JCPOA must be persevered at all cost - intl scholars say

Islamabad, Oct 17, IRNA -- Speakers at an international conference in Pakistan strongly believe that Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a very comprehensive deal and must be preserved at all costs.

The people were speaking at a two-day conference on “The Global Non-proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses” organized by the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII).

The participants discussed the impact of the failure of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on regional and global security, global and regional developments and strategic stability in South Asia.

Chairing the session, titled 'Impact of Failure of the JCPOA on Regional and Global Security”, the consultant on nuclear governance matters based in Vienna, Tariq Rauf said that Iran is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as far as the implementation of the JCPOA is concerened.

Ambassador Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Former Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN and the IAEA talked about the aftermath of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the US' withdrawal from the JCPOA.

He said that the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA. He added that this act is undoubtedly in full contravention of the JCPOA, the UNSC Resolution 2231, and also disregards multilateralism.

Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) presented the French perspective on the JCPOA. He said that France was trying to maintain the EU unity on the JCPOA issue and vis-a-vis the US. He said that following the US withdrawal from JCPOA, France has tried to continue dialogue with the US.

He said that the JCPOA is a good deal and Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement is catastrophic.

The speaker added that France wants good ties with Iran.

Robart Eienhorn, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution stressed that all the stakeholders of the JCPOA should engage in more dialogue and negotiations to save the agreement. He noted that sanctions will not have a devastating impact on Iran.

He warned that Iran’s adherence to the JCPOA might become politically unsustainable. He was of the view that Iran and Saudi Arabia raproshma is necessary to bring peace in the Middle East.

Anastasia Shavrova, Research Associate at Center for Energy and Security Studies, Russian Federation said the JCPOA has not failed but is fragile. She noted that despite all the issues the agreement is still surviving.

She said that Iran is complying with the obligations of the JCPOA. She said that Iran has never developed nuclear weapons and this is the stance of Russia.

The analyst said there is lack of trust between the US and Europe after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Ambassador Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein, Egypt's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs talked about the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. He said that regional parties should enter directly into a phase of substantive and procedural preparation for the Middle East Weapon for Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) conference as soon as possible.

Tariq Rauf in his view said that reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is the need of hour. He said that Ban Treaty is facing problems and that cyber vulnerabilities are emerging in nuclear facilities.

During the last session of the conference focusing on Strategic Stability in South Asia, Subrata Ghoshroy, Research Affiliate with the Program in Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discussed the US Nuclear Posture, misconception about calling South Asia a dangerous place and geo-strategic significance of the S-400 system.

Regarding India’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 Air defence system, he said it was Delhi's strategic decision and 'a message for the US that India isn't totally in its pocket.'

SSII's founder and Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen M Mazari talking about strategic stability, said the concept needs to be understood with respect to the prevailing security environment in South Asia.

She said criteria based approach must be applied on Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), adding that Pakistan need to have effective diplomacy on the NSG issue. “We have one destiny and that is peace. So we have to work together and there is a need to have dialogue on these issues,” she stated.

She maintained that Pakistan is facing discrimination in the nuclear field at the international level which was also in the NSG. “How Pakistan can join the treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons in prevailing situation,” she questioned.

President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi during his keynote address at the inaugural session said, “The unresolved Kashmir dispute poses great threat to regional stability.”

He stressed that the United Nations must play its role to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

Rabia Akhter, Head of Department School of Integrated Social Sciences, University of Lahore (UoL) talked about the evolving US Nuclear Posture during the conference. She said that the US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is as aggressive as President Trump himself.

Reiterating the need for collective approach towards non-proliferation regime, Paul Ingram Executive Director, BASIC UK said that the Treaty on Prohibitions of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) can be transformed from a source of disagreement to cooperation if the Nuclear Weapons States view the treaty as an opportunity.

Dr. Shen Dingli provided a Chinese perspective on the NSG issue. He said that China’s stance on the NSG membership remains unchanged and it supports criteria based approach towards the issue.
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