Delivered by Gerard van Bohemen Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 18 July 2016.

We thank Under-Secretary Feltman for his briefing and the Secretary-General for his report. The Secretary General had a difficult task on a sensitive topic.  In our view, he has presented a balanced report which provides a useful overview of developments since the adoption and implementation of the agreement negotiated between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the EUWe also thank Ambassador Oyarzun for briefing the Council in his capacity as facilitator of Resolution 2231, as well as Ambassador Vale de Almeida, for his briefing on behalf of the Joint Commission

We welcome a key message in the Secretary-General’s report, and reflected in recent reporting by the IAEA: Iran is honouring its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This is vital in building further trust between Iran and the international community.

New Zealand appreciates the efforts of all parties to uphold the spirit of the agreement as well as the letter. It was this spirit of constructive engagement - a success of diplomacy and cooperation over confrontation and mistrust - which enabled agreement in the first place.

As we said when the agreement was endorsed by this Council in Resolution 2231 under our Presidency last July, we hope that Iran will seize this opportunity to reset its relationships with the international community and play a more constructive role in its region.

This is urgently needed. At a time of increasing instability and conflict, the need for cooperative regional engagement could not be more critical.  

In this regard, reports of conventional arms transfers to Yemen are of particular concern. Such transfers are unhelpful to Yemen’s stability, and further undermine the efforts being made by this Council and others to secure peace for Yemen.

Provocative actions, such as the Iranian launch of ballistic missiles in March also risk further inflaming regional tensions.  While we recognise Iran’s right to provide for its self-defence, its leaders cannot pretend that the intemperate, indeed ridiculous actions of the Revolutionary Guards are not their responsibility.

The Secretary-General’s regular reporting to the Council is a vital tool for keeping the process on track, and we look forward to the Council receiving this further analysis of how the resolution is tracking.

Mr. President, for the JCPOA to be sustainable, all sides must live up to their commitments.  Iran must act responsibly. It also has the right to the full benefits of the agreement, including economic benefits.

The responsibility for achieving this is a shared one, not just for the parties who negotiated the JCPOA but for the international community whose support was represented in the resolution adopted by this Council.   For its part the New Zealand Government is engaging with our banking sector and others to strengthen our commercial ties with Iran. Reciprocal visits by New Zealand and Iranian Foreign Ministers have reinforced progress in our bilateral relationship. We look forward to building on this progress in the year ahead.

It has taken longer than we all expected for the private sector to reengage with Iran.  The complex terms of the JCPOA have been difficult to navigate, particularly for those who were not involved in the negotiations.

We appreciate the efforts taken by the parties to share information and clarify expectations with the private sector, and we encourage this to continue. We also appreciate outreach efforts under the 2231 format so that members can better understand and fulfil their own obligations.

Mr. President, we all have an interest in the long-term viability of the agreement and in ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. We recognise that the international community must maintain its vigilance to ensure that this historic agreement is fully and properly implemented. We must now also capitalise fully  on the opportunity to promote trust and cooperation between Iran and the international community.

I thank you.