|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6737th Meeting (AM)
Chair of Security Council Committee Monitoring Sanctions against Iran, Imposed
over Nuclear Programme in Resolution 1737 (2006), Briefs on Alleged Violations
Speakers Warn Iran’s Refusal to Cooperate with International
Atomic Energy Agency Has Created ‘Unsustainable and Dangerous’ Status Quo
The head of the committee charged with monitoring sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme reported today on alleged violations of those measures, as Security Council members warned that Iran’s stonewalling of the United Nations nuclear-watchdog agency regarding the true nature of its nuclear activities had created an “unsustainable and dangerous status quo”.
Néstor Osorio ( Colombia), who chairs the “1737 Committee”, named for the 2006 Security Council resolution that established it, said that, during the reporting period — 21 December 2011 to 20 March 2012 — the Committee had held one round of informal consultations, in late February. At that meeting, the Coordinator Panel of Experts had briefed the Committee on its activities, including visits to India, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania, where its members discussed implementation of the Council’s sanctions regime on Iran.
He said Committee members had also discussed the open briefing to be held soon — hopefully during the first half of April — with the participation of the Expert Panel. They also discussed three reports submitted by the Panel and raised a number of issues, including the need for an effective and diligent response to sanctions violations. Some members had expressed concern regarding the illicit transfer of arms between Iran and Syria, documented by reports notified to the Committee.
In addition, he said one Member State had drawn attention to a public statement made in early February by the Hizbullah Secretary-General, acknowledging that the movement had received “materialistic support in all possible and available forms from Iran since 1982, while acknowledging that Hizbullah remained silent when asked about financial support.”
Continuing, Mr. Osorio said that, during the reporting period, the Committee had received a communication about a reported violation under Council resolution 1747 (2007), which imposed a ban on export and procurement of arms and related materiel from Iran. A 9 January note verbale from one Member State provided information on the results of inspections carried out on material confiscated on 15 February in a truck at a border gate with Syria. In addition, a 28 February letter submitted by four States submitted information regarding a violation of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010), on the launch of the Navid satellite using Iran’s Safir space launch vehicle, as announced by Iran on 3 February.
Among other submissions considered by the Committee, he said that, in late February, it had received a note verbale from one Member State indicating that its citizens and residents, as well as entities based in that country, should address their de-listing requests to the Committee directly through focal points. The Committee had also received a proposal from a Member State on the designation of two Iranian individuals and an Iranian entity identified following a previously reported violation under resolution 1929 (2010).
Following that presentation, Council members took the floor praising the Committee’s work, particularly noting it’s outreach initiatives and other activities aimed at raising awareness about the Council’s Iran sanctions regime and providing technical assistance with national-level implementation. At the same time, several members urged the Committee to carry out more robust efforts under its mandate, while others expressed frustration that, after months, the Panel’s 2011 final report had not yet been published. One speaker explained that the report was an important tool for Member States, who were required to provide information on their national efforts to enforce the Council’s relevant sanctions.
As for Iran itself, it was clear from the discussion that most Council members were concerned that the Middle Eastern country had done little to assuage international unease over the possible military implications of its nuclear programme. The representative of the United States underscored her Government’s commitment to working with European partners to resolve the issue through negotiations, but stressed that swift action must be taken to ensure Iran’s genuine cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) lest the lingering tensions stoke “further instability in an already tense region”.
The representative of the United Kingdom was among those gravely concerned by reports of “systematic activity” by Iran to provide weapons to authorities in Syria, “where, as we speak, those weapons are being used to suppress the Syrian people”. Further, he said, Iran had been asked time and time again to cooperate with the IAEA, to provide unhindered access by IAEA officials and to behave in a transparent manner. It had consistently ignored such calls for cooperation.
“No one following this issue can have any doubt that Iran’s intent is to develop a nuclear weapon,” he said, adding nevertheless that the United Kingdom and its partners continued to be committed to seeking a negotiated solution. The twin-track approach — sanctions and the demand for genuine negotiations — was working; Iran was starting to feel the pressure of sanctions and growing international isolation. “We are ready to talk,” but Iran must meet that commitment in kind, he said.
Taking a more cautious approach, the representative of the Russian Federation said his country shared concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme, but was against artificially enflaming the issue, as Iran was doing its utmost to find a negotiated resolution. A comprehensive political settlement was, therefore, crucial. He also echoed the view of several other Council members that it was important for the 1737 Committee and the Panel of Experts to continue to work in a balanced and impartial manner. The Russian Federation complied fully with the sanctions regime as imposed by the Council, but maintained that added, unilateral restrictions undermined international efforts. The Committee must strictly fulfil its mandate in that light, he said.
Also speaking today were the representatives of France, India, China, Germany, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Pakistan, Portugal, Morocco, Guatemala and Togo.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 11:26 a.m.
ROSEMARIE DICARLO ( United States) said that Iran’s continued lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as again presented in the Agency’s latest report, presented an “unsustainable and dangerous status quo”. Doubts over the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme must be resolved, particularly those over increased enrichment of uranium towards weapons-grade levels in heavily bunkered facilities — IAEA inspection of which Iran had “stonewalled”. That was in no way full cooperation. The Council, therefore, must take the necessary steps to hold Iran responsible. The 1737 Committee and its Panel of Experts must fully carry out their mandates through ensuring better implementation of existing sanctions, which could slow down Iran’s nuclear progress and afford more time to resolve the issues.
Recalling a recent briefing on Iran’s ballistic missile activities, she welcomed the Committee’s progress on responding to violations, while stressing that more needed to be done. She expressed alarm at transfers of arms to Syria that she stated were being used to violently oppress that country’s people and urged that sanctions be applied to those found to violate the sanctions regime by involvement in such transfers. Concerned, in addition, that the final expert report had not been released to Member States, she strongly urged that the issue be resolved quickly. The United States remained committed to both engagement and pressure, she said, welcoming the European Union’s recent efforts to resume talks to resolve the issue. Verifiable steps could assure the world that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon. Her country remained ready to work closely with its partners on the “P5+1” configuration on this critical issue.
MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said that once again the IAEA had released an extremely worrying report, highlighting the continued rejection of international commitments by Iran. Further, the Agency had noted again that it was unable to ensure that Iran’s nuclear activity was solely for civilian purposes. Indeed, the increase of Iran’s nuclear enrichment at a formerly hidden nuclear facility only added to the troubling situation. Iran was clearly in contravention of Security Council resolutions. France was also concerned by information that several kilos of natural uranium might have been diverted. Iran was also using its space programme as an alibi to increase its ballistic activities, threatening the security of its neighbours in an already unstable region.
France was particularly concerned by reports of shipments between Iran and Syria, and given all this defiance, the international community had proven that it would stand firm. But, Security Council resolutions were not an end in themselves; there were also multiple offers for Iran to come to the negotiating table. The Council must continue to improve its sanctions. He once again called for the release of the 2011 report of the 1737 Committee. Iran must restore the world’s confidence in the peaceful nature of its programme. Iran had yet to negotiate sincerely and had yet to comply fully with the decisions of the Security Council and the IAEA. He called upon Iran to commit itself seriously to the negotiation process and end the international isolation which it had imposed upon itself.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said the Panel of Experts was mandated to assist the Committee in implementation of the relevant resolution and to work under the direction of the Committee. He encouraged the Committee to continue to carry out its work within the mandate set for it by the Council and with strict impartiality. He thanked the Panel for its reports and noted that three of its members had visited India and had had consultations with officials in New Delhi. Iran should fully cooperate with the IAEA to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
He welcomed the recent talks between Iran and Agency officials and hoped that outstanding technical issues could be addressed fully. India supported the full implementation of all Council resolutions regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. At the same time, while such implementation was under way, he urged that all legitimate trade and economic activities be continued. He supported the decision of the 1737 Committee to brief the wider United Nations membership on its work.
WNAG MIN ( China) said that all Council resolutions and directives must be implemented in a prudent, pragmatic and balanced way. China would continue to actively participate in the work of the 1737 Committee. The situation in the Middle East was undergoing profound changes and maintaining stability throughout that region was in the interest of the entire international community. It was necessary to adhere to the principle of dialogue and negotiation to resolve the Iran nuclear issue. There had been positive movement to that end, and China hoped that momentum could be built upon to find a sustainable solution. All sides must commit to dialogue. As a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran had the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It must also abide by its international obligations. Sanctions were not an end in themselves; the issue could be comprehensively addressed only through dialogue and negotiations, he reiterated.
MIGUEL BERGER ( Germany) called on Iran to seize current negotiation opportunities and take concrete steps to assure the world community about the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. A nuclear-armed Iran challenged both the stability of the region and the international non-proliferation regime. He regretted recent steps taken by Iran, including an increase in uranium enrichment. The country must intensify cooperation with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues and comply in full and without delay to fulfil its obligations under Council resolutions and the non-proliferation regime.
He expressed concern, in addition, over the export of weapons to Syria and Hizbullah, as well as the launch of a satellite into space and stated that the existing sanctions regime must be fully and properly implemented. He also called for the release of the final report of the Panel of Experts, whose travel plans must be unimpeded and who must be able to investigate possible violations wherever and whenever. He supported the listing of violators, which would show that they were subject to harsh measures. His country remained ready to restart a dialogue with Iran to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said it was essential that the Committee continue to work with Member States on fully reporting on their compliance with the sanctions regime. Assuring the Council that his country was working to prevent the transit of sanctioned materiel and to stop proliferation, he added that countries could not be denied the right to develop the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Finally, he said that Azerbaijan was unable to fully implement resolution 1737 and other international non-proliferation norms, especially regarding illicit trafficking of nuclear and related materials because part of its recognized territory was occupied by neighbouring Armenia. As a consequence, Azerbaijan had no control over 132 kilometres of its southern border.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said that his delegation continued to support the use of dialogue and other peaceful means to settle the issue. Sanctions were not an end in themselves; Iran should be encouraged to participate actively in the international negotiation process. The IAEA remained the sole body that could verify the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and South Africa encouraged all parties to abstain from actions that would derail the process being led by the Agency. He reiterated that the international community should not tire in its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said his delegation fully supported the international community’s non-proliferation goals. It was important for States to implement the Council’s resolution on the matter, including those dealing with the Iran nuclear issue. The 1737 Committee and its Panel of Experts had, over the years, carried out a number of duties, including briefings to the Council and carrying out awareness-raising activities on behalf of wider international community.
Pakistan had noted the views expressed by others regarding the need for the broad publication of the Panel’s final report and was reflecting on the matter. At the same time, he said the Panel itself must have broader geographical representation in the future. He said that sanctions should be aligned to the need to foster negotiations to find solutions to issues of concern. Dialogue and cooperation were the best means to solve all outstanding issues regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. He said that Iran, as a Party to the NPT, should fulfil its international obligations; at the same time, that country’s rights under the Treaty should also be respected.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said it was important for the Committee and the Panel of Experts to continue to work in a balanced and impartial manner. His country complied fully with the sanctions regime as imposed by the Security Council, but maintained that added, unilateral restrictions undermined international efforts. The Committee must strictly fulfil its mandate, in that light. His country shared concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme, but was against artificially enflaming the issue, as it was doing its utmost to find a negotiated resolution. A comprehensive political settlement was crucial.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal) encouraged the Committee to pursue its investigations on all possible violations, as the matter was of great concern. In addition, the Panel of Expert’s report should be released, as information sharing was crucial. The continued lack of progress in assuring the international community of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, which was shown in the IAEA report, significantly increased suspicions over the nature of that programme. It was imperative for Iran to respond positively to requests of the Agency and work for a diplomatic solution. He hoped the country would now enter into meaningful discussions without preconditions and cooperate fully with the IAEA.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) commended the Committee and the Panel of Experts for their work, which he urged to continue in an impartial manner, particularly its engagement with Member States. Consensus on the publication of the Panel report should be reached quickly. It was imperative that dialogue between Iran and the “P5+1” resume. Success of such dialogue required clear, good faith commitments and restraint from actions that might complicate the situation. He affirmed that the IAEA was the only body with competence in that sphere and it should, therefore, receive all the information and access it needed. All States must scrupulously respect the non-proliferation regime. No State could escape the balance between rights and obligations.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) welcomed the work of the Committee and its Panel of Experts. Guatemala had adopted practical measures to ensure implementation of resolution 1737 (2006). His country did not possess any nuclear weapons, but was committed to the fundamental principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The Committee’s priority focus must be on effective implementation of its founding resolution and it was “worrying” to note that Iran was ignoring its obligations under that text. Iran’s posture was jeopardizing the Council’s collective decisions on non-proliferation and, as such, the Committee, its Panel of Experts and the Council must pursue actions, including informing States about their role in implementing Council resolutions. He called for increased awareness-raising activities in developing countries, and said that the Committee must continue its leadership on such matters.
He said Guatemala was concerned that there had been no movement on the negotiation front and the resulting standoff was greatly worrying. The international community must strenuously endeavour to establish an environment that could foster dialogue and genuine commitment. Iran’s implementation of Council resolutions and cooperation with the IAEA must be viewed as steps in the rights direction and were crucial in order to establish confidence. The Committee had received reports of alleged violations during the past 90 days, and he urged that body to comprehensively investigate such charges, while continuing its awareness-raising activities.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said, over the past three months, the Committee had further carried out the duties given it by the Council, including informing States of ways in which they could carry out their international obligations. The Committee had once again drawn the Council’s attention to worrying circumstances. While Iran could not be denied the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, that right did not extend to acquiring nuclear weapons. To date, Iranian authorities had done little to ease the fears of the international community regarding its nuclear programme. Togo believed that the only way to reassure the international community was for Iran to allow visits by IAEA officials to all facilities. Agency officials must also be allowed access to all relevant documents. Iran must commit itself to the “EU3+3” negotiation process. The entire international community must redouble its efforts to ensure that nuclear materials did not fall into the wrong hands.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said that, during the reporting period, the Committee noted the transfer by Iran of ballistic missile technology and its import of nuclear material in violation of its obligations under the NPT. The United Kingdom was concerned by reports of “systematic activity” by Iran to provide weapons to Syrian authorities, “where, as we speak, those weapons are being used to suppress the Syrian people”. He welcomed the Committee’s work, particularly its efforts to promote knowledge-sharing and collaboration between States. Yet, his delegations continued to be frustrated by the blockage of the release of the 2011 final report.
“ Iran’s nuclear programme continues to develop in contravention of this Council’s resolutions and of Iran’s obligations towards non-proliferation,” he said. Indeed, it continued to enrich uranium and had failed to give a convincing explanation about how a quantity of its uranium had gone missing. The Iranian Government had again refused IAEA officials access to sites, documents and individuals related to its nuclear programme. He reminded the Council that the IAEA’s previous report had noted that Iran had carried out some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.
Iran had been asked time and time again to cooperate with the Agency, to provide unhindered access by IAEA officials and to behave in a transparent manner. It had consistently ignored such calls for cooperation. “As such, no one following this issue can have any doubt that Iran’s intent is to develop a nuclear weapon,” he said, adding nevertheless that the United Kingdom continued to be committed to seeking a negotiated solution. The twin-track approach was working; Iran was starting to feel the pressure of sanctions and growing international isolation. “We are ready to talk,” he said, but stressed that Iran must meet that commitment in kind.
Taking the floor again, Mr. OSORIO thanked Council members for their comments and thanked the Panel of Experts for its tireless work “under difficult circumstances”. He joined others in welcoming the decision to brief the wider membership on the Committee’s work. He hoped that meeting would take place in the first half of April and he would inform the Council when the arrangements were made.
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