|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5500th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS IRAN SUSPEND URANIUM ENRICHMENT BY 31 AUGUST,
OR FACE POSSIBLE ECONOMIC, DIPLOMATIC SANCTIONS
Resolution 1696 (2006) Adopted by Vote of 14 - 1 ( Qatar),
Iran Says Peaceful Programme No Threat, Council’s Consideration Unwarranted
The Security Council, seriously concerned that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was still unable to provide assurances about Iran’s undeclared nuclear material and activities after more than three years, today demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and gave it one month to do so or face the possibility of economic and diplomatic sanctions to give effect to its decision.
Adopting resolution 1696 (2006), under Chapter VII, by a vote of 14 in favour to 1 against (Qatar), the Council expressed its conviction that such suspension, as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the IAEA Board of Governor’s requirements, would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guaranteed Iran’s nuclear programme was for exclusively peaceful purposes.
The 15-member body called on Iran to without further delay take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which it said were essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of the nuclear programme and resolve outstanding questions. It, meanwhile, underlined the international community’s willingness to work positively for such a solution and encouraged Iran to reengage with the international community and IAEA.
The Council endorsed the proposals of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union’s High Representative, for a long-term comprehensive arrangement, which would allow for the development of relations with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
Speaking after the adoption of the text, Qatar’s representative said he had not approved of proceeding with the vote when his region was “inflamed”. Proceeding to action at the present critical time neither served regional security nor Council unity. There was no harm in waiting for a few days to exhaust all possible means to identify Iran’s real intentions and the degree of its readiness to cooperate, especially since it had not rejected the package presented to it (by the six countries); it had only asked for some time to reply. The Council had certainly waited longer to act on questions of greater urgency. Qatar was totally committed to ensuring nuclear non-proliferation and ridding the Middle East of those weapons, but failure to take into account the above mentioned concerns, as well as the prevailing conditions in his region, was not helpful, he said.
The United States speaker said that, sadly, Iran had defied the international community by continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and that demanded a strong response from the Council. The pursuit of nuclear weapons was a direct threat to international peace and security, and demanded a clear statement by the Council in the form of a tough resolution. It sent an unambiguous message to Iran, namely to take the steps set out by the IAEA Board of Governors, including full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Iran should understand that the United States and others would ensure that financial transactions associated with proliferation activities would be impeded. The text was the first Council resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear programme, reflecting the gravity of the situation and the Council’s determination.
Iran’s representative asserted that its peaceful nuclear programme posed no threat to international peace and security, and, therefore, dealing with the issue in the Security Council was unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility. Far from reflecting the international community’s concerns, the sponsors’ approach flouted the stated position of the overwhelming majority of Member States. Today’s action by the Council, which was the culmination of efforts aimed at making the suspension of uranium enrichment mandatory, violated international law, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and IAEA resolutions. It also ran counter to the views of the majority of United Nations Member States, which the Council was obliged to represent. The sole reason for pushing the Council to take action was that Iran had decided, after over two years of negotiations, to resume the exercise of its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, by partially reopening its fully safeguarded facilities and ending a voluntary suspension.
Iran’s right to enrich uranium was recognized under the NPT, he said. And, upholding the right of State parties to international regimes was as essential as ensuring respect for their obligations. Those regimes, including the NPT, were sustained by a balance between rights and obligations. Threats would not sustain the NPT or other international regimes, but ensuring that members could draw rightful benefits from membership, and that non-members were not rewarded for their intransigence, did. Yet, today, the world was witnessing a dangerous trend. While members of the NPT were denied their rights and punished, those who defied the NPT, particularly the perpetrators of the current carnage in Lebanon and Palestine, were rewarded by generous nuclear cooperation agreements. “This is one awkward way to safeguard the NPT or ensure its universality”, he said.
The meeting began at 10:16 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the item entitled “Non-proliferation”.
The Council had before it a draft resolution (document S/2006/589) sponsored by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling the Statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March 2006,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,
“Noting with serious concern the many reports of the IAEA Director General and resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors related to Iran’s nuclear programme, reported to it by the IAEA Director General, including IAEA Board Resolution GOV/2006/14,
“Noting with serious concern that the IAEA Director General’s report of 27 February 2006 (GOV/2006/15) lists a number of outstanding issues and concerns on Iran’s nuclear programme, including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension, and that the IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,
“Noting with serious concern the IAEA Director General’s report of 28 April 2006 (GOV/2006/27) and its findings, including that, after more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern, and that the IAEA is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,
“Noting with serious concern that, as confirmed by the IAEA Director General’s report of 8 June 2006 (GOV/2006/38) Iran has not taken the steps required of it by the IAEA Board of Governors, reiterated by the Council in its statement of 29 March and which are essential to build confidence, and in particular Iran’s decision to resume enrichment-related activities, including research and development, its recent expansion of and announcements about such activities, and its continued suspension of co-operation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol,
“Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and noting that such a solution would benefit nuclear non-proliferation elsewhere,
“Welcoming the statement by the Foreign Minister of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy, on behalf of the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, in Paris on 12 July 2006 (S/2006/573),
“Concerned by the proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme, mindful of its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and being determined to prevent an aggravation of the situation,
“Acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to make mandatory the suspension required by the IAEA,
“1. Calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions,
“2. Demands, in this context, that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA,
“3. Expresses the conviction that such suspension as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the requirements set out by the IAEA Board of Governors, would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran’s nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes, underlines the willingness of the international community to work positively for such a solution, encourages Iran, in conforming to the above provisions, to re-engage with the international community and with the IAEA, and stresses that such engagement will be beneficial to Iran,
“4. Endorses, in this regard, the proposals of China, France, Germany, theRussian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union’s High Representative, for a long-term comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme (S/2006/521),
“5. Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programmes,
“6. Expresses its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA process, strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors, commends and encourages the Director General of the IAEA and its Secretariat for their ongoing professional and impartial efforts to resolve all remaining outstanding issues in Iran within the framework of the Agency, underlines the necessity of the IAEA continuing its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, and calls upon Iran to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations,
“7. Requests by 31 August a report from the Director General of the IAEA primarily on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in this resolution, as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board and with the above provisions of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration,
“8. Expresses its intention, in the event that Iran has not by that date complied with this resolution, then to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with this resolution and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary,
“9. Confirms that such additional measures will not be necessary in the event that Iran complies with this resolution,
“10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Action on Text
The Council adopted the text as resolution 1696 (2006), by a vote of 14 in favour to 1 against ( Qatar).
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said that, for more than two decades, his region had been surrounded by fires. And, no sooner had one died down, than another broke out. Troubles and sectarian tendencies made those fires more intense. Ever since the question of Iran’s nuclear programme was brought before the Security Council, he had repeatedly underscored the importance of a political solution to the problem, and affording diplomacy enough time to guarantee the achievement of a peaceful solution. Such a solution could be attained, if all the parties concerned showed flexibility, wisdom and a sense of responsibility. He appreciated the bold efforts undertaken by the six States in seeking a peaceful solution by offering Iran an integrated package; that was a bold and praiseworthy step. Iran had also been called upon to seriously address the international community’s concerns about the nature of its nuclear programme and guarantee its exclusively peaceful uses.
He said that was, doubtless, a universal demand. He did not, however, approve of proceeding with the draft resolution when his region was “inflamed”. There was no harm in waiting for a few days to exhaust all possible means and identifying Iran’s real intentions and the degree of its readiness to cooperate, especially since it had not rejected the package presented to it, but had only asked for some time to present its reply. That had prompted his delegation to explicitly ask the Council members to grant that request. The Council had been more patient and waited longer to act on questions of greater urgency. Qatar was fully committed to the Council’s unity, especially regarding sensitive questions. Proceeding with the draft resolution at today’s critical time, however, neither served regional security nor the Council’s unity. On the contrary, that would intensify the conflagration in the region, like it or not. Separated from the nuclear reactors concerned by no more than 200 kilometres, Qatar was totally committed to ensuring nuclear non-proliferation and ridding the Middle East of those weapons. But, failure to take into account his point of view and the above mentioned concerns, as well as the prevailing conditions in his region, would not help achieve Council unity.
JOHN BOLTON ( United States) said four months had passed since the Council had called on Iran to suspend its nuclear programme. Two months had passed since the EU-3 ( France, Germany, United Kingdom) + 3( China, Russian Federation, United States) had made its generous offer. That diplomatic effort had been preceded by more than three years of Iranian non-compliance with Non-Proliferation Treaty and its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement. Sadly, Iran had defied the international community by continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the continued defiance of its leadership demanded a strong response from the Council. He was pleased that the Council had taken clear and firm action in passing the resolution. The pursuit of nuclear weapons constituted a direct threat to international peace and security, and demanded a clear statement by the Council in the form of a tough resolution. It sent an unambiguous message to Iran, namely to take the steps set out by the IAEA Board of Governors, including full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and suspend construction of its heavy-water reactor.
Iran should understand that the United States and others would ensure that financial transactions associated with proliferation activities would be impeded, he said. He expected Iran -- and all other Member States -- to immediately act in accordance with the resolution. It was the first Security Council resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear programme, reflecting the gravity of the situation and the Council’s determination. He hoped the resolution would demonstrate to Iran that the best way to end its international isolation was to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. He hoped Iran would make the strategic decision that pursuit of weapons of mass destruction made it less, and not more, secure. Members needed to be prepared, however, that Iran might chose a different path. That was why the United States expressed its intention to adopt measures under Article 41 of the Charter, if Iran did not comply with the resolution.
EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom) said that Iran’s nuclear activities and its history of concealment had raised pressing questions about whether that country’s programme was as it claimed –- solely for peaceful purposes. He was deeply concerned over Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with IAEA. After more than three years, the Agency was still unable to conclude that there was no undeclared nuclear material or related activities in Iran, including activities with a possible nuclear military dimension; that remained unanswered. The international community had shown great patience and given Iran many opportunities to show that it had no intentions to create nuclear weapons, but, unfortunately, Iran had not taken the necessary steps to build confidence.
Nevertheless, he said, his country remained committed to working towards a negotiated solution. On 6 June, Javier Solana had presented Iran with a new set of far-reaching and imaginative proposals for a comprehensive agreement, offering a way forward, one that would give Iran everything it needed to achieve its stated ambition of developing a modern civil nuclear-power industry. That included, among other things, support for building light-water power reactors, as well as legally binding assurances relating to the supply of nuclear power material, for which it would not have to depend on a single foreign supplier. The proposals would also offer Iran, among other benefits, significant trade benefits, including with the European Union. When Mr. Solana had presented the proposal, he had made it clear that it was essential for Iran to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, namely, full suspension of all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency.
If Iran suspended enrichment, the United Kingdom would be prepared to suspend further activity in the Security Council, he said. Continuation of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, would allow Iran to develop know-how to produce fissile material, which could be used for the production of nuclear weapons. The proposal had suggested a procedure to review the moratorium once confidence in Iran’s intention had been restored. He was deeply disappointed that Iran had given no indication that it was ready to seriously engage in that proposal or take the necessary steps signalling its readiness to begin. A full suspension was required to help build confidence and create the atmosphere of trust necessary for negotiations. Those talks could not succeed if Iran continued the activities, which were a main source of international concern.
A Security Council resolution, which made mandatory the IAEA required suspension, was significant. Should Iran refuse to comply, he would work towards the adoption of measures under the Charter’s Article 41. Should it implement the decision of the IAEA and the Council, and enter into negotiations, he would be ready to hold back from further action in the Council. He reaffirmed that the proposal conveyed to Iran by the six countries on 6 June remained valid. The choice was now Iran’s. He urged and encouraged it to implement the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the resolution expressed the need for Iran to establish full cooperation with IAEA, to clarify outstanding questions and for restoring confidence in its nuclear programme. The main purpose of the text was to support IAEA’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear problem. The Agency should continue to play a central role in resolving non-proliferation issues in the context of Iran’s nuclear programme. He hoped that, with the Council’s support, it would be easier for IAEA to do that job. By acting under Article 40 of the Charter, the Council had rendered mandatory suspension of all uranium-enrichment activities. If Iran did not comply, members had expressed the intention to take appropriate action under Article 41. It was crucial to note that, it followed from the resolution, any additional measures that could be required to implement the resolution ruled out the use of military force.
He said the resolution should help to clarify outstanding issues and restore trust in its nuclear programme. This measure should be viewed as an interim measure, for the period necessary for resolving the issue. If Iran complied with the resolution, members would be prepared to refrain from any further action. If negotiations yielded a positive solution to the problem, no additional steps against Iran would be taken in the Council. The resolution also established a provision for Tehran’s broad cooperation to meet Iran’s energy requirements. It also reaffirmed the proposals transmitted to Iran on 6 June. His delegation hoped that Tehran would seriously view the contents of the resolution and would take the necessary steps to redress the situation.
ZIU ZHENMIN ( China) said, since the beginning of the year, the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme had attracted more and more attention. IAEA had conveyed to the Council a number of reports and resolutions related to the issue. China had all along indicated that the purpose for the Council’s review of the issue was to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, strengthen IAEA’s authority and role, reinforce the endeavour of the Agency’s Director General to clarify outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, promote diplomatic efforts and commit to finding an appropriate solution to the issue through political and diplomatic means.
For the same purpose, the Council had issued a presidential statement on 29 March and had just adopted a resolution, he said. Regrettably, the Iranian side had yet to respond positively to the requests of the IAEA Board of Governors and the Council’s calls. The resolution explicitly demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. It expressed the intention, in the event that Iran failed to comply with the resolution, that the Council shall adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of the Charter to persuade Iran to comply with the resolution and IAEA’s requirements. On the other hand, in the event that Iran fulfils the above obligations and return to the negotiating table, it would not be necessary for the Council to adopt additional measures.
He said the resolution had stressed in many paragraphs the importance of finding a negotiated solution through political and diplomatic efforts. It had underlined the irreplaceable key role of IAEA in handling the issue. It had endorsed the “package proposals” put forward by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States in early June, and emphasized that the proposals were important efforts for a comprehensive arrangement, which would allow for the development of bilateral relations and cooperation based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
A belated appropriate solution to the Iran’s nuclear issue was due to lack of trust among the main parties involved, he said. Whether now or in the future, the Council could not handle the issue single-handedly. Dialogue and negotiations were the only way out. IAEA should always be the main mechanism for dealing with the issue. Any measures adopted by the Council should serve the purpose of diplomatic efforts. According to Article 25 of the Charter, all Member States were obliged to carry out Security Council resolutions. Under the current circumstances, China urged Iran to practice restraint, earnestly implement the requirements of the resolution and make an early response to the “package proposals”, so as to create conditions for increasing trust and promoting dialogue and negotiation.
He called upon all the other parties to adopt a highly responsible attitude towards world peace, security and stability and the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism; remain confident and calm; practice restraint; explore new ways of thinking; and continue to creatively carry out diplomatic efforts for the settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue. He welcomed any ideas conductive to conducting talks, breaking the stalemate and reaching compromises. During the current sensitive period, it was essential for Iran and for all practices concerned not to take any steps that would harm diplomatic efforts and might lead to complications or even loss of control. He called upon all parties to resume, as soon as possible, dialogue and negotiations for the proper solution of Iran’s nuclear issue. China would continue its efforts to maintain world and regional peace and stability, safeguard and strengthen international non-proliferation mechanisms, and enhance political and diplomatic efforts for the solution of Iran’s nuclear issue.
TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said that he had supported the resolution, but he regretted the failure of diplomatic efforts to engage Iran and achieve a suitable outcome that would have protected Iran’s right to pursue peaceful nuclear activities. As a matter of principle, his country was opposed to nuclear weapons, whether held by friend or foe. It was opposed, therefore, to nuclear proliferation and it strongly supported the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the non-proliferation regime it had established under the auspices of IAEA, to which Iran also subscribed.
He said his country also firmly believed in the right of the Iranian people to civilian nuclear energy. The resolution just adopted did not in any way seek to constrain that right. On the other hand, it sought to bring any such programme under the IAEA’s verifiable inspection regime. And, that was how it should be. He was mindful that Iran had offered to respond by 22 August to the package of proposals presented by the so-called “P-5 + 1” ( China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Germany). He hoped that the willingness for dialogue contained in that offer would be reciprocated. Engaging Iran should be continued by all the parties, including IAEA. He had voted for the text essentially because it precluded the use of force as an option in engaging Iran. Hopefully, its adoption at the present time would not complicate matters.
KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said his delegation viewed the resolution as a balanced text. Its adoption represented broad endorsement by the efforts of the EU-3 +3 to achieve non-proliferation in a vital region of the world. Japan believed that the important issue of non-proliferation should be resolved through diplomatic and peaceful means. The adoption of the text constituted a part of such efforts. He hoped and expected that Iran would take the message from the Council seriously and respond positively to it within the defined time line.
Japan, which traditionally had friendly relations with Iran and was a country committed to nuclear non-proliferation, had undertaken its own diplomatic initiative towards the peaceful resolution of the issue. Japan would contribute its own efforts through continuous dialogue and engagement with Iran.
CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said that the text adopted today had reaffirmed the right of every Member State, indeed every State party to the NPT, in keeping with its article I and II, to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination. He very much hoped that a solution that was diplomatic and negotiated with Iran could be reached. He called on the parties involved to resume dialogue, in order to find a solution within the context of what had been set out by the IAEA Board and the Security Council.
Speaking in his national capacity, JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE ( France), whose delegation holds the Council’s presidency for July, said that the resolution had been made necessary by the fact that Iran, despite the three meetings with Mr. Solana, had not been willing to seriously address the substance of the proposals of 6 June on behalf of the six countries. Thus, there had been no alternative other than to resume the activity placed on hold in the Council. He was glad that the 15-member body, through today’s vote, had supported the efforts of those six countries. France, together with Germany, would underline the following elements: the text had made the suspension requested by the IAEA mandatory, but that did not mean end to negotiations, and he had reaffirmed the proposals made on 6 June to Iran; if Iran refused to comply, the Council would work under Article 41 of Chapter VI of the Charter; and if Iran did comply and resumed negotiations, the Council could abstain from such action. He appealed to Iran to comply with the substantive proposals submitted to it last month.
JAVAD ZARIF ( Iran) said his delegation had requested to be given an opportunity to speak before the Council took action, so that it would be appraised of the views of the concerned party before it adopted a decision. His previous request to speak before the Council when it adopted a presidential statement on 29 March had also been denied. It was indicative of the degree of transparency and fairness that the Security Council had adopted a presidential statement and a draft resolution, without allowing the views of the concerned party to be heard. For the record, he would make the statement intended for presentation before action. He expressed profound appreciation to Qatar for the negative vote based on their principles, as well as their legitimate concern for the regime.
He said it was not the first time that Iran’s endeavours to stand on its own feet and make technological advances had faced the stiff resistance and concerted pressure of some powers permanently represented in the Council. Iran’s struggle to nationalize its oil industry had been touted in a draft resolution submitted in October 1951 by the United Kingdom and supported by the United States and France as a threat to international peace and security. That draft had preceded a coup d’état, organized by the United States and United Kingdom, in a less veiled attempt to restore their short-sighted interests. More recently, Saddam Hussein’s massive invasion of Iran in 1980 had not troubled the same permanent members to consider it a threat to international peace and security.
Over the past several weeks, the Council had been prevented from moving to stop the massive aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese people and the resulting terrible humanitarian crises, he said. The Council would not have the slightest chance of addressing the oppressor’s nuclear arsenal. Likewise, the Council had been prevented from reacting to the daily threats of resort to force against Iran uttered at the highest levels by the United States, the United Kingdom and the lawless Israeli regime, in violation of the Charter. On the other hand, in the past few years, a few big Powers had spared no efforts in turning the Security Council into a tool for attempting to prevent Iran from exercising its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, recognized explicitly under the NPT.
The people and Government of Iran were determined to exercise their inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and build on their own scientific advances in developing various peaceful aspects of that technology, he continued. At the same time, as the only victims of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history, they rejected the development and use of all those inhumane weapons on ideological, as well as strategic, grounds. Iran’s leader had issued a public and categorical religious decree against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Iran had also clearly stressed that nuclear weapons had no place in its military doctrine.
He noted that, in order to dispel any doubt about its peaceful nuclear programme, Iran had enabled IAEA to carry out a series of inspections, which had amounted to the most robust inspection of any IAEA Member State, including more than 2,000 inspector days of scrutiny in the past three years; the signing of the Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003 and implementing it immediately, until 6 February 2006; the submission of more than 1,000 pages of declarations in accordance with the Additional Protocol; and permitting inspectors to investigate baseless allegations, by taking the unprecedented step of providing repeated access to military sites.
Consequently, he said, all IAEA reports since November 2003 had been indicative of the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. In November of that year and in the wake of sensational media reports on the so-called 18 years of concealment by war, IAEA had confirmed that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities …were related to a nuclear weapons programme”. The same can be found in other IAEA reports, as recent as February 2006.
Much had been made, included in today’s resolution, of a statement by IAEA that it was not yet in a position to conclude that there were no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran, he said. The sponsors had ignored, however, the repeated acknowledgement by the IAEA Director General that the process of drawing such a conclusion was a time-consuming process. They had also ignored the addendum to the 2005 IAEA Safeguards Implementation Report, released in June 2006, which indicated that 45 other countries were in the same category as Iran, including 14 European and several members of the Council.
Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme posed no threat to international peace and security, he said. Dealing with the issue in the Council was, therefore, unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility. Far from reflecting the international community’s concerns, the approach of the sponsors flouted the stated position of the overwhelming majority of the international community, clearly reflected in the most recent statements by foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and partly reflected in the June 2006 IAEA Board Chairman’s Conclusion.
Claiming to represent the international community, the EU-3, in their so-called package of incentives of last August, had asked Iran to “make a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities”. A cursory look at the chronology of events since last August indicated that Iran’s rejection of that illegal and unwarranted demand had, and continued to be, the sole reason for the imposition of resolutions and statements on the IAEA Board and the Council.
Today’s action by the Council -- which was the culmination of those efforts aimed at making the suspension of uranium enrichment mandatory -- violated the fundamental principles of international law, the NPT and IAEA resolutions. It also ran counter to the views of the majority of United Nations Member States, which the Council was obliged to represent. The sole reason for pushing the Council to take action was that Iran had decided, after over two years of negotiations, to resume the exercise of its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, by partially reopening its fully safeguarded facilities and ending a voluntary suspension. Iran’s right to enrich uranium was recognized under the NPT. And, upholding the right of States parties to international regimes was as essential as ensuring respect for their obligations. Those regimes, including the NPT, were sustained by a balance between rights and obligations. Threats would not sustain the NPT or other international regimes. Ensuring that members could draw rightful benefits from membership, and non-members were not rewarded for their intransigence, did.
“Yet, exactly the opposite is the trend today”, he said. Today, the world was witness to a dangerous trend. While members of the NPT were denied their rights and punished, those who defied the NPT, particularly the perpetrators of current carnage in Lebanon and Palestine, were rewarded by generous nuclear cooperation agreements. “This is one awkward way to safeguard the NPT or ensure its universality”, he said.
The trend, he added, had reached a horrendous, and indeed ridiculous, state with the Israeli regime. That regime, a non-member of the NPT, whose nuclear arsenal was coupled with its expansionist, repressive and state-terror policies, was repeatedly recognized as the most serious threat to regional and international peace and security. Yet, it had the audacity to cry wolf about Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme and lead a global campaign of threats, lies, deception, pressure, blackmail and outright extortion. In spite of the massive political and propaganda machine, no one in today’s world could accept the convoluted logic that it was okay for some to have nuclear weapons, while others were prevented from developing nuclear energy.
Another destructive trend was the imposition of arbitrary thresholds, which were often a function of bilateral considerations, rather than objective or technical criteria, he said. The new threshold regarding enrichment was as arbitrary as the previous ones, and was simply another excuse to begin a trend to prevent the realization of the rights of the NPT members to peaceful use, while, according to the United States Ambassador, non-members could “legitimately” continue producing nuclear bombs.
He said it had been argued that the Council’s intervention was needed to ensure cooperation by Iran with IAEA, and to bring Iran back to the negotiating table. He suggested that, in order to achieve that goal, Security Council involvement was not needed. In fact, the Council’s involvement hindered, rather than helped the ongoing process, because it was designed as an instrument of pressure. Iran’s cooperation with the Agency was far more extensive and comprehensive before action was imposed on the Board to engage the Council. As for coming back to the negotiating table, Iran had always been ready for negotiations. For almost three years, Iran had tried to sustain or even resuscitate negotiations with the EU-3. Iran had offered far-reaching proposals to usher in a new era of cooperation, in August 2004, in January, March, April, July and September 2005, and in January, February and March 2006.
Throughout that period, Iran had adopted extensive and extremely costly confidence-building measures, including suspension of its rightful enrichment activities for two years, to ensure the success of negotiations, he said. All along, it had been the persistence of some to draw arbitrary red lines and deadlines that had closed the door to any compromise. That tendency had single-handedly blocked success and, in most cases, killed proposals in their infancy. That had been Washington’s persistent strategy ever since Iran and the EU-3 had started their negotiations in October 2003. “Only the tactics have changed”, he said.
“All along, the threats by some to bring this issue before the Council and take it out of its proper technical and negotiated structure has loomed large over the negotiations and has impeded progress, derailed discussions and prevented focus on a mutually acceptable resolution,” he said. The manner in which negotiations over the recently proposed package had been conducted was a further indication of the same propensity to resort to threats and the lack of a genuine will to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Iran had publicly, and in a show of good faith, reacted positively to that initiative and had indicated its readiness to engage in fair, non-discriminatory and result-oriented negotiations about the package, within a mutually agreed time frame and without preconditions. Yet, an arbitrary deadline had been set, ex post facto, without any justification, and only to serve the totally ulterior objective of “maximizing pressure”.
Indeed, it had taken the EU-3 nearly five months, from March to August 2005, to consider a very serious proposal by Iran last year and, even then, the EU-3 had come up with a response that did not address any elements of that proposal, he noted. An yet, while Iran had clearly stated that it required three more weeks to conclude its evaluation of the proposed package and come up with a substantive reaction, it was astonishing to see that the EU-3 and the United States were in such a rush to prematurely hamper the path of negotiations by imposing a destructive and totally unwarranted Council resolution. Compare that rush to the fact that some of the very same Powers had for the last three weeks prevented any action, not even a 72-hour truce, by the Council on the urgent situation in Lebanon. “You be the judge of how much credibility this leaves for the Security Council. Millions of people around the world have already passed their judgement.”
Concluding, he said it was pertinent to ask what the motive was behind the long-standing urge of some permanent members to bring Iran before the Council. Was it anything but pressure and coercion? That approach would not lead to any productive outcome and, in fact, it could only exacerbate the situation. The people and Government of Iran were not seeking any confrontation and had always shown their readiness to engage in serious and result-oriented negotiation, based on mutual respect and equal footing. They had also showed, time and again, their resilience in the face of pressure, threat, injustice and imposition.
* *** *For information media • not an official record