|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7146th Meeting (PM)
Chair of Sanctions Committee on Iran Briefs Security Council
ahead of Debate on Recent Developments
The Committee charged with monitoring sanctions on Iran had twice reached out to that country about findings by its Panel of Experts that launches of Shahab 1 and 3 missiles had contravened resolution 1929 (2010), while an arms shipment to Yemen was a probable breach of resolution 1747 (2007), its Chair told the Security Council today.
Briefing members on the latest report of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, Gary Quinlan (Australia) said Iran had not responded to its outreach. While mindful of ongoing talks between Iran and the “P5+1” (China, France, Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom, plus Germany) following the Joint Plan of Action agreed in Geneva on 24 November 2013, “the work of both the Committee and the Panel of Experts remain unchanged for 2014”, he said. Council measures imposed by its resolutions remained in effect, obliging Member States to duly implement them.
He went on to say that several Member States had reported on their enforcement actions, noting that one had reported on steps it had taken to prevent Iran’s multiple attempts in 2011 and 2012 to procure carbon fibre, a suspected violation. The Committee also had discussed the Panel’s recommendations in its May 2013 report, noting it could consider designating an entity the Panel had found to be violating resolution 1929 (2010) for procuring valves for use in the Arak heavy water reactor.
When the floor was opened for debate, Council members recalled that the bulk of sanctions remained in place and should be robustly enforced, expressing concern at Iran’s possible breaches of international obligations vis-à-vis an intercepted arms shipment to Gaza this month, the launch of “prohibited” Great Prophet 7 missiles in April 2013, and the intercepted arms shipment to Yemen. Several urged Iran to resolve pending issues and clarify whether its nuclear programme had a possible military dimension.
The United States’ delegate expressed concern about United Nations sanction violations, reminding the Committee that it should be prepared to tighten enforcement and encouraging the Panel to present as much information as possible in its next report on compliance.
At the same time, several other delegates welcomed the recent report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s application of the safeguards agreement, with Argentina’s delegate calling it “auspicious” that the Agency had recognized that Iran had fulfilled its joint agreement obligations.
Noting that cooperation between IAEA and Iran had reached a new level, the representative of the Russian Federation said the current sensitive stage must move forward carefully. He welcomed that ongoing negotiations in Vienna between the P5+1 and Iran had yielded detailed discussions of sanctions, uranium enrichment and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as well as allayed concerns about the heavy water reactor. The main objective was the eventual lifting of all sanctions.
Along similar lines, China’s delegate said the latest rounds of P5+1 talks had resulted in consensus on issues of concern. China had proposed a number of suggestions, including creating an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue, which it had always tried to promote.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Chile, Republic of Korea, Jordan, Nigeria, Lithuania, Rwanda, Chad and Luxembourg.
The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 4:13 p.m.
The Security Council met this afternoon to discuss the work of its Iran Sanctions Committee during the period from 13 December 2013 to 19 March 2014.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), Chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, said the subsidiary body had twice reached out to Iran last year about the incidents investigated by the Panel of Experts, which had concluded that Iran’s launches of the Shahab 1 and 3 missiles contravened resolution 1929 (2010) and that an intercepted arms shipment in Yemen was, at the very least, a probable violation of resolution 1747 (2007). Iran had not replied. Although the Committee remained mindful of ongoing talks between the P5+1and Iran’s compliance with the Joint Plan of Action agreed in Geneva on 24 November 2013, “the work of both the Committee and the Panel of Experts remain unchanged for 2014”, he declared, stressing that Security Council measures imposed by its relevant resolutions remained in effect, obliging Member States to duly implement them.
He noted that several Member States had reported on their enforcement actions; one reported on the steps it had taken to prevent multiple attempts in 2011 and 2012 by Iran to procure carbon fibre suspected of being in violation of Council resolutions. The Panel had concluded that Iran’s attempted procurement of the material in December 2012 had contravened the texts. The Permanent Representative of a Member State named in media reports as having contracted to procure arms from Iran called the Committee Chair to deny the reports. The Panel “is separately engaging” with the country on those reports.
Outlining other efforts undertaken during the reporting period, he said the Committee had responded to requests for guidance from Member States on a range of issues, including notification requirements; engagement with the originating State of seized items; the supply of target-shooting ammunition to Iran for sport shooting; and the updated list of designated individuals, entities and goods to which the sanctions applied. It was working with an international organization to clarify whether a particular proposal for technical assistance to Iran was compatible with the sanctions regime.
Among its other activities, the Committee had engaged with Member States on implementation of the targeted financial sanctions regime, he said. The Committee had itself received assistance from a Member State transmitting a list of persons who had travelled through the country with names similar to those of listed individuals, along with other information. That would allow the Committee to determine any possible violations of the travel ban and, if necessary, strengthen the effectiveness of both that ban and targeted sanctions by adding to the list.
Mr. Quinlan also informed the Council of the outcome of deliberations on the Panel’s recommendations of May 2013. Among its responses, the Committee expressed its readiness to consider designating an entity which the Panel had found to be in violation of resolution 1929 (2010) for procuring valves for use in the Arak heavy water reactor. The Panel also had recommended, among other things, that the Committee encourage States to be alert to attempted procurement of any items destined for an end use prohibited by the resolutions. The Committee continued to discuss whether some form of written guidance for Member States regarding that obligation was necessary. It meanwhile encouraged any Member State with questions concerning the scope of that obligation to contact it.
To the Panel’s recommendation that the Committee consider providing guidance to States on how to implement aspects of the targeted financial sanctions which extend the application of the measure to agents and affiliates of designated persons and entities, he said the Committee noted that the same language was used in other Council resolutions, and it had thus been reluctant to consider the question unilaterally. As for the recommendation that the Committee provide guidance on the modalities surrounding a States’ inspection of cargoes and the possible seizure of suspected banned goods, the Committee was developing a fact sheet and other relevant documents, he said.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said that since the P5+1 had reached an important milestone in November 2013 and rounds of talks had since been held, the interim agreement was a significant step forward with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme. Welcoming the new report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he noted that the bulk of sanctions had remained in place, and added that they should be enforced robustly so economic pressure would continue to be an incentive to Iran. He meanwhile hoped for an investigation into the recently seized Iranian ship containing rockets and headed for the Gaza Strip. Also worrying was Iran’s failure to reply to questions about other incidents, including an arms shipment to Yemen. The United Kingdom was committed to finding a long-term lasting resolution to the issue and would work diligently to do so.
GÉRARD ARAUD (France) said as dialogue had finally begun over the Iranian nuclear situation, he supported the ongoing discussions with a spirit of openness and vigilance. Regarding the latest IAEA report, he said that while progress had been achieved, Iran had not replied to all requests for information on the possible military dimension of its nuclear programme. Turning to sanctions, he was concerned about Israel’s intercept of an Iranian ship carrying weapons to Gaza, which violated the weapons embargo and, thus, called into question Iran’s good faith. Concerning the work of the “1737 Committee”, he lamented that last year’s recommendations had not been fully implemented.
LIU JIEYI ( China) said he hoped the Committee would follow the principles of objectivity, fairness and pragmatism to settle individual cases concerning the sanctions. He welcomed the diplomatic efforts made to date, as well as efforts by the Agency to address outstanding issues with Iran. Negotiations of the P5+1 had unfolded and dialogue with Iran had entered a new stage, he said, emphasizing that the latest rounds of talks had resulted in consensus on issues of concern. China proposed a number of suggestions, including reaching a long-term solution and creating an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue. China had always tried to promote dialogue and was committed to ongoing discussions, he said.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) highlighted the breakthrough agreement in November on the rights of Iran to develop a peaceful nuclear programme. He pointed out that the main objective was the eventual lifting of all sanctions and, once agreement was reached on all sides, a final package should allow for a comprehensive settlement on the basis of compromises in all areas. Welcoming the Vienna round of negotiations, he said it was useful to continue constructive discussions. The next expert consultations would be held next month, he said, noting a tight schedule on contentious issues. Commending cooperation between the IAEA and Iran, he said he was convinced that the current sensitive stage must move forward carefully and that progress on the Iranian issue would have a positive effect on the entire region. The Russian Federation would spare no effort to see a resolution of the outstanding issues, he said.
ROSEMARY A. DICARLO (United States) said the Council had a clear stake in results from the ongoing P5+1 talks. Any deals made during the negotiations must take into account relevant Security Council resolutions. However, she was concerned about United Nations sanction violations, as seen with the Gaza-bound weapons-laden Iranian ship recently seized by Israel. The Committee should be prepared to enforce consequences for violations and must tighten enforcement. She looked to the Committee to step up efforts to ensure implementation of the sanctions. She encouraged the Committee to present as much information as possible in its next report on sanctions compliance. The United States looked forward to working with the Committee to address issues discussed today.
EDUARDO GÁLVEZ (Chile) welcomed the recent report by the IAEA Director General on Iran’s application of the safeguards agreement, and notably, that the agency had recognized that Iran’s highly enriched uranium was decreasing, owing to the 24 November 2013 agreement. Chile had taken note of the issues put forward last trimester and cautioned against taking any action that might be misperceived by the parties. Until an agreement was reached and endorsed by Council, United Nations measures would be in effect. He hoped the Committee would soon have information on the interception of a ship carrying Iranian ballistic missiles to Gaza, in order to determine whether that incident had violated any resolutions.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) expressed hope that the P5+1 process would have a positive influence on other outstanding non-proliferation issues. He underlined the importance of IAEA’s role, including in connection with the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme. Obligations set out in relevant resolutions must be faithfully implemented by all Member States; various communications received from States and organizations had reiterated the importance of the Committee’s role in the sanctions regime. There were overdue pending issues on violation cases and recommendations from last year’s final report had not been implemented. He urged strengthened cooperation to move those pending issues forward before the next report was submitted.
MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina) said it was auspicious that IAEA and Iran had agreed on the next seven steps to be taken, and that the Agency had recognized that Iran had fulfilled its obligations in the joint agreement with the P5+1. That accord reaffirmed the value of diplomatic measures and represented a significant step forward. Her Government had taken note of the Director General’s conclusion that there was much to do to resolve the pending issues and she urged Iran’s cooperation in that and its clarification of possible military dimensions of its nuclear programme, on which progress was lagging. She reiterated concern about the quality of the Committee’s lists of persons subjected to the sanctions, noting that entries must be underpinned by sufficient data in order for States to identify them and apply sanctions.
EIHAB OMAISH (Jordan) welcomed the Committee’s efforts to assist States in the implementation of sanctions resolutions by providing guidance, especially on technical questions. He encouraged the Committee to continue conducting investigations into breaches. It also should consider continued engagement with Iran in order to clarify pending questions, notably the launch of prohibited Great Prophet 7 missiles and on the intercepted arms shipment to Yemen on 23 January 2013. Jordan appreciated the Committee’s efforts to consult with other sanctions committees and issue guidance to States on targeted financial sanctions.
USMAN SARKI (Nigeria) said the latest report had contained a great deal of compelling information. He commended the Committee’s timely responses to States regarding the sanctions regime, including requests sent from Sweden and Turkey, adding that Iran should respond to requests for more information on incidents regarding arms shipments, including a reported arms incident in Yemen. Highlighting some of the Committee’s work, he commended its efforts to alert States about any arms shipments and their end-user agreements.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITÉ (Lithuania) said her country remained concerned with Iran’s failure to comply with requests. The latest IAEA report showed that the Agency was not able to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran was for peaceful purposes. She welcomed the 24 November Plan of Action as a first confidence-building step. She urged Iran to comply with its obligations and said she was encouraged by the fact that a cooperation framework between the IAEA and Iran had been successful. All Security Council sanctions on Iran remained in effect, she said, noting that Members States were obliged to implement them. She welcomed discussions on outstanding issues, among those, Iran’s repeated arms embargo violations. Hopefully, Iran would reply to requests for information on certain incidents, including the seizure of arms in Yemen.
OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE (Rwanda) said his country supported the three pillars of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and underlined that all States had the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He recognized the recent forward steps in talks and hoped that Iran would continue fulfilling its obligations and that an agreement would permanently remove the threat of an Iranian nuclear programme. The Committee should continue to implement Security Council resolutions, and all stakeholders in discussions should refrain from any action that could jeopardize the talks. It was important for all actors to implement sanctions, he said, hoping the panel of experts would properly investigate the case of the Iranian ship reportedly carrying weapons to Gaza.
MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said his country supported the work of the Committee and commended its efforts to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions. The Committee must work to find conclusions to cases, including the launch of Shahab missiles and the shipment of arms to Yemen, which was likely a violation of Security Council resolutions. The ongoing discussions should lead to a solution to issues surrounding Iran, he said.
Council President SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), speaking in her national capacity, commended Catherine Ashton’s efforts to lead negotiations with Iran. Any comprehensive long-term solution must include principles set out in the Plan of Action, she said, hoping Iran would comply with requests. For the first time, the report reflected progress in Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA and its discussions with the P5+1. Measures undertaken by Iran were a positive step forward, but much remained to be done and issues remained unresolved, including questions on the military use of nuclear materials. Restoring the international community’s trust meant that Iran must respect the relevant Security Council resolutions. While awaiting a long-term solution, sanctions would remain in effect. Concerned about reports on Iran’s sale of weapons to Iraq, shipment of weapons to Gaza and other incidents, she was awaiting information and conclusions from the expert panel. Noting discussions were set to continue next month in Vienna, she said the international community should remain vigilant.
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