Security Council, in Briefing on Work of Iran Sanctions Committee, Expert Panel, Hears without Compromise Solution, Strict Adherence to Measures Must Continue

12 June 2012
SC/10673

Security Council, in Briefing on Work of Iran Sanctions Committee, Expert Panel, Hears without Compromise Solution, Strict Adherence to Measures Must Continue

12 June 2012
Security Council
SC/10673
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6786th Meeting (PM)

Security Council, in Briefing on Work of Iran Sanctions Committee, Expert Panel,

Hears without Compromise Solution, Strict Adherence to Measures Must Continue

While sanctions imposed on Iran concerning its nuclear programme had been effective, the “cost of acquisition” had not yet forced Iran to reach a compromise solution requiring that strict adherence to the sanctions must continue, the Security Council was told today as it was briefed by the head of the Committee charged with monitoring those sanctions.

Néstor Osorio (Colombia), who chairs the “1737 Committee” — named for the 2006 Security Council resolution that established it — relayed the 2012 final report of the Committee’s Panel of Experts, a group of seven members first established in 2010, and described the activities of the Committee itself.  Those activities had included correspondence with States on specific allegations of embargo violations by individuals and entities, as well as the subsequent addition of two individuals and one entity to the sanctions list, he said.

Since the Committee’s inception, its mandate has been expanded to apply not only to the measures laid out in resolution 1737 (2006), but also to those imposed in resolutions 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010).  Those measures included a proliferation-sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile programme-related embargo; a ban on the export and procurement of any arms and related materiel from Iran; and a travel ban and an assets freeze on designated persons and entities. 

Mr. Osorio reported that, between 21 March and 11 June, the Committee had received several communications with regard to the enforcement of sanctions against Iran.  Those included a report of shipments confiscated by one Member State and measures implemented to avoid the shipment of prohibited cargo that could be used in nuclear programmes.  Another State had asked for clarification about whether a person of Iranian nationality was, in fact, the same as the one listed on the sanctions list, while another had asked for orientation with regard to the scope of the assets freeze measures imposed on Iran.  The Committee was gathering information in order to prepare replies to each of those queries, he said.

On 29 March, he said, the Committee approved its final report for 2011.  Meanwhile, the Panel of Experts — whose mandate had last week been extended until June 2013 — had presented its final report of 2012 to the Committee.  The members had welcomed that report, he said, and felt that it was of high quality.  Several members of the Committee had also asked it to follow up on the report, including on the names and entities included on the list.

Additionally, he said, the Committee planned to hold an informational session with the wider United Nations membership on 9 July, with the participation of the Panel of Experts, in order to answer any questions that Member States might have about the work of either body.

Speaking after the briefing, Council members expressed their support for the work of the Panel and satisfaction with its report.  That document painted a comprehensive picture of sanctions against Iran, said the representative of France, noting that those sanctions had hampered the acquisition of nuclear ballistic material.  Moreover, by adding to its list of those who had violated the embargo against Iran, the Committee had proven that violations “would not go unpunished”.  He called on Iran to establish trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, noting that the “E3+3” negotiating group — France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, the Russian Federation and the United States — had proposed specific steps in that regard.  If adopted, those would be the first steps towards a negotiated settlement of the issue, he said.

The representative of the United States, while joining in lauding the work of the Expert Panel, nonetheless expressed concern that Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment activities, which contravened Security Council resolutions.  Ongoing negotiations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must produce results, she said, voicing regret that Iran had not followed through on its “agreement to agree” with the IAEA-structured approach to addressing concerns of its programme.

Meanwhile, she recalled, the “P5+1” negotiating group — representing the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany — had held two rounds of talks with Iran and preparations were under way for a new round in Moscow next week.  The P5+1 had laid out proposals dealing with an undeclared enrichment facility and had put forward ideas on reciprocal steps it would be prepared to take.  However, she warned, “the window for diplomacy was not open-ended”, and the group would not engage in talks that did not produce results. 

Striking a different tone, other speakers urged that the international community look beyond sanctions and towards dialogue as the best way to come to an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.  “Security Council sanctions are but one means of resolving” that matter, stressed the representative of Pakistan in that respect.  Moreover, he joined several other delegations in cautioning that sanctions should not be pursued as an end in themselves.  Given the delicate and complex regional environment, he warned against any actions that could escalate tensions and reaffirmed the need for diplomacy and dialogue.  Pakistan was confident that the Committee, the Council and the Panel of Experts would maintain the balance between sanctions and negotiations, he said.

The representative of China echoed that sentiment, expressing his hope that the Committee would continue to carry out its mandate in line with the principles of realism and balance.  He hoped the Panel would implement the relevant resolutions and work under the principles of neutrality and independence, he added.   China did not favour excessive pressure on Iran or unilateral sanctions, he said, calling on all parties to refrain any actions or words that would lead to confrontation.  On the P5+1 discussions with Iran, China underlined its hope for flexibility and respect, as well as a firm push forward in the diplomatic process and settlement of differences through dialogue.  China also welcomed dialogue with the IAEA and encouraged active engagement.

Also speaking were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Germany, South Africa, Guatemala, India, Togo, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Morocco, United Kingdom, and Colombia (in his national capacity).

The meeting was called to order at 3:08 p.m. and adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider non-proliferation, which included a briefing by the Chair of the Committee charged with monitoring sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme — “1737 Committee”.

Briefing

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), in his capacity as Chair, said that during the period between 21 March and 11 June, the Committee held informal consultations and continued its work.  It heard a briefing on the final report of the Panel of Experts for 2012 (document S/2012/395), which found that, although the sanctions had been effective, the “cost of acquisition” had not yet forced Iran to reach a compromise solution.  In that vein, the group had recommended that all countries be reminded of the need to enforce the provisions of the sanctions against Iran.

Consultations had been held with States, as well as seminars and workshops.  The members welcomed the final report of the Panel of Experts, which was of high quality and showed strong research.  Several members of the Committee asked it to follow up on the report, including on the names and entities included on the list.  Other members stressed the need for the group to continue working in the framework of the mandate.  Several members also recommended that the Panel consider possible synergies with other groups of experts.

Also during the reporting period, he noted that the Committee added the names of two individuals and one entity to the list of those on which sanctions were imposed.  The Committee had received several communications with regard to the enforcement of those sanctions, including a report of shipments confiscated by one Member State and measures implemented to avoid the shipment of prohibited cargo that could be used in nuclear programmes.  Another State had asked for clarification about whether a person of Iranian nationality was, in fact, the same as the one listed on the sanctions list.  Another had asked for orientation with regard to the scope of the assets freeze measures imposed on Iran.  The Committee was gathering information in order to prepare replies to each of those queries.

Regarding the case of a possible arms transfer from Iran to Syria, Syria, upon request by the Committee for more information, had denied the allegation, he said, adding that the deadline for the presentation of that information was subsequently extended.

On 29 March, he noted, the Committee approved its final report for 2011, and on 9 July, an informational meeting would be held to present the mandate and the activities of the Committee to Member States, and to answer questions.

With regard to the activities of the Panel of Experts, the group had issued a report on previous violations presented to the Committee, as well as its final report for 2012.  On 7 June, the Security Council had extended the Panel’s mandate until 9 July 2013.  With regard to the national enforcement of sanctions, the Panel had transmitted to the Committee its quarterly assessment on the application of sanctions for the period from February to June 2012.  For that period, Viet Nam and Luxembourg had sent reports on the enforcement of resolution 1929 (2010).

Statements

ROSEMARY DICARLO (United States) said that over three months, there had been new reminders that Iran’s illicit nuclear programme was among the gravest threats to international peace and security.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General had reported that Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment activities, which contravened Security Council resolutions.  It continued to install centrifuges at two previously clandestine facilities and stockpile low and enriched uranium.   Iran also continued to enrich uranium to near 20 per cent, near weapons-grade, in quantities that exceeded limits.  Such developments were compounded by Iran’s denial of IAEA requests for access to areas required to resolve outstanding issues.

Ongoing negotiations between Iran and the IAEA must produce results, she said, voicing regret that Iran had not followed through on its “agreement to agree” with the IAEA-structured approach to addressing concerns of its programme.  Iran must take steps to resolve issues relating to its nuclear programme, without delay.  The United States supported the recent decision by the 1737 Committee to impose sanctions on two individuals and one entity.  She also commended the Panel of Experts for its well-researched final report and adherence to high methodological standards.  The United States was troubled by its characterization of Syria.  That country’s refusal to implement sanctions on Iran should be a matter of concern.

She said Iran’s continued missile activity and links to the missile activity of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea merited more scrutiny.  The United States was determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon through a dual-track approach of pressure and diplomatic engagement.  The “P5+1” had held two rounds of talks with Iran and preparations were under way for a new round in Moscow next week.  The “P5+1” had laid out proposals dealing with an undeclared enrichment facility and had put forward ideas on reciprocal steps it would be prepared to take.  “The window for diplomacy was not open-ended,” she said, making clear the group would not engage in talks that did not produce results.  The “P5+1” was united in seeking swift resolution to problems surrounding Iran’s programme and hoped Iran would take concrete steps to address international concerns.

ALEXANDER A. PANKIN ( Russian Federation) said the 1737 Committee had carried out the tasks assigned to it, underlining the importance that it act in a balanced, objective manner.  “This needs to continue,” he said.  The report by the Panel of Experts was more balanced than its previous documents and most of its recommendations fell within its mandate.  It must undertake its activities on an impartial basis and use credible information.  The Russian Federation had complied with all Security Council resolutions on Iran.

However, he said, the effectiveness of sanctions — and the unity of action on outstanding issues — had been hampered by additional unilateral sanctions.  Those sanctions could have extraterritorial effect, which was unacceptable.  The Russian Federation had always called for a solution to nuclear programme matters through use of diplomatic methods and on an incremental basis.  Proposals by the six negotiators had been submitted to Iran in Baghdad.  He trusted that at the meeting in Moscow, consideration of those proposals would begin.  The negotiation process must continue beyond that upcoming round.

PETER WITTIG (Germany) said “E3+3” continued to strive for a diplomatic solution to issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme, having engaged in new negotiating rounds in Istanbul and Baghdad.  It had reached agreement with Iran for the next round of talks to take place in Moscow on 18 and 19 June.  He called on Iran to engage seriously in meaningful discussions on concrete steps to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme.  Seriously concerned at Iran’s lack of cooperation to date, he said it was imperative that it intensify its cooperation with the IAEA, with a view to resolving all substantive issues.

Also critical, he said, was for the existing sanctions regime to be implemented by all States.  The 1737 Committee and its Panel of Experts had an important role to play in that regard, and its report should help Member States in their implementation efforts.  The Council’s release of that report to the broader membership was an important step that provided States with appropriate guidance on the sanctions’ implementation.  Germany was ready to engage in a serious dialogue about the report’s recommendations, and strongly supported the listing of sanctions violators.  He reiterated concern at Iran’s weapons exports to Syria and Hizbullah, stressing Germany’s determination to find a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue.

BASO SANGQU (South Africa) said that the report of the Chairperson of the Panel of Experts to the Council on 1 June had been a good step forward.  He was encouraged by the ongoing engagement between the IAEA and Iran over concerns about the latter’s nuclear programme.  South Africa believed that the engagement was consistent with decisions taken at the November 2011 session of the IAEA Board of Governors, and urged Iran and the Agency to continue to work in a constructive and flexible manner and to seek continued opportunities for both parties to engage on the remaining differences as soon as possible.  South Africa was further encouraged by the positive atmosphere that appeared to have characterized the recent talks between the E3+3 and Iran, and urged those taking part in the upcoming round of discussions in Moscow to work diligently for progress and a positive outcome.

He said that as the 1737 Committee examined the report submitted by the Panel of Experts, it should agree on a way forward that was consistent with calls for the peaceful resolution of concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities.  However, he warned, “this process must also avoid creating further antagonism that will only harden positions against States involved in resolving the concerns of the international community”.  South Africa called upon Iran to continue to cooperate with the IAEA, and to fulfil its obligations, in order to ensure that all outstanding issues were clarified.  “A sustainable solution will be one that restores international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” he concluded.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) welcomed the unanimous adoption of resolution 2049 (2012) by the Security Council last week, which had extended the mandate of the Expert Panel, an “indispensible component of the sanctions regime applied to Iran”.  Its practical work supported the 1737 Committee, the prime focus of which must be the continued implementation of the Council’s resolutions.  The addition of two individuals and one entity in cases of non-compliance showed that the sanctions were, in fact, being correctly implemented.  Guatemala took note of the Panel’s final report; it supported its recommendations and hoped the report would be published for purposes of transparency.  During the reporting period, the Committee had received notifications from Member States on purported sanctions violations, and had stepped up its outreach activities to prevent any breaches.

Rounds of dialogue had begun in Istanbul in April, he recalled, and would continue in Moscow this month.   Guatemala firmly supported the “two-channel focus”, and hoped that a favourable environment towards a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue would be found.  His delegation further supported the balanced application of the three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The instrument established the basis of what should be Iran’s serious commitment to non-proliferation, while also establishing the country’s right to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which should be respected.

MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India) welcomed the submission of the final report, as well as the extension of the Panel’s mandate.  India expected that the Panel would continue to assist the 1737 Committee on the implementation of the Council’s resolutions in an “independent, objective and transparent manner”.  It also supported the Chair’s intention to hold an open briefing along with the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts for interested Member States and to answer any questions they might have.  India had consistently supported the right of all nations to peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with international treaties to which they were a party.  Iran should fully cooperate with the IAEA to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, he said.  In that connection, India welcomed the recent exchanges between Iran and the Agency, including the visit of the Agency’s Director General to Teheran.  It also welcomed the talks between the P5+1 and Iran, held in Istanbul and Baghdad in the last two months, and hoped that those would continue in Moscow next week.  India supported the full implementation of Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue.  However, he stressed, “while implementing these resolutions, it is necessary that all efforts be made so that legitimate trade and economic activities do not suffer”.

KOKOU NAYO MBEOU (Togo) said that since adoption of resolution 1737 (2006), relations between Iran and the various structures created to combat nuclear weapons proliferation had barely improved.  The “crisis of confidence” had worsened in recent months.  The IAEA report had stressed that Iran’s enrichment activities continued and uranium enrichment had extended to military activities.  He regretted that the constantly expressed will of the IAEA had still to receive a response from Iran.  That was typical of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.  Iran must meet its commitments stemming from the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons), the agreement linking it to the IAEA and negotiations with the P5+1.

Welcoming negotiations held 23 and 24 May in Baghdad, he also noted the Iranian President’s statement voicing hope that the Moscow meeting would generate conclusions that would constitute a guarantee of a reset in relations between Iran and others.  Sanctions imposed under the United Nations coexisted with those introduced by other States.  The Panel of Experts had noted concern at that overlap.  Given that few States had provided information on their implementation of Council resolutions, he proposed that visits, inspections and seminars be held to assist the Committee to highlight States’ role in implementing the resolutions.

JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal), commending the Panel’s report, which provided useful recommendations, also lauded the 1737 Committee for the addition of two people and one entity for their non-compliance activities.   Portugal supported the idea for the Committee to intensify its outreach activities aimed at encouraging States to implement measures.  The sanctions regime was slowing Iran’s capability to evolve nuclear missile programmes.

Encouraged by discussions held in Baghdad and the prospect of others in Moscow, he said it was imperative to pursue further talks.  Following a visit by the IAEA Director General to Iran, Portugal hoped that Iran could resume cooperation with the Agency.  He called on Iran to implement the Structure Approach document to ensure that cooperation would be provided in full.  Portugal agreed that sanctions were not an end in itself.  It was crucial to follow the dual-track approach.  In sum, he reaffirmed Portugal’s longstanding commitment to resolving the Iranian nuclear issue under the dual-track strategy.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) welcomed the extension of the Panel’s mandate, saying it was essential that it continue its outreach activities, which played a key role in increasing the number of national implementation reports from Member States.  He commended the Committee’s efforts to enhance implementation of the sanctions measures.  He also welcomed the Panel’s draft final report.

He said Azerbaijan attached utmost importance to prevent the use of its territory as a transit route for the illicit trafficking of materials related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.  Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons was the most important security challenge today, but in pursuing those goals, the Council could not deny the right of any country to develop its nuclear industry for exclusively peaceful purposes.

LOTFI BOUCHAARA (Morocco) recalled with satisfaction that the Panel of Experts had made a visit to his country.  Having considered its final report, he congratulated its members for the high quality of their work.  He hoped that the Committee would reach consensus on the report’s publication.  In the same spirit, Morocco supported the intention of the Chair to hold an informational session for the wider United Nations membership on 9 July.

He stressed that outstanding issues on the Iranian nuclear programme had not yet been resolved; however, Morocco was pleased at resumed talks between the P5+1 and Iran.  Diplomacy and dialogue was the only way forward on those issues, and resolving them could only be accomplished by respecting the relevant Council resolutions and adhering to the IAEA demands, including the fulfilment by Iran of its obligations on required information and access.  “The non-proliferation regime cannot be weakened,” and all States must scrupulously respect their obligations in that area.  The regime was based on the fundamental balance of the rights and obligations of States, and all should respect that balance.

RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan) said that his delegation shared the view that the Panel needed to undertake its work as outlined in its mandate and under the guidance of the Committee.  Now that the Council had adopted a resolution extending the Panel’s mandate, its composition needed to reflect a broader geographic balance, particularly with regard to developing countries.  Pakistan took note of the recent IAEA report on the implementation of Agency safeguards in Iran, as well as recent talks on the matter, and hoped that progress would continue during the upcoming talks in Moscow. 

However, he said, “Security Council sanctions are but one means of resolving” the Iranian nuclear issue.  They should not be pursued as an end in themselves.  Given the delicate and complex regional environment, he warned against any actions that could escalate tensions, and he reaffirmed the need for diplomacy and dialogue.  Pakistan was confident that the Committee, the Council and the Panel of Experts would maintain the balance between sanctions and negotiations, he said.

MARTIN BRIENS (France) said that the Panel’s report had painted a comprehensive picture of sanctions against Iran, which had hampered the acquisition of nuclear ballistic material.  Those steps must continue to be implemented rigorously.  There were concerns about Syria’s active role, which had once again been highlighted by the Panel; that country — which was engaged in bloody activities against its own people — was allegedly involved in the illicit transfer of weapons with Iran, as well as in cases reported to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea sanctions committee.  Those were serious allegations, he stressed.

He said France appreciated the professionalism of the Panel of Experts, and was pleased that its final report for 2012 was available to everyone.  However, its task was not over — “far from it”.  Its renewal was an additional message to Iran on the commitment of the international community to finding a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.  The Committee, which had added to its list of violations of the arms embargo, had thereby proven that violations “would not go unpunished”.  There was once again a troubling report by the IAEA Director General, which stated that Iran continued to refuse to fulfil its international obligations.  In that vein, Iran continued to produce 20 per cent enriched uranium.   France called on Iran to establish trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  The E3+3 group had proposed specific steps in that regard, which, if adopted, would be the first steps towards a negotiated settlement of the issue.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the latest IAEA report showed that Iran’s nuclear programme continued to develop, contravening Security Council resolutions.  Iran continued to enrich uranium up to 20 per cent and expand its enrichment production capacity.  It had failed to provide information to the IAEA regarding its announcement to construct 10 uranium enrichment facilities.  It had been six months since Iran said it was ready to engage with IAEA on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear programme.  Since then, it had failed to take serious steps to address genuine concerns.  “The international community needs Iran to turn statements of intent into concrete actions,” he said, urging the country to provide the IAEA with access to the right people, places and documents.

He said that the Panel noted in its report that, while sanctions had hindered Iran in procuring some items for its nuclear programme, prohibited activity continued.  Iran’s ballistic missile programme continued with prohibited launches, and the country was illegally transferring conventional arms.  The United Kingdom welcomed the Panel’s recommendations for the Committee’s next steps, supporting the two clear designation proposals.  He also agreed the Committee could engage in more outreach to States and encourage reports of non-compliance.  He looked forward to the Committee’s planned open meeting, which would be an important opportunity to discuss its work with the wider United Nations membership.  The E3+3 had set out steps it hoped Iran would take and was awaiting Iran’s serious engagement on its proposal.   Iran’s failure to respond would pave the way for intensified pressure from sanctions.

LI BAODONG (China), speaking in his national capacity, said he hoped the Committee would continue to carry out its mandate in line with the principles of realism and balance.  On 7 June, the Security Council had adopted resolution 2049 (2012) extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts.  He hoped the Panel would implement the relevant resolutions and work under the principles of neutrality and independence.  In addressing Iran’s nuclear issue, resolutions should be implemented, but sanctions were not an end in itself.

China did not favour excessive pressure on Iran or unilateral sanctions, he said, calling on all parties to refrain from any actions or words that would lead to confrontation.  On the P5+1 discussions with Iran, China underlined its hope for flexibility and respect, as well as a firm push forward in the diplomatic process and settlement of differences through dialogue.  To that end, China would play a constructive role.   China also welcomed dialogue with the IAEA and encouraged active engagement.

Taking the floor a second time, Mr. OSORIO said the Panel of Experts had coordinated its work and acted with enormous professionalism.  He was certain that the renewal of its mandate would allow for its continued assistance and more reports on how the sanctions regime was being exercised.  States had stressed that the Committee’s work should be extended and that it should undertake outreach activities.  The open briefing planned for 9 July would be important in that regard, he said, notably from the perspective of transparency.  It also would make a clear call for States to contribute to the proper functioning of the sanctions regime and follow their obligations to notify the Committee.

Speaking in his national capacity, he voiced hope that the P5+1 negotiations would be as successful as possible and that the coming meeting would be fruitful.

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