22 March 2011
Security Council
SC/10206

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6502nd Meeting (PM)


Security Council Briefed by New Chair of Iran Sanctions Committee, Who Says

 

Increase in Reported Violations Matter of Serious Concern

 


Member States Express Disappointment at Lack of Cooperation with IAEA,

While Underscoring Diplomatic Solution Must Come from Dialogue, Negotiations


The incoming Chair of the Committee established to monitor sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear programme reported two new cases of alleged violations of those sanctions as he gave his first 90-day report to the Security Council this afternoon, the seventeenth such report since the Committee’s establishment.


Néstor Osorio (Colombia), who this year took over the chairmanship from Tsuneo Nishida of Japan whose two-year Council term ended in December 2010, also said that during the reporting period, the Panel of Experts appointed last year to assist the Committee had given its first interim report.


He said the two alleged violations were related to the ban on exporting items that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment, reprocessing or heavy water activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.  The cases were being examined by the Committee and its Panel of Experts.


“While the increase in the number of reported sanctions violations is a matter of serious concern, Member States’ continuing readiness to report these violations is positive and should be encouraged,” he said.


According to the Panel’s interim report, conveyed by an oral briefing by the Coordinator on 4 February, he said, the Panel in its first weeks of operations had investigated a reported violation of the arms export ban, conducted an assessment of Member States implementation reports under resolution 1929 (2010) and held a series of consultations in Vienna, London, Brussels, Paris and Tokyo.


In light of recommendations of the Panel, he said, the members of the Committee agreed to consider disseminating additional optional guidance on submitting implementation reports and to periodically organize open briefings at the United Nations.


In addition, in following up on its own programme of work, the Committee agreed to request from Member States any additional information about the individuals and entities on the Committee’s Consolidated List, he said.  During the reporting period, the Committee had also received three notifications on actions related to exemptions to the sanctions.  The Committee had also answered a query from a Member State that sought information on the reasons for the designation of an entity on the list, as well as other clarifications.


Finally, he said, the Committee had concluded the process of consideration of a request for de-listing submitted by an entity through the established focal point process.  The Committee had decided that the listing remained appropriate and the entity remained subject to the assets freeze.


Following the briefing, Council members took the floor to support the work of the Committee, which was established pursuant to Council resolution 1737 (2006).  Many speakers, starting with the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed deep concern about Iran’s nuclear activities, its continuation of enrichment and its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as conveyed in the Agency’s latest report.  Many also expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in discussions held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 21 and 22 January between the “EU3+3” (United Kingdom, Germany, France, United States, Russian Federation and China, also known as the “P5+1”) and Iran.


While most speakers stressed Iran’s right to the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, most also called for it to abide by its international obligations and they urged the strong compliance of Member States with the sanctions regime.


The representative of the Russian Federation agreed that all Member States should adhere to the aims of the relevant resolutions, but they should not go beyond.  He emphasized that the core of Russian engagement on the issue was to continue to promote and pursue the path of dialogue and negotiations towards a diplomatic settlement.  China’s representative said that as long as all sides remained patient and pragmatic, and took steps to ensure confidence, headway could be made, and his delegation would support all related efforts.


Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Germany, India, Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Gabon, France, Nigeria and Lebanon.


The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 4:20 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met this afternoon to hear a briefing by the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) regarding sanctions on Iran.


Briefing


NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), Chairperson of the 1737 Committee, said that during the reporting period, the Panel of Experts appointed last year to assist the Committee had given its first interim report.


He said the Committee had also received reports of two alleged violations of the sanctions on Iran, which were related to the ban on exporting items that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment, reprocessing or heavy water activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.  The cases were being examined by the Committee and its Panel of Experts.


“While the increase in the number of reported sanctions violations is a matter of serious concern, Member States’ continuing readiness to report these violations is positive and should be encouraged,” he said.


According to the Panel’s interim report, he said, conveyed by an oral briefing by the Coordinator on 4 February, the Panel in its first weeks of operations had investigated a reported violation of the arms export ban, conducted an assessment of Member States implementation reports under resolution 1929 (2010) and held a series of consultations in Vienna, London, Brussels, Paris and Tokyo.


In light of recommendations of the Panel, he said, the members of the Committee agreed to consider disseminating additional optional guidance on submitting implementation reports and to periodically organize open briefings at the United Nations.


In addition, in following up on its own programme of work, the Committee agreed to request from Member States any additional information about the individuals and entities on the Committee’s Consolidated List, he continued.  During the reporting period, the Committee had also received three notifications on actions related to exemptions to the sanctions.  The Committee had also answered a query from a Member State that sought information on the reasons for the designation of an entity on the List, as well as other clarifications.


Finally, he said, the Committee had concluded the process of consideration of a request for de-listing submitted by an entity through the established focal point process.  The Committee had decided that the listing remained appropriate and the entity remained subject to the assets freeze.


Statements


ROSEMARY DICARLO (United States), noting that it was more than nine months after the fourth round of sanctions on Iran, said that unfortunately little had changed.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had said that Iran’s cooperation with it was still insufficient, and it was still unable to provide credible assurance that Iran’s nuclear activities were solely for peaceful purposes.  It was critical, therefore, that all States take the necessary steps to implement the sanctions regime.  She welcomed Nigeria’s recent seizure of an arms shipment.  Recent reports of additional shipments seized underlined the need for a high level of vigilance.  The Committee and the Panel of Experts were critical for that purpose.  The Committee must be prepared to act quickly to implement the recommendations of the Panel.


She said that the P5+1 had met with Iran a little more than a month ago and had made every effort to secure agreement, through a constructive approach without preconditions.  Iran, however, presented unacceptable preconditions.  The goal remained to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  She remained committed to working with the rest of the Council towards realizing that goal.


MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the Committee was well equipped to continue to fulfil its mandate, and the newly appointed Panel of Experts had already begun to play its important role in ensuring implementation of the dual-track strategy on the Iranian nuclear issue.  He said that the briefing today and relevant reports rightly characterized Iran’s behaviour as part of a pattern of deliberate circumvention of the Security Council’s existing sanctions regime.  Indeed, such activities were clear violations of resolution 1737 (2006) by Iran, as well as the arms export ban imposed by resolution 1747 (2007).


In the most recent case, he said, where an interdicting State had stopped delivery of a cache of weapons, there was no doubt that the weaponry had come from Iran, even though the on-board records had been doctored to look as though they had been shipped from a member of the Council.  It had also been clear that those weapons were headed to Afghanistan to assist the Taliban in killing International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan national troops.  The Expert Panel should examine that case.  Those persistent violations demonstrated the importance of the Committee in ensuing implementation.  It also heightened the role of the Panel of Experts, including its objective of carrying out visits to States in the region.


He went on to applaud the Committee’s widening outreach, including the consideration of providing briefings to the wider United Nations.  He urged States to step up their efforts to report to the Committee, as complete reporting would assist in implementation.  He noted that today’s briefing came after the release of the latest IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear issue, which among other things, documented Iran’s failure to cooperate with the Agency.  The report noted that Iran had not suspended enrichment-related activities or its heavy water projects.  Iran continued to fail to answer a range of serious questions about any of its activities.  As such, the Agency could not confirm that all nuclear materials in Iran were for peaceful purposes.  With all that in mind, he said that in order for the dual-track strategy to proceed, full implementation of relevant Council resolutions was essential.


PETER WITTIG (Germany) said the dual-track strategy could only produce results if the existing measures, as agreed by the Security Council in four earlier resolutions, were thoroughly implemented.  He welcomed the establishment of the Panel of Experts, noting that the body was already at work and that its interim report contained a number of practical recommendations, which Germany supported.  Specifically on that report’s findings, he said Germany was concerned about the high number of violations that had been recently uncovered and reported to the Committee.  Many of the cases had involved extensive delivery of weapons from Iran into unstable areas in West Africa and the Middle East, and he joined others in expressing particular concern about the two cases that had occurred just last week, which underscored the urgency of proper and full implementation of sanctions.


“We now need a proper assessment of the patterns of sanctions violations to better understand the circumvention of the existing regime,” he said, adding that more accurate reporting by Member States would be helpful in that regard.  All States must fulfil their obligations under the relevant resolutions, and he recommended that the Panel of Experts develop a best practices “toolbox” concerning the implementation of sanctions.  As for recent talks held in Istanbul between Iran and the so-called EU3+3, he said Germany believed that talks had been “very disappointing” and called on that country to reconsider its “intransigent attitude and return to the negotiating table in good faith”.  He deplored that the talks had not yet led to substantive conclusions, and stressed that the dialogue required that both sides be ready to engage.  “We are.  The door remains open for Iran.  We call on Iran to seize this opportunity,” he declared.


HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India), noting the historical, cultural, political and economic relations between his country and Iran, said that his country supported the right of all States to peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with their international obligations.  Iran, too, had the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but it must restore confidence that its programme was peaceful.  That assurance must be gained through peaceful means.  There should be no violations of the sanctions measures imposed by the Council, but wider economic relations should not suffer, he stressed.  Those would be the principles he would support as a member of the 1737 Committee.


VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the Committee had continued to work in strict accordance with its mandate.  That was how it should continue working.  The Panel of Experts should also continue its work under the leadership of the Committee.  The Russian Federation continued to support and stress full and effective implementation of the Council’s sanctions regimes.


To that end, all Member States must adhere to the aims of the relevant resolutions and not go beyond their objectives, he said.  The core of Russian engagement on the issue was to continue to promote and pursue the path of dialogue and negotiations towards a diplomatic settlement.  It also supported full engagement between IAEA, the Iranian parties and the European-led negotiators.  The Russian Federation continued to work under the dialogue; a phased approach built on trust.


JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said that both Iran’s efforts to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, and the quality of cooperation with IAEA must be enhanced and strengthened to a more satisfactory level.  Unfortunately, the recent report of the IAEA Board of Governors had reiterated the fact that activities at some of Iran’s nuclear facilities ran counter to some key resolutions of the Security Council.


Without full access to such facilities, IAEA was unable to provide credible assurances to the international community, he reiterated.  He also regretted that Iran had not followed up meaningfully with the promises it had stated in Istanbul.  The 1737 Committee had a particularly important role to play in not only promoting compliance, but also in enhancing international dialogue on the matter.  He agreed with other speakers that the recent increase in reporting of violations set an example and should be encouraged.  He also welcomed open briefings by the Committee or the Panel of Experts to all interested Member States.


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) expressed support for the Committee, particularly its investigations of alleged violations of the sanctions.  She stressed the need for all Member States to cooperate with the Committee for that purpose, noting that such cooperation was part of Brazilian law and that the Committee was invited to visit her country.  She encouraged Iran to cooperate with IAEA, but affirmed the country’s right to a peaceful nuclear programme.  She expressed disappointment that talks, including those in which Brazil was involved that had led to the Teheran agreement, had not produced results, but she stressed that negotiations remained the only viable way to settle the issue and she hoped they would soon achieve the desired results.


ZAHEER LAHER (South Africa) said his country was interested in disarmament towards a nuclear-weapon-free world and he remained concerned over Iran’s lack of cooperation with IAEA.  He urged the country to comply with Council resolutions, while concurring with the country’s right to benefit from nuclear energy.  He strongly urged the resumption of dialogue to settle all outstanding issues.


ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) said his delegation welcomed the work of the Committee and urged the Panel of Experts to continue its efforts to obtain the information it needed to carry out its important mission.  Gabon was deeply concerned by violations of the sanctions and commended the Nigerian authorities for detecting such violations.  The IAEA report had revealed that Iran continued to enrich uranium, and he called on Iran to abide by its IAEA obligations and the resolutions of the Security Council.


MARTIN BRIENS (France) said the briefing had highlighted a pattern of increasing violations of sanctions by Iran, including two new cases, speaking to its attempts to acquire materials for its ballistics and heavy water programmes.  He also expressed grave concern about the recent interception by Israeli authorities of a ship containing tons of weapons.  France hoped the Expert Panel would explore that case.  Iran was indeed involved in a pattern of violations, which posed a threat to regional and international security.  Such violations required “great vigilance” from all Member States.


He welcomed the Panel’s opening of investigations into all means by which Iran was circumventing the sanctions regime.  France fully supported all the recommendations in the Panel’s interim report, and he called on all States to cooperate with that body as much as possible, so it would have the most up-to-date information.  He went on to say that the IAEA report had shown Iran’s continued intransigence, including its obfuscation in the face of the Agency’s attempts to examine the nature of its activities at several nuclear plants.  He also regretted that Iran had not taken advantage of recent meetings with the EU3+3 to build trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  Rather, it was choosing to isolate itself from the rest of the international community.  The door for negotiations was still open, and Iran must pursue the path of dialogue.


U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) assured the Committee of her country’s support and its commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world.  She said that the Committee must remain vigilant and she welcomed increased reporting by Member States.  Nigeria would continue to cooperate with the Committee.  She expressed concern on the lack of progress made, however, in the Istanbul talks and in Iran’s cooperation with IAEA.  She was confident, however, that negotiations remained the only mechanism able to resolve the outstanding issues.  She called on all actors to facilitate a negotiated solution.  Iran must follow through with a more substantial engagement in the process.


NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said his country was very interested in global disarmament in matters of weapons of mass destruction.  He called for a re-launching of negotiations aimed at increasing international confidence regarding the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.  The Teheran declaration was an opportunity that should have been seized.  He looked forward to a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, noting that Israel was the only nation to have such weapons in the region.


Council President LI BAODONG (China), speaking in his national capacity, said the Committee was carrying out its work in a balanced and orderly manner, and his delegation attached great importance to such efforts and those of the Panel of Experts.  Negotiations and dialogue was the right path for addressing the Iranian nuclear issue.  The EU3+3 had recently expressed the desire to continue negotiations with Iran.  As a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran had the right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  At the same time, it must adhere to its international obligations.  China hoped it would take initiatives to enhance confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  China believed that, as long as all sides remained patient and pragmatic, and took steps to ensure confidence, headway could be made, adding that his delegation would support all such efforts.


Taking the floor again, Mr. OSORIO said the 1737 Committee would continue to work according to its mandate and he thanked Council members for their comments.  He said the work of the Panel of Experts had been “truly exceptional”, especially as mechanisms were in place to ensure that it could closely and effectively monitor implementation of the resolution and provide guidance to that end.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record