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Iran nuclear deal crucial for Gulf security, UN chief says

October 21, 2020 at 12:21 pm

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 1 August 2019 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stressed the importance of an Iranian nuclear deal for the maintenance of security in the Gulf.

Speaking in a video session of the UN Security Council’s debate on the Gulf’s situation yesterday, which was initiated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Guterres stated that “In relation to regional stability, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation is critical. Since the beginning.”

He expressed his support for the Iranian nuclear deal struck between Iran and the US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia back in 2015. “I have always seen the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – or JCPOA – as an important instrument against nuclear proliferation and for regional security,” said Guterres.

The JCPOA, in which Iran agreed to heavily limit and reduce its stockpiles of enriched uranium and gas centrifuges in return for the West’s lifting of sanctions off the country, has come under increased pressure in recent years after the US administration of President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.

READ: Is the US enriching Iran’s nuclear program?

The other signatories of the deal, however, as well as the UN, have largely stuck to the deal and reaffirmed their commitment to it as an essential tool for security and stability in the region. Guterres called for dialogue and unity, encouraging the strengthening of the deal and the keeping of its terms.

“Let us work to create a climate of trust and improve the prospects for regional dialogue. Let us move beyond destructive rivalries and recognise what unites us. Let us keep the interests of the region’s people front and centre – their aspirations for freedoms, opportunities, better standards of life and peace. This, above all, should compel us to intensify our collective efforts,” he stressed.

Opponents of the nuclear deal have based their opposition to it on the claim that Iran is likely to use its terms to gradually and subtly build up its nuclear capabilities while enjoying the financial aid and relief from sanctions over the 15 years that the deal agreed upon.

Iran has consistently denied those accusations, previously insisting that it will continue to stick to the terms agreed upon until last year, when it decided to increase its enriched uranium and to develop centrifuges in retaliation to the deal’s fallout.

Despite Iran’s continuation of its nuclear programme, however, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has assured this month that Iran does not possess enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

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