Last week, Estonia disagreed with the United States on the subject of Iran in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs have justified the decision with a wish to maintain Iran's nuclear deal.
On Friday, the UNSC rejected a U.S.-proposed resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which expires in October. Along with other European countries, Estonia abstained in the 15-member council on the draft resolution.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is important that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is maintained. But Iran must also stick to its commitments to not develop nuclear weapons.
"At present, the nuclear agreement is the only way to give the international community the necessary reassurance about Iran's nuclear program," the spokesperson said.
"Based on the above considerations, Estonia, together with other EU member states and the United Kingdom, decided to abstain. We previously discussed the issue thoroughly with EU member states, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as other members of the Security Council."
The spokesperson said it is now important to continue a constructive discussion with the United States on measures to restrict the arms trade.
Estonia's explanatory note is published in full further down the page.
Only the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the U.S.'s resolution, with China and Russia voting against it.
Nine countries, including permanent members France and the United Kingdom, as well as Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Indonesia, Niger, South Africa, Tunisia, Vietnam and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, abstained from the Security Council.
Iran is subject to the UN Security Council Resolution 2015. 2231 recognizing the JCPOA between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations, the European Union and Germany.
With the agreement, Iran has committed to reducing its nuclear activities on the condition sanctions are eased. The arms embargo will expire after five years, on October 18, 2020, if the terms of the nuclear agreement are met.
However, on June 11, UN Secretary-General Guterres published a report which stated ships detained by the United States in November 2019 and February 2020 were supplying weapons of Iranian origin similar to or identical to those used in attacks on Saudi oil facilities and airports.
The President of the United States Donald Trump announced his departure from the Iranian nuclear deal in May 2018.
Estonia's explanatory note on the subject is published below in full:
"Iran's destabilising and malicious activities in the Middle East have been reckless, irresponsible and warrant the full attention of the Security Council. The United States has shone a light on an important issue to be resolved.
"The Secretary-General's ninth report on the implementation of SC resolution 2231 (2015) provides an assessment that points to Iran's several violations of the provisions on arms transfers. We strongly condemn the attacks against Aramco oil facilities and Abha International Airport, which were conducted with Iranian origin weaponry.
"Estonia, therefore, fully shares the concerns regarding the planned lifting of the conventional arms embargo in October 2020 as set out in resolution 2231. Iran's actions do not support this. We agree with the United States and with our European partners that the expiry of the arms embargo would have potentially serious consequences for the region and its security. These concerns need to be taken seriously and we support the United States' efforts to address them.
"However, there is another threat in play that emanates from Iran. A threat that was considerably reduced by the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the adoption of the resolution 2231 endorsing the agreement. It has been Estonia's consistent position that the JCPOA plays a key role in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and is an important pillar of regional and international security. At the moment, the agreement remains the best tool available to provide the international community with the necessary assurances on Iran's nuclear program. We do not want to see it collapse and are wary of attempts that might be incompatible with the aim to preserve the JCPOA.
"This is the reason Estonia decided to abstain on the draft resolution proposed by the United States.
"We call on all key stakeholders to explore together with the United States constructive options to address the implications of the lifting of the arms restrictions to regional security and stability."
Editor: Helen Wright