secretariat, a delegation from the United Nations Secretariat was deployed to Berlin in November 2017, and after numerous meetings with the German government, German security agencies stated that no action had been taken by Iran on its territory in violation of Paragraph 2, Annex B to Resolution 2231. Implementation of Ballistic Missile-Related Provisions In this section, the Secretary-General refers to the joint letter sent to him on August 2, 2017, by five countries consisting of the United States, England, France, Germany and Northern Ireland. In this letter, these five countries have underscored that the launch of the Simorgh Space Vehicle is in violation of Paragraph 3 of Annex B to Resolution 2231. The Secretary-General states that these five countries expressed their interpretation of Paragraph 3 of Annex B to Resolution 2231 as follows: “The purpose of this paragraph includes all missiles that fall in Category 1 Systems of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). In fact, every missile capable of delivering at least a 500 KGs payload to a range of at least 300 KMs is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and missile tests that have such features are in violation of Resolution 2231”. Interestingly, such an argument was repeated in the previous report by the Secretary-General, and he does not endorse or reject this argument, but mentioning it again in the new report could be alarming. In response to such an argument, Russia sent a letter to the Secretary-General two weeks later on August 16 stating, “There is no legal prohibition in Resolution 2231 in this regard, and that the Council clearly uses the lowest level of authority by using the word “calls upon”, which is used for the purpose of advising and is by all means not a prohibition… In addition, the Security Council refers to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons and Iran has not violated its obligations. Therefore, cooperation with Iran in the field of ballistic missiles has not yet been prohibited, and Russia reserves the right to cooperate with Iran in such fields as it is not prohibited by the Security Council”. It should be noted that Iran’s Representative to the United Nations reacted two weeks later on August 23rd and similar to the statements made by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, it stated: “The Islamic Republic has stated that the launch of the Simorgh Space Vehicle has been consistent with the continuation of the scientific and technological activities of the country, and Iran is determined to continue to exercise this right for its socioeconomic interests … In addition, The MTCR Regime is not an internationally agreed definition, and also technically speaking, satellite launch vehicles are different from ballistic missiles, and this issue is not related to Resolution 2231”. The Secretary-General then goes on to say that the issue of Simorgh Space Vehicle was discussed in the Security Council so that a decision could be made on the possible violation of Resolution 2231 by Iran, which, given that there was no consensus among the members of the Security Council, it was inconclusive. In addition, the Secretary-General refers to the letter from the Zionist Representative to the United Nations to the Security Council in which Israel considers the Qiam Ballistic Missile test in November 2016, as well as the launch of a missile on Syria in June 2017 in violation of Resolution 2231 and has indicated that these missiles should be considered as belonging to the first category of MTCR Regime. In addition to Israel, the joint statement by the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom on July 28, 2017 referred to the issue of Iran’s missile attack on Syria, and the same arguments were included in it. In the remainder of this section of the report, the Secretary-General refers to Iran’s obligations under Paragraph 4, Annex B to Resolution 2231. He refers to the Saudi ambassador’s letter to the president of the Security Council on November 7th in which Saudi Arabia claimed that investigation of the missiles launched at Saudi Arabia by Yemen on July 22 and November 4, revealed Iran’s role in the manufacture of the missiles. In addition, in November and October 2017, Saudi Arabia invited the United Nations Secretariat to visit the country to investigate the debris of Yemeni missiles. The Secretariat reached the conclusion that the rockets shot were similar to Scud Missile Family. However, some changes had been made to the location of its fuel tank. In addition, the Secretariat reported that there was the logo of Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group on the missile casting, which is listed on the sanctions list of Resolution 2231. The Secretary-General then stated that a full report of the Secretariat’s investigation would be published later. Implementation of Arms-Related Provisions In this section, the Secretary-General refers to the obligations set out in Paragraph 5 of Annex B to Resolution 2231. He refers to the seizure of a shipment of lightweight, medium weight and heavyweight Iranian-made arms by the United States in the Sea of Oman in June 2017. It then points out that the Secretariat visited this shipment and confirmed its contents. It goes on to state that during the visit by the Secretariat to the area, he visited a military boat full of explosives and was intended to be used against Saudi Arabia and its allies. According to Saudi officials, the boat belonged to the United Arab Emirates, but was assembled by Yemenis. Upon inspection, the Secretariat concluded that the wires used on this boat were made in Iran, its guidance system was in both Persian and English, and other equipment added to it was also made in Iran. The secretary general then said that a full report of the secretariat would be presented to the Security Council later.
In this visit, the Secretariat visited the debris of the unmanned aerial vehicles in Saudi Arabia, which, according to the Saudi authorities, belonged to the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ababil family. The Secretariat concluded that these unmanned aerial vehicles were very similar to the ones referred to in the UAE’s ambassador’s letter.
Implementation of Asset Freeze Provisions
In this section, the Secretary-General refers to the obligations under Paragraph 6 (Subparagraphs (C) and (D)), Annex B to Resolution 2231. In this report, the Secretary General states that the Defense Industries Organization, presently on the sanctions list of 2231, has once again participated in an international defense exhibition, this time in Russia. The secretariat raised the issue with the Russian representative to the United Nations. However, the Russian representative responded that the Iran’s participation at the Russian exhibition was not in violation of Resolution 2231, and that all the parts and equipment that the defense industry exhibited were mock-ups and were returned to Iran after the exhibition. In addition, there were no financial transactions carried out.
Implementation of the Travel Ban Provisions of Individuals Listed in Resolution 2231
In this part of the report, the Secretary-General refers to the provisions under Paragraph 6 (Subparagraph e) of Annex B to Resolution 2231, which prohibits the travel of persons listed on 2231 to foreign countries. In previous reports, the Secretary-General had expressed concern over Major General Soleimani’s travels, too. The report also cites his numerous trips to Iraq and Syria. The United Nations Secretariat raised this issue with the permanent missions of Syria and Iraq to the UN and asked them not to allow Major General Soleimani to enter their country.
US Recent Actions against Iran, Efforts to Bring the Europe on Board
Contrary to what seems to be the case, the United States and the Trump Administration are pursuing a clear strategy toward Iran, and with the accompaniment of their partners, they are trying to exert more pressure on Iran. The Trump Administration has managed to convince the European Union that the JCPOA, Iran’s regional influence, its missile program,… are completely distinct issues. Indeed, the Trump Administration has been able to make a distinction between the issues about Iran.
What the United States has gathered so far is that the European Union, China and Russia want to preserve the JCPOA and the US cannot afford putting it aside. Therefore, it intends to make a distinction between the issues in order to bring the European Union on board. They consider Iran’s regional presence and missile activities as completely distinct issues and have called on the European Union to accompany the United States to counter these threats.
It is possible to see the same thing in Mogherini’s recent visit to Washington. On the one hand, she supported preservation of the JCPOA and stated that the US is accompanying the European Union on this issue. On the other hand, she expressed concern over Iran’s missile program and its presence in the region. In her earlier visit to Washington, she had adopted the same position and she even used the phrase “support for terrorism”. It was the first time that a European official used this term against Iran at this level.
In this regard, it seems that America has succeeded in separating these issues and bringing Europe on board. Even in recent US sanctions against Iran, it can be seen that senior officials of the Senate and the House of Representatives have adopted positions, indicating that new sanctions would not in any way contradict US commitments. In fact, contrary to what is said, that Trump will be alone in confronting Iran, this is by no means the case. The United States has managed to accomplish things that were unprecedented even in Obama’s office. They have convinced Europe to recognize the political branch of Hizbullah as a terrorist organization. In addition, many of the companies affiliated to the Hizbullah were closed down in Germany and the UK.
A Tangible Change in Course of Action and Attempts for Multilateralism
Recently, a proposal was passed in the House of Representatives (423 voted Yes, 2 voted No) and was sent to the Senate for review. It is called “Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act”, and differs greatly from other sanctions acts after the JCPOA. The text is similar to the text of Security Council Resolution 2231, and tries to bring US partners on board. There are several points in this act that will be touched upon in the following sections.
- In some respects, this act is similar to the CISADA sanctions, because in this act, too, the basis for the sanctions was the 1929 Resolution by the Security Council. Following signing CISADA on July 1, 2010, Obama stated that the legal justification for the new sanctions was Resolution 1929, after which the European Union acted by resorting to the same justification on July 27, 2010, imposing the most severe sanctions against Iran. The most important of these was the decision 413 and in countering Iran, it was somewhat ahead of the United States.
- Another point about this act that distinguishes it from other sanctions regimes is the reference to MTCR regime as a criterion for the interpretation of Paragraph 3 of Annex B to Resolution 2231. In fact, from now on, any ballistic missile that Iran tests and has a range above 300 KMs and exceeds 300 kilograms would be in violation of Resolution 2231, and the United States will impose its secondary sanctions on Iran.
- Of course, the United States will not go it alone in this path and its European partners will accompany it. Earlier, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and France had expressed their interpretation of Paragraph 3 of Annex B to Resolution 2231 twice, on February 7, 2017 and on August 2, 2017, and had announced the MTCR regime as the criterion for their interpretation. Therefore, the expectation is that the European Union will cooperate with the United States in this regard.
- Another point to be noted is that the Secretary-General’s reports on the implementation of Resolution 2231 would also be a confirmation of the sanctions act. This is because, in the two recent reports, apart from nuclear provisions, the Secretary-General does not endorse other provisions on the part of Iran, and in the case of missiles, weapons and travel bans, in a different language and by referring to the letters and reports received from Europe, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, he has accused Iran of violating Resolution 2231. This same issue may facilitate US’s and Europe’s pressuring Iran.
- Another point of interest in this act is requiring the President of the United States to submit a detailed report to the Congress about any missile test in Iran. Indeed, the United States will try to prove in any possible way that Iran has violated Resolution 2231 and, if proven, Europe will also be very likely to come on board in imposing secondary sanctions against Iran, as it did in 2010.
As indicated in the fourth report by the Secretary-General on the implementation of Resolution 2231, the only section in which, in the words of the Secretary-General, Iran has complied with its commitments, is the nuclear-related issues. In other sections, the issues referred to in the Secretary-General’s report are alarming. In this report, like the previous report, the Secretary-General refers to reports and letters from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Turkey, Ukraine, the Zionist regime, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and implies that Iran has violated various sections of Resolution 2231. On the other hand, this indicates a consensus against Iran. In addition, six days after the publication of the Fourth Report of the Secretary-General, on December 14, 2017, the US Congress, led by 25 representatives and senators, released a letter addressed to the US Secretary of State, the US Treasure Secretary and the CIA chief. The letter addressed a number of issues and requested the above-mentioned institutions to carry out intelligence activities in order to ensure Iran’s compliance with its obligations:
- Investigating the transfer of arms from/to Iran 2. Investigating the installation of new centrifuges, which according to the Congress, is considered to be a violation of the JCPOA 3. Inspection of IRGC-controlled sites. 4. Iran’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles. In fact, the US Congress refers to the same issues that the Secretary-General’s recent report accuses Iran of.
In his four reports on the implementation of the JCPOA, the Secretary-General has utilized ambiguous language, and has, in various sections, cast doubts on Iran’s compliance with its obligations under Resolution 2231, but does not explicitly take a position. It seems that the tone of the Secretary General, the issues discussed in these four reports, and the fact that in the fourth report, compared with the first report, the language used causes more concern, would be a justification for US actions, and this does not seem to be a positive trend. The clear reference to the need for carrying out covert intelligence activities in Iran in that letter can also be interpreted in this same light.
In order to prove its independence in foreign policy, the European Union does not intend to fully accompany the US in imposing sanctions against Iran. Rather, the Union intends to impose partial, rather than, comprehensive sanctions. This is because, on the one hand, it seeks to maintain its trade relations with Iran and, on the other, it is struggling to stand against the United States and prove its independence. In addition, it seeks to strengthen a political process in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Of course, this does not mean that the European Union will not impose any new sanction, because, as mentioned above, after the JCPOA, this union has even been a forerunner in imposing sanctions on Iran. The list published on June 23, 2017 (three days after the Secretary-General’s third report on the implementation of Resolution 2231) and the sanctions imposed on institutions and individuals such as Fereydoun Abbasi and Qasem Soleimani, due to their alleged participation in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, also confirm this. Given the increasing pressures on Iran and the oral and relative formation of a consensus against Iran’s missile program and regional influence, the United States has also changed its approach and in its recent acts, uses language consistent with Resolution 2231. It is almost certain that three European countries (namely, Germany, Britain and France) as well as the countries in the region (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Zionist regime, etc.) will accompany the US in its future plans against Iran in the field of its missile program and regional influence, especially given the recent developments in these countries.
 All States may participate in and permit the following activities provided that approval is provided in advance, on a case-by-case basis, by the security council:
-Any items that could contribute to reprocessing or enrichment-related or heavy-water related activities inconsistent with the JCPOA
-The provision to Iran of any technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering or other services, and transfer of financial resources or services, related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology
-acquisition by Iran of an interest in a commercial activity involving uranium mining or production or use of nuclear materials and technology.
 Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusi
 All States may participate in and permit the activities described below provided that the Security Council decides in advance on a case-by-case basis to permit such activity:
– all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems; and
– the provision to Iran of any technology or technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering or other services, and the transfer of financial resources or services, or Iran’s acquisition of an interest in any commercial activity in another State, related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of the items, materials, equipment, goods and technology related to the delivery of nuclear weapons.
-This paragraph shall apply until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day.
 All States may participate in and permit, provided that the Security Council decides in advance on a case-by-case basis to approve: the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly any battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, or related materiel, including spare parts, and the provision to Iran.
This paragraph shall apply until the date five years after the JCPOA Adoption.
 All States are to: (C) For eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day continue to freeze the funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories at the date of adoption of the JCPOA, and freeze the funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories at any time thereafter, that are owned or controlled by the individuals and entities that were specified on the list as of the date of adoption of the new resolution.
(D) For eight years from the JCPOA Adoption Day ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of designated individuals or entities.
 Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP