Security Council Sanctions Committee May Hold Briefing on Its Mandate, Activities, Chair Says amid Growing Concern about Iran’s Nuclear Programme

21 December 2011
SC/10502

Security Council Sanctions Committee May Hold Briefing on Its Mandate, Activities, Chair Says amid Growing Concern about Iran’s Nuclear Programme

21 December 2011
Security Council
SC/10502
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6697th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Sanctions Committee May Hold Briefing on Its Mandate, Activities,

Chair Says amid Growing Concern about Iran’s Nuclear Programme

 

Speakers Express Dismay over Non-publication of Expert Panel’s Final Report

Against a backdrop of growing concern about the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, and amid questions of transparency surrounding the non-publication of a report by an expert panel, the Chair of the Security Council Committee created to monitor compliance with sanctions imposed on Iran said today that it was considering holding an open briefing to discuss its mandate and activities.

Nestor Osorio (Colombia), who heads the “1737 Committee”, named for the Council resolution that spawned it, said its members had also expressed a desire to reconvene soon to discuss two reports submitted by its Panel of Experts in connection with two incidents of alleged non-compliance by Iran, as reported by Member States.

Presenting his twentieth 90-day report, he told the Council that the Coordinator of the Committee’s Panel of Experts had briefed its members on 7 December regarding its activities since the renewal of its mandate on 9 June.  The Committee had learned that the Panel had investigated a reported violation of resolution 1747 (2007), which bans Iran’s exports of all arms and related materiel.  The Panel had also initiated an inquiry into that country’s alleged violation of a provision in resolution 1929 (2010), which expanded the arms embargo imposed on Iran and tightened restrictions on its financial and shipping enterprises related to “proliferation-sensitive activities”.  It had also submitted a quarterly assessment of Member States’ implementation reports under that text.

Mr. Osorio went on to note that the Committee had received four notifications during the reporting period: three from one Member State in connection with resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) regarding the unfreezing of funds in order to make a payment due under a contract entered into prior to the listing of the entity; and one from a Member State in relation to the delivery of items for use in Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr.  The Committee had also answered a query about an Iranian entity listed in an annex to resolution 1803 (2008) and was considering a request for information about a listing in connection with the assets freeze.

While Council members welcomed the briefing, some expressed concern about the non-publication of the Panel’s last report on Iran.  Mr. Osorio, taking the floor a second time, acknowledged that the series of concerns discussed in connection with Iran’s nuclear programme, including the non-publication of the Panel’s reports, “weigh heavily”, and he trusted that it would be possible to achieve transparency, not just for Council members, but for other Member States as well.  He added that he understood that the “very serious concerns” raised today highlighted the need for the Committee to intensify its work and guide the Panel in fulfilling its role.

The representative of the United States said she remained seriously concerned that the Panel’s final report had not been released to Member States, describing the delay as an “appalling” failure of transparency.  Recent findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were “damning” as the Agency had concluded that Iran remained in non-compliance.  Its report clearly linked the country’s nuclear programme with activities necessary for the development of a nuclear explosive device, she said.

Another alarming development, she continued, was Iran’s intention to start enriching uranium to a level near 20 per cent, which would bring the country closer to producing highly enriched uranium, the need for which it had not provided an explanation.  Noting that Iran already had enough fuel for any energy purposes, she emphasized that after reading the recent IAEA report, no one could conclude that those enrichment activities were only for peaceful purposes.  The Council must therefore redouble its efforts to enforce the sanctions regime to show Iran that there was a price to be paid for its deception, and to provide an opportunity to settle the matter by diplomatic means.

Similarly, the United Kingdom’s representative insisted that the Panel’s report should be published, pointing out that United Nations members had paid for it and they had a right to see it.  The Council, for its part, must ensure that its sanctions were effective in order to “change the calculus” of the Iranian regime.  Five years since the adoption of resolution 1737 (2006), she said, Iran’s objective was clear: to develop the technology required for a nuclear explosive device.  Unambiguous evidence had been provided, and the military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme was “compelling”, she added.

Stressing that Iran had been presented with a series of offers over the years, she said the “European Union 3+3” (EU3+3) proposal was still on the table, but Iran had decided not to engage.  Its intransigence and rejection of those offers had resulted in Council sanctions, she noted.  While Iran said it wanted a peaceful nuclear programme, the facts “do not bear that out”.  Thus, there was only one conclusion:  “ Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons capability.”

The representative of the Russian Federation, Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, encouraging the Panel of Experts to remain rooted in impartiality and independence, and to use only reliable sources and accurate information.  All international community members must comply strictly with the requirements of the sanctions resolution, he stressed.  Describing the November resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors as “a new type of instrument”, he said it should be seen as easing tensions with Iran and not condemning anyone.  The Russian Federation did not deny the problems related to the need to restore confidence, he said, noting that it shared the concerns of the world community in that regard.  However, attempts to worsen the atmosphere could undermine IAEA efforts on Iran, he warned.

China’s representative said all parties were duty-bound to implement resolution 1737 (2006) accurately and in good faith, cautioning that sanctions were not the Council’s ultimate objective.  The Iranian nuclear issue could be finalized only through dialogue and cooperation.  The region was undergoing profound changes, and against that background, all parties should firmly commit to seeking the appropriate result to the Iranian issue through dialogue and opportunity so as to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East, he stressed.  As State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran was entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and should also fulfil its obligations in that regard, he stressed.

Also speaking today were representatives of Nigeria, India, South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, France, Germany, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Gabon.

The meeting began at 10:16 a.m. and ended at 11:20 a.m.

Background

Meeting this morning, Security Council members heard a briefing by the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) concerning Iran, known as the 1737 Committee, on his latest 90-day report.

Briefing

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), Chair of the 1737 Committee, presented that body’s twentieth 90-day report, covering the period 1 September to 18 December, saying that during that time the Committee had held one informal consultation and conducted additional work under the “silence procedure”.  On 7 December, members had heard a briefing in which the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts had summarized the body’s activities since the renewal of its mandate on 9 June.  Among other activities, the Panel had investigated a reported violation of paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007), under which the export from Iran of all arms and related materiel was banned.  The Panel had also initiated an inquiry into Iran’s alleged violation of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010), and submitted a third quarterly assessment of Member States’ implementation reports under paragraph 31 of that resolution.

He said that following that oral briefing, Committee members had committed to continue negotiations on the Panel’s outreach efforts through visits, inspections and participation in seminars.  Recognizing the importance of outreach to Member States, the Committee had considered holding an open briefing by the Chair, in the near future and with the Panel’s participation, with the goal of informing Member States about the Committee’s mandate and activities.  Some Committee members had also expressed a desire to reconvene soon to discuss two reports submitted by the Panel in connection with two alleged incidents of non-compliance reported by States.

He said the Committee had received four notifications during the reporting period: three from one Member State in connection with resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007), regarding the unfreezing of funds in order to make a payment due under a contract entered into prior to the listing of the entity concerned; and one from a Member State in relation to a provision of resolution 1737 (2006), with respect to the delivery of items for use in Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Further, he continued, the Committee had answered a query from a Member State seeking information on whether an Iranian entity indicated in the letter was the same as an entity listed in annex III of resolution 1803 (2008).  Based on information provided by one of its members, the Committee had concluded that the two entities were one and the same, he said, adding that it was also considering its answer to a query from another Member State, which sought additional information on the reasons for the designation of an entity subjected to a freeze on its assets.

Regarding an incident reported by a Member State in November 2010, he said the Committee had received a letter from another Member State providing information on extensive internal compliance measures taken by the shipping company CMA-CGM to prevent the unwitting shipment by its vessels of items prohibited under Council resolutions.  CMA-CGM had cooperated fully with the Panel of Experts in its investigation of that case, he added.

Statements

SUSAN RICE ( United States) said the recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was “damning” as it concluded that Iran remained in non-compliance and clearly linked the country’s nuclear activities with those necessary for the development of a nuclear explosive device.  At least before 2003, those activities had been taking place under a structured programme.  Another alarming development was Iran’s intention to start enriching uranium at its Qom facility to a level of near 20 per cent, which would bring the country closer to producing highly enriched uranium, the need for which it had not provided an explanation.  Noting that Iran already had enough fuel for any energy purposes, she emphasized that, after reading the report, no one could conclude that those enrichment activities were only for peaceful purposes.

The Council must therefore, she continued, redouble its efforts to enforce the sanctions regime to show Iran that there was a price to be paid for its deception, and to provide an opportunity to settle the matter by diplomatic means.  The 1737 Committee must invigorate its efforts to implement the sanctions, continue to investigate violations and spread awareness of Member States’ obligations under the sanctions regime.  Expressing appreciation for the recent efforts of the Panel of Experts, including its work concerning Iran’s ballistic missile activity, she said the Committee must take action in response.  Sanctions violators must themselves be designated for targeted sanctions, she stressed, adding that the designation of individuals and entities would send a powerful signal.

She said she remained seriously concerned that the Panel’s final report had not been released to Member States, describing the delay as an appalling failure of transparency.  The report must be made available to all Member States as soon as possible, as it would help States fulfil their obligations under the sanctions regime, she stressed, noting that the ultimate goal was to ensure that Iran entered into full compliance with its obligations.  In the face of Iran’s intransigence, the international community must speak with one voice on the danger to international peace and security, she said.  The United States was firm in its commitment not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, one of the greatest challenges now facing the international community, she added.

U JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), expressing her firm support for the Committee’s work, said there was nevertheless a need for more outreach to Member States.  She said the IAEA report underlined the necessity of increased interaction between Iran and the Agency to dispel the latter’s doubts and assure the international community of the nuclear programme’s peaceful nature.  Access to all sites must be granted, as requested by the Agency, she asserted while maintaining that diplomatic negotiation was vital to resolving all outstanding issues.  Calling for redoubled efforts by all those involved on that front, she said that recent disturbing developments required vigilance on the part of the international community and a renewed determination to resolve peacefully the question of Iran’s nuclear programme.

VINAY KUMAR (India) said his country had consistently supported the right of all States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with their obligations.  As a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran had all the rights and obligations that went with the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said, underlining the need for international focus on clandestine proliferation activities.  India had also consistently underscored the importance of continuing dialogue between IAEA and Iran with the urgent aim of resolving all outstanding substantive issues, which would require Iran to clarify all issues highlighted in the Agency’s reports.  India reiterated its support for a diplomatic solution, for which there would be a need to expand the diplomatic space and to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, he said, emphasizing that confrontation should be avoided.

BASO SANGQU (South Africa) stressed his delegation’s commitment to the mutually reinforcing relationship linking disarmament, non-proliferation and the right of States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  South Africa’s approach to the implementation of the IAEA safeguards was informed by its principled position on the abolition of all nuclear weapons.  It was critical that Iran build confidence in its peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said, noting that the IAEA report emphasized the need for credible assurances that its nuclear programme had no military component.  Calling for Iran’s renewed dedication to that requirement, through intensified and unconditional cooperation with IAEA in such areas as export control, customs and financing, he said that would be indispensible for building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  IAEA should seize the opportunity to visit Iran in order to remove any ambiguities, and Iran should suspend all enrichment and processing activities, he added.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said it was important that the Committee and its Panel of Experts continue their efforts, including outreach to Member States, and suggested that non-members of the Committee be allowed to attend its meetings.  The current situation was not encouraging, she said, stressing that the current confrontational course could give rise to a dangerous scenario that must be avoided.  To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, dialogue and genuine engagement must be fostered to create the building blocks of a negotiated solution, she said.  Warning that a comprehensive agreement might be impossible, given the current climate, she suggested that a gradual, step-by-step approach might be advisable.

NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) said his country abided by all its obligations under the non-proliferation regime, the three pillars of which included the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  A revival of negotiations towards a final resolution would assure the international community of the peaceful purposes of Iran’s nuclear activities within the IAEA framework, he said, calling also for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Preventing such a development was Israel, which had not joined the NPT and did not subject its nuclear activities to IAEA inspection and oversight, he noted.  Lebanon called for the appointment of a facilitator to deal with that issue ahead of the planned 2012 conference to discuss such regional matters, he said.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France) described the IAEA report as “unprecedented”, saying it only deepened concern that Iran’s nuclear programme was linked to the development of nuclear weapons.  The trebling of enrichment levels, the increased use of the Qom facility built in secret and the disappearance of fissile material all painted a picture that left very little doubt about Iran’s intention to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a peaceful programme, he said, urging the international community to react.  Sanctions must continue to be implemented and violations must be dealt with.  The Committee must pursue the Panel’s recommendations, including pursuit of violators.  Should Iran persist in its refusal to comply with its obligations, France would be ready to adopt sanctions of “unprecedented scope”, he emphasized, noting that besides its nuclear activities, plots against foreign diplomats and the attack on the British Embassy in Teheran had engendered further concern.  The international community must remain united and firm in the face of those challenges and Iran must negotiate on all the issues raised by IAEA, he said.

DIANE SHEARD (United Kingdom), noting that five years had elapsed since the passage of resolution 1737 (2006), said the Iranian nuclear programme had continued, in direct contravention of that resolution and the country’s NPT obligations.  Iran’s clear objective was to develop the technology required for a nuclear explosive device.  Unambiguous evidence had been provided, she said, adding that the military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme was “compelling”.  The Agency’s report discussed activities relevant to developing a nuclear explosive device, as well the civilian and military applications of Iran’s nuclear programme, she said.

Pointing out that a series of offers had been presented over the years, she said the one by the “EU3+3” (France, Germany, United Kingdom, China, United States, Russian Federation) remained on the table, but Iran had decided not to engage.  She said that if Iran verified suspension of its enrichment programme and heeded the relevant Council resolutions and IAEA obligations, it would be able to pursue peaceful nuclear activity and enjoy peaceful economic and energy cooperation.  In fact, the Iranian Government had rejected such overtures since June 2008, she noted, asking why, if it produced only peaceful nuclear power, it would have rejected those offers.  Iran’s intransigence had resulted in Council sanctions, she said, adding that although Iran had said that it wanted a peaceful nuclear programme, the facts did not bear that out.  “There is only one conclusion — Iran is determined to develop nuclear-weapons capability.”

Sanctions were a key tool to convince Iran to engage seriously with the offers on the table, she said, emphasizing that the Council needed to ensure their effectiveness in order to “change the calculus” of the Iranian regime.  The report of the Panel of experts should be published; the United Nations had paid for it and had a right to see it.  In parallel, the Committee needed to act on the report’s recommendations.  It was necessary to clarify what was required to implement the sanctions, and Member States should be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to act on violations because they were all required to implement the regime, she said, adding that her country remained willing to engage with Iran in addressing the international community’s concerns.  For now, however, it had given no reason to believe that such engagement would be reciprocal in a meaningful way.  Iran must know that unless it returned to the negotiations without preconditions, it would face further isolation, she warned.

CHRISTOPHE EICK ( Germany) called the IAEA report “alarming” as it gave rise to increased concerns about the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme.  Germany was deeply concerned about the finding that Iran had carried out activities relevant to a nuclear explosive device.  The annex to the report described in detail activities that were “key to nuclear development”, which painted a disturbing picture, he said.  Of utmost concern was the Agency’s continuing inability to provide assurances of the programme’s non-military nature.  It had carefully checked the consistency of the information available to it from a variety of sources and had found it credible.  The onus was on Iran, therefore, to provide access to information, documentation, sites, materiel and persons, he stressed.  Yet, Iran’s recent decisions added to previous doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme, he said, pointing out, for example, the decision bury its enrichment capacity “deep under a mountain”, which was of “grave concern”, and its decision to develop a ballistic missile programme.

In a first reaction to the IAEA report, he said, the EU3+3 had co-sponsored, at a meeting of the Agency’s Board of Governors in Vienna, a draft resolution calling for Iran to implement IAEA safeguards and resolve outstanding issues without delay.  It had failed to respond.  Urging all States to implement the weapons embargo stipulated in resolution 1737 (2006), he said that his country remained committed to a dual-track approach.  Germany was ready to engage Iran in meaningful negotiations, but as long as it failed to cooperate and was not even ready to talk, there was no other option but to pursue the “pressure track”.  Sanctions remained vital to maintaining the pressure on Iran to return to negotiations, he said, adding that his country remained committed to finding a lasting and peaceful solution.  Germany called on Iran to respond positively and constructively to offers of engagement.

WANG MIN ( China) expressed hope that the Committee would continue to advance the implementation of resolution 1737 (2006), and that the Panel would continue to adhere firmly to impartiality.  All parties were duty-bound to implement the resolution accurately and in good faith, but sanctions were not the Council’s ultimate objective; the Iranian nuclear issue could be finalized only through dialogue and cooperation, he stressed.

The region was undergoing profound changes, and against that background, all parties should commit firmly to seeking the appropriate result through dialogue, he said.  For the sake of the non-proliferation regime, greater diplomatic efforts should be made to promote substantive progress on dialogue and cooperation between IAEA and Iran, he said.  As a State party to the NPT, Iran was entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and should also fulfil its obligations in that regard.  Appropriate solutions should be sought to the outstanding issues so as to strengthen the international community’s confidence on the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, he said.

JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said he shared the sense of urgency on the need to release the Panel’s final report, in order to increase transparency.  Among other deep concerns, Iran’s enrichment of uranium to a level with no possible civilian use must be a subject of full and thorough clarification, he said, emphasizing that IAEA must be provided with exhaustive responses to all its questions and granted unfettered access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.  Expressing support for the two-track approach, he called on Iran to engage in confidence-building measures that would pave the way to a comprehensive and long-lasting settlement that would assure the international community of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

IVAN BARBALIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said he also looked forward to the publishing of the Panel’s final report, and to stronger outreach by the Committee to Member States.  Only full implementation of the NPT safeguards agreements by all Member States could ensure that nuclear energy was used exclusively for peaceful purposes, he said, stressing that all States, without exception, must fulfil their commitments in a transparent manner.  In that context, Bosnia and Herzegovina remained concerned about Iran’s nuclear activities, particularly following the latest IAEA report, he said, calling on the country to fulfil its obligations under the NPT and Security Council resolutions, as well as for redoubled efforts to reach a negotiated solution.

ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI ( Gabon) also urged the Committee to place the Panel’s final report on its website.  Pledging his country’s continuing commitment to the NPT and its three pillars, he emphasized that implementation of that Treaty should be unambiguous.  He expressed deep concern over the latest IAEA report on Iran, saying the country must cooperate with IAEA and meet its commitments under the NPT in order to build international trust in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  Iran must also return to negotiations without preconditions, he said, noting that its activities related to ballistic missiles were also worrisome.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation), Council President, spoke in his national capacity, encouraging the Panel of Experts to remain rooted in impartiality and independence, and to use only reliable sources and accurate information.  Stressing the need for strict compliance with the sanctions resolution, he described the November resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors as “a new type of instrument”, which should lay a solid basis for the issue at hand.  It should be seen as aiming not to condemn anyone, but to ease tensions with respect to Iran, he said.

Emphasizing that his country did not deny the existence of problems relating to the need to restore confidence, he said he shared the concerns of the world community in that regard, but warned that attempts to exacerbate the atmosphere could undermine the impact of the IAEA efforts.  The Russian Federation was committed to a phased approach and reciprocity in advancing the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, he said, adding that the IAEA Board of Governors should reaffirm the need to reach a negotiated settlement.  The Russian Federation sought a prompt settlement on Iran, “within the six”, he stressed.

Mr. OSORIO (Colombia) took the floor again and thanked members for their interventions, as well as the experts who had contributed much to the work of the 1737 Committee.  Obviously, a “series of concerns weigh heavily here”, including the problem of publishing reports of the Panel of Experts, he said, adding that he trusted it would be possible to reach an understanding so as to facilitate transparency, not just for Security Council members, but for others hoping for it in connection with the work of the Council’s subsidiary bodies.  Those were very serious concerns, he said, adding that he understood them as a need to intensify the Committees’ work and to continue to provide guidelines to enable the panels to fulfil their mandates.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.