Security Council Members Urge Tougher Sanctions, Deeper Diplomacy on Iran’s Nuclear Programme as Non-Proliferation Committee Briefs Members

20 September 2012
SC/10770

Security Council Members Urge Tougher Sanctions, Deeper Diplomacy on Iran’s Nuclear Programme as Non-Proliferation Committee Briefs Members

20 September 2012
Security Council
SC/10770
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6839th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Members Urge Tougher Sanctions, Deeper Diplomacy on Iran’s

 

Nuclear Programme as Non-Proliferation Committee Briefs Members

 

Subsidiary Body’s Report Details Activities from 12 June to 12 September

Tougher sanctions and deeper diplomatic efforts would be essential in settling differences over Iran’s nuclear programme, Security Council members heard today during a briefing by the head of its sanctions committee on that country.

Néstor Osorio (Colombia), who chairs the “1737 Committee” — named after the Security Council resolution that established it in 2006 — presented the latest report of the subsidiary body’s Panel of Experts, which describes its activities from 12 June to 12 September 2012.

During the reporting period, he said, the Committee had received several communications from Member States on the implementation of relevant Security Council measures and requests for exemptions.  It had granted two separate exemptions, requested by Member States, by which it had authorized access to certain economic resources to enable the purchase by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization of chemical and other items to develop radiopharmaceutical products for medical or humanitarian purposes.  It had also authorized a travel-ban exemption for a designated Iranian national invited to attend the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held in Vienna earlier this month.

He said the Committee had also received a communication from a Member State in response to its request for additional information in connection with the previously reported inspection and seizure of a shipping container full of arms on board the MS Finland.  It had also received three communications informing it of deliveries for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, he said, adding that it was seeking full cooperation from Member States in gathering information about a March 2011 incident involving the inspection and seizure of three shipping containers full of arms and related materiel on board the M/V Victoria.

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), 1929 (2010) and 2049 (2012).  The measures include a proliferation-sensitive embargo related to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes; a ban on the export and procurement of arms and related materiel from Iran; and a travel ban and assets freeze on designated persons and entities.

Speaking after the briefing, Council members expressed strong support for the work of the Committee and the Panel of Experts, while at the same time expressing divergent views on sanctions and the way forward towards resolving Iran’s nuclear issues.  A number of Members also expressed concern about Iranian arms exports to Syria.

Echoing a number of fellow Council members, France’s representative said the latest IAEA report showed that Iran continued to defy its non-proliferation obligations.  “We only ask for one thing, to negotiate, and Iran is not doing so,” he said.  In addition, Iran had continued to bypass the sanctions regime and remained in violation of its obligations regarding the arms embargo for the benefit of Syria, he said, suggesting that stricter sanctions should be imposed.

The representative of the United States declared:  “Iran’s approach remains to deny, deceive and distract.”  Citing Iran’s continuing defiance of its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and Security Council resolutions, she stressed that the Council must work harder to ensure the implementation of its resolutions.  Iran’s ballistic missile programme also required effective action on the Council’s part, she said, adding that her country remained committed to a negotiated solution that would restore confidence and lay out clear proposals on how to achieve that.  The onus was on Iran to respond constructively, she said, adding that “time is wasting”.

Other speakers urged deeper diplomatic efforts by the international community.  South Africa’s representative said sanctions were not an end in themselves, but they should encourage progress on the nuclear issue.  Calling on all the parties concerned to refrain from antagonistic activities, he said continued dialogue was “the only option”.

China’s representative agreed, saying that his country was firmly against the use or threat of use of force.  Dialogue and cooperation were the way forward, he emphasized, adding that that had been the message days ago, upon the adoption by the IAEA Board of Governors of a resolution urging Iran to cooperate with the Agency.

The Russian Federation’s representative also expressed support for the latest IAEA resolution, saying it was balanced and included language aimed at stepping up dialogue while containing no threat to or judgment of any party.

Other speakers were representatives of Pakistan, United Kingdom, India, Guatemala, Portugal, Morocco, Togo, Azerbaijan and Germany.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11:10 a.m.

Background

Meeting this morning to consider the question of non-proliferation, the Security Council was expected to hear a briefing by the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), informally known as the 1737 Committee.

Briefing by Committee Chair

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), Chair of the “1737 Committee” — named after the Security Council resolution that established it in 2006 — presented the latest report of the subsidiary body’s Panel of Experts, which describes its activities from 12 June to 12 September 2012.  They included exchanging correspondence with Member States on alleged violations of Iran’s obligations, the lifting of a travel ban on an individual, and export authorizations for specified items.

During the reporting period, he said, the Committee had received several communications from Member States on the implementation of relevant Security Council measures and requests for exemptions.  It had granted exemptions on two separate requests by Member States, by which it had authorized access to certain economic resources to enable the purchase by Iran’s Atomic Energy organization of chemical and other items to develop radiopharmaceutical products for medical or humanitarian purposes.  It had also authorized a travel-ban exemption for a designated Iranian national invited to attend the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference held in Vienna earlier this month.

He said the Committee had also received a communication from a Member State in response to its request for additional information in connection with a previously reported inspection and seizure of a shipping container of arms on board the MS Finland.  Following another communication, on the arrest of four individuals allegedly involved in illegal trafficking of special valves for use in a heavy-water reactor in August, the Committee had welcomed an invitation to visit the concerned State to discuss the case with the relevant authorities.  It had also received three communications from a Member State informing it of deliveries for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, he said, adding that the Committee was seeking full cooperation from Member States in gathering information about a March 2011 incident involving the inspection and seizure of three shipping containers of arms and related materiel on board the M/V Victoria.

Statements

ASIM IFTIKHAR AHMAD ( Pakistan) said the growing rhetoric and threats of confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme threatened to destabilize the region and beyond.  Dialogue and diplomacy were the only solution, he added, emphasizing that Iran should fulfil its legal obligations under the non-proliferation regime, but its rights under the relevant instruments should be duly respected.  He urged the “P5+1” as well as Iran to build on the talks it had begun this year.  As for the 1737 Committee, he said it must adhere strictly to its mandate to ensure effective implementation of the sanctions, keeping in mind that they were not an end in themselves and that a balance was needed between sanctions and negotiations.  He also proposed that Committee’s composition become more diverse, with broader geographic representation in order to create greater awareness of its activities among Member States.

MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom), voicing approval of the Committee’s work, said he hoped it would meet early in the next reporting period.  Expressing deep concern over Iran’s nuclear programme, he said it was clear from the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency that the country had yet to prove its peaceful intentions.  It must urgently address the international community’s concerns, he emphasized.  Unfortunately it continued to do the opposite, maintaining its uranium-enrichment activities, with a significant expansion of enrichment capacity, in a way that hampered verification efforts and a worrying lack of cooperation with IAEA.

Despite Iran’s obstruction, however, the United Kingdom and its negotiating partners would continue to pursue dialogue in good faith, asking for reasonable steps to allay the international community’s fears, he said, adding that until Iran took those steps, there would undoubtedly be further pressure.  Its supply of weaponry to Syria was also of deep concern, as was its support for terrorism, which must evoke a strong international response.  Iran had a clear choice:  to enter into constructive dialogue and action to address international concerns and continue with a civil nuclear programme, or to face further hardships.  “It must make these choices soon,” he stressed.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) pointed out that every three months the Council took note of the latest IAEA report showing Iran’s continued defiance of its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and Security Council resolutions.  The Council could not afford to be complacent as the news grew more ominous with each report, she said, summarizing the findings of the Agency’s latest report.  “ Iran’s approach remains to deny, deceive and distract.”  The Council must work harder to ensure that its resolutions were implemented, she stressed, encouraging the Committee to meet regularly until it had implemented all recommendations aimed at ensuring universal compliance with the sanctions.

Iran’s smuggling of weapons was also of concern, with exports to Syria of deepest concern, she continued.  Procedures to “deny, inspect and seize” must be carried out comprehensively to stop illicit Iranian shipments, in line with the inspection procedures of the relevant resolutions.  Iran’s ballistic missile programme also required effective action on the Council’s part.  Emphasizing that her country remained committed to finding a negotiated solution that would restore confidence in a peaceful Iranian nuclear programme and had laid out clear proposals on how to do that, she said the “P5+1” had offered much in return for basic steps by Iran.  The onus was now on that country to respond constructively.  However, the process could not go on indefinitely, she cautioned, stressing that the international community must remain united in its determination.  “Time is wasting.”

MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India) said his country supported the work of the Committee, which should continue to take a balanced approach to its activities.  Given the current situation, further diplomatic efforts by the international community were needed to resolve Iran’s nuclear issues.  With sanctions in place, Iran’s legitimate trade and economic activities should not suffer in the interim, he stressed.

PIETER VERMEULEN ( South Africa) emphasized that sanctions were not an end in themselves but they should encourage progress on nuclear issues.  A sustainable solution would entail restoring confidence in Iran’s right to pursue nuclear energy, he said, stressing that IAEA remained the sole competent technical authority to verify Iran’s programme.  Even though differences remained, the Agency and Iran were committed, he said, encouraging Iran to continue its cooperation with the IAEA and calling on all parties concerned to refrain from antagonistic activities.  Continuing dialogue was “the only option”.

WANG MIN ( China) said his country hoped the Panel would follow the Council’s mandates on the basis of neutrality and independence.  China was firmly against the use or threat of force, he stressed, adding that dialogue and cooperation were the way forward.  The parties should continue to work towards the principle of mutual respect, taking a pragmatic approach in seeking common ground.  Recalling that just days ago IAEA had adopted a resolution that sought a positive solution through dialogue, he emphasized the need for the continued expansion of diplomatic efforts.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the Committee had acted in a balanced manner, but its effectiveness in settling the Iranian situation was undermined by additional unilateral sanctions.  The Russian Federation supported the latest IAEA resolution, which was balanced and of high quality.  It also contained language aimed at stepping up dialogue, but no threat or judgment of any party, he noted, expressing hope that the resolution would guide future efforts.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said it was essential that the Committee continue to support Member States and respond to communications from them, while at the same time helping to prevent future violations of the sanctions regime.  Welcoming the work of the Committee’s Panel of Experts, he recalled that it had briefly visited Guatemala earlier this month to assist with implementation and provide information on the Committee’s work.  He emphasized the importance of disseminating that information to other United Nations system entities to ensure that their technical assistance programmes were in harmony with the sanctions regime.  Calling for a rapid return to dialogue so as to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, he said Iran’s lack of transparency was the source of the problem.  At the same time, Guatemala recognized its right to develop peaceful nuclear applications, he added, stressing that Iran must provide assurances of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, in accordance with NPT.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France), also welcoming the Committee’s awareness-raising work, said the latest IAEA report showed that Iran continued to defy its non-proliferation obligations.  It also remained in violation of the arms embargo, providing weapons to a Damascus regime that had been murdering its own people for more than a year now.  Calling for an end to those arms transfers, he said Iran’s missile tests were also in violation of its international obligations.  Underlining the need to recognize that discussions between Iran and IAEA had not led to any concrete results, he said the Agency’s latest report heightened suspicions with its new evidence of concealed activities.  It was crucial that Iran cooperate fully with IAEA and suspend all activities conducted in violation of its international obligations.  The current stand-off pitted Iran against the international community as a whole, not merely one or two countries, he pointed out.  While France remained committed to dialogue, discussions so far had been in vain, with Iran accelerating its activities in response to all offers, he noted, urging a build-up of pressure to convince it to engage in constructive dialogue or face isolation.  “We only ask for one thing:  to negotiate, and Iran is not doing so.”

JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal), assuring the Committee of his country’s full support, said the sanctions regime had played an important role in bringing about talks, but Iran had yet to show its willingness to comply with IAEA and Security Council decisions.  The Agency’s last report presented particularly serious concerns, he said, reiterating his country’s long-standing support for a negotiated solution to the issue, bearing in mind the strong concerns of the international community about Iran’s nuclear programme.

LOTFI BOUCHAARA (Morocco), describing nuclear non-proliferation as an important subject to his country, said it was critical to remember that the non-proliferation regime must not be weakened, warning that it would be tested continually unless the provisions of NPT were upheld.

KOKOU NAYO MBEOU ( Togo) emphasized the right of all States to develop research for peaceful purposes, while also calling on Iran not to shirk its obligations.  Concerning the matter at hand, he expressed hope that Iran would continue to work with the “P5+1” to find a negotiated, peaceful solution.

TOFIG MUSAYEV ( Azerbaijan) said he was pleased with the work of the Committee and the Panel, and with the efforts made towards finding a solution to the Iran situation.  He encouraged the continuation of constructive dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the relevant issues.

Council President PETER WITTIG (Germany), speaking in his national capacity, praising the Committee’s work, said that Iran had not engaged seriously in talks aimed at restoring confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  The latest IAEA report was alarming and increased concerns about the programme’s possible military component, he said, adding that he also remained deeply concerned about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and continued export of weapons, including to Syria.  Consistent implementation of sanctions remained crucial, he said, stressing the need for improved implementation.  Without progress towards constructive dialogue soon, the Council must increase the pressure by further strengthening the sanctions regime, he said.

Mr. OSORIO ( Colombia), responding to members’ comments, thanked the Council for supporting the Committee and its Panel of Experts.  Cooperation with all Member States was fundamental to addressing the serious concerns expressed today, he said, pledging that the Committee would continue to work in as transparent a manner as possible in fulfilling its mandate.

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