|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7211th Meeting (PM)
Questions over Possible Military Aspects of Iran’s Nuclear Programme Main Focus
as Security Council Hears Report by Sanctions-Monitoring Committee
Resolving past and present questions concerning the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme was a central element of the Security Council’s discussion today as it met to hear a briefing by the Chair of the Committee monitoring that sanctions regime.
Gary Quinlan (Australia), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) — the “1737 Committee” — presented the final report of that body’s Panel of Experts, saying they noted a “degree of uncertainty” among some States as to whether Council resolutions remained fully in force as talks between the Council’s “P5+1” and Iran entered a critical stage.
He emphasized that only the Council itself could alter the sanctions regime; absent a new text, the relevant resolutions remained “in full effect”. Urging Member States to report any transaction that they believed was in contravention of the measures, he noted the Committee’s receipt of a report from a Member State on the interdiction in the Red Sea of a vessel carrying conventional arms, including rockets, mortars and ammunition, allegedly loaded on to a vessel in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The Panel of Experts had inspected the seized cargo in April. It had subsequently submitted its findings to the Committee, which was considering its response. The Committee had previously written to Iran in relation to a carbon fibre interdiction, to which it had received no response, he said.
During the ensuing discussion, there was broad agreement among Council members that sanctions resolutions remained in full force unless the Council decided otherwise. Attention focused in particular on the expert panel’s recommendations, notably in connection with its finding that a ship intercepted by Israeli authorities while carrying a cache of weapons had originated in an Iranian port in contravention of the Council’s embargo.
Several delegates expressed concern over the matter and urged Member States to heed the Panel’s recommendations. The representative of the Republic of Korea said the experts’ report provided “clear rationality” for the Council’s continued vigilance. Iran, he added, must respond satisfactorily to all inquiries.
The representative of the Russian Federation, however, rejected any “external” negotiations “at this extremely sensitive phase”, especially concerning a case of alleged weapons smuggling about which there was only “indirect” evidence. Any conclusion or assessment by the experts of information “not backed up by facts” could adversely affect the negotiations as well as cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and should not be included in the report.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Jordan, China, France, Chile, Lithuania, United States, Luxembourg, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and Argentina.
The meeting began at 3:22 p.m. and ended at 4:16 p.m.
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the work of the “1737” Committee on non-proliferation.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), presented the final report of the subsidiary body’s Panel of Experts (document S/2014/394), citing their finding that some States still had a “degree of uncertainty” as to whether Council resolutions on Iran remained fully in force as negotiations between that country and the “P5+1” entered a critical stage. Only the Security Council itself could alter its sanctions measures and until there was a new resolution on the issue, the relevant resolutions “remain in full effect”. Urging Member States to report any transaction that they believed contravened the measures, he noted the Committee’s receipt of a report from a Member State that its naval forces in the Red Sea had interdicted a cargo of conventional arms, including rockets, mortars and ammunition, allegedly loaded on to a vessel in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. He reported that the Panel of Experts, under the Committee’s direction, had inspected the seized arms on 28 and 29 April, and submitted its report to the Committee on 16 June. The Committee had then met with the experts on 23 June to discuss and consider a response. The Committee had written to Iran on 27 March in relation to a carbon fibre interdiction, mentioned in the Chair’s previous two reports, seeking comments. Regrettably, Iran had not yet provided a response. He also reported that cooperation between Council sanctions committees and the Financial Action Task Force continued.
MICHAEL TATHAM (United Kingdom) said the bulk of sanctions imposed on Iran, including those of the United Nations, must remain in place and be fully enforced. The Panel’s investigation of an illicit arms shipment had found the incident to be in violation of the measures. Following another incident involving an arms shipment to Yemen, Iran had failed to respond, he noted, adding that the United Kingdom was committed to finding a solution, as should Iran.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) encouraged the continuation of investigations of matters relating to the weapons shipment in the Red Sea, which constituted a clear violation. With regard to the carbon fibres seized en route to Iran, he welcomed efforts to find a solution.
WANG MIN (China), emphasizing that sanctions were not an end in themselves, said the Committee and the Council should work together in seeking a solution based on clear facts and solid evidence that would deal appropriately with non-compliance. Regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, he said the goal of negotiations was to settle differences, and the parties should remain flexible and pragmatic with a view to finding a solution. China stood ready to work with all parties and to play a constructive role to that end.
ALEXIS LAMEK (France) said Iran must take technical measures to guarantee the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme, and commit to not weaponizing it. Security Council resolutions remained in full force until a global settlement could be reached, he added, while calling attention to the Panel’s finding that a ship intercepted by Israeli authorities while carrying a cache of weapons had originated in an Iranian port and was in violation of the Council’s embargo.
CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said his delegation had accompanied the experts on several visits and had heard queries about the status of the sanctions. The Panel’s final report of 11 June stated that there were great expectations, as well as confusion, in both the private and public sectors over a possible broad agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme. Hopefully, the Committee would be able to reach consensus and move forward on the recommendations of its experts.
DAINIUS BAUBLYS (Lithuania) said he remained concerned about the disturbing pattern of violations relating to the embargo on conventional weapons, noting that the Panel’s final report rightly pointed out that Iran’s actions in that regard stood in clear contrast to its apparent restraint in areas relating to its nuclear programme. The Committee should respond to the latest case involving an attempted transfer from Iran of containers carrying concealed rockets, mortars and related material aboard the vessel Klos C.
Mr. DUNN (United States) said the “P5+1” countries remained determined to resolve issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme and were in line to reach a settlement. Until such an agreement was reached, however, sanctions remained in place. The Panel’s work played a role in diplomatic efforts and it should be taking steps to improve the enforcement of sanctions while responding to violations. With regard to the vessel Klos C, he said the Committee was investigating the case, which provided evidence of Iran’s attempts to smuggle weapons.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) stressed that Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must close the file on its nuclear issue “once and for all”. Welcoming the progress on implementing agreed measures, he urged that Iran should completely cooperate with the “P5+1” and the Agency to resolve present and past issues concerning the possible military dimensions of its nuclear programme. In addition, all Member States should heed the expert panel’s recommendations, including those concerning “proliferation financing”. The panel’s report provided “clear rationality” for the Council to remain vigilant about prohibition activities under its resolutions. The interdiction in the Red Sea of a large arms cache, including rockets, demonstrated the need for such continued vigilance. The 1737 Committee must actively follow up such reports and take effective actions in response to that violation. He urged Iran to cooperate fully with the Committee and respond satisfactorily to its inquiries, including about the carbon fibre matter.
SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg) said Member States would find the reports “full of useful information” on attempts to circumvent the sanctions regime. The recommendations contained in the present report should be implemented. The December 2013 adoption of a plan and its implementation in January this year would bear fruit when consistently applied. Even the most complex cases were “not carved in concrete”. Closing the Iran file was not insurmountable, but the Geneva process was only an intermediate phase leading to a more comprehensive resolution of that dossier. The challenge was not to infringe Iran’s right to the civilian use of nuclear energy; it was about ensuring that its exercise was in full transparency and respect for the IAEA. In expectation of a final agreement, the Council’s sanctions regime must be fully applied. Member States and others must continue to exercise the same vigilance as usual, especially in light of the recently intercepted vessel found to be carrying arms cargo that had been loaded onto the ship at an Iranian port. That episode, according to the panel, was a violation of the sanctions regime. At the same time, the IAEA’s Director-General’s latest report, of 23 May, confirmed that Iran had begun a substantive dialogue with the Agency to clarify pending questions.
Mr. GOMBO (Chad) said the Panel’s final report and its recommendations should be the basis for Committee members to continue discussions. He welcomed Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA, as well as recent high-level negotiations, with a view to reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme by July. However, sanctions violations were deplorable and they needed to evolve to reflect the situation on the ground. There should be an alteration of the sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiation table.
KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) said the Panel’s report had aptly reflected that a comprehensive solution to negotiations with the E3+3 and Iran were “within reach”. However, it also showed a degree of uncertainty regarding the procurement of uranium by Iran and the dual use items that fell below standard thresholds. That situation called for more clarity and the Committee should provide guidance to States. He said he anticipated a successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations by the July deadline.
MABONEZA SANA (Rwanda), pointing to “excessive demands” in the recent round of talks with Iran, voiced hope that negotiators would use the break to rally and come with a list that would lead to a common text by 28 July, as scheduled. The role of the 1737 Committee in support of that process was vital to its success. Only the Council could alter the sanctions measures and the “P5 +1” should take action to facilitate the talks. Violations of the embargo were “unfortunate”, and he urged Iran to desist from any activity that might violate Council decisions. Noting that the Committee, on several occasions, had sought Iran’s comment on the matter, but had not yet received a response, he urged Iran’s engagement with that body. Nonetheless, he noted the country’s compliance with the IAEA and commended the transparency measures taken in that regard.
PÍA POROLI (Argentina) stressed that the Council-imposed sanctions remained in force and must be applied by Member States. Each time the Council considered the three-month report on the Committee’s work, it also received a report from the IAEA on application of the safeguards agreement. Iran had applied several measures in February, and the Agency was studying that information. Iran had also complied with the joint action plan. Although she was encouraged by the good will of all parties, she hoped a final agreement could be reached within the established deadline. The IAEA should continue to monitor and verify activities as part of that plan. In that respect, it was important to supply the Agency with the necessary resources.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his position on the final report’s conclusions, as well as the information on the interdiction, would be made known after a comprehensive examination of the documents. He rejected any “external” negotiations by the Committee “at this extremely sensitive phase”, especially concerning a case of alleged weapons smuggling on which there was “indirect” evidence. Any conclusion or assessment by the experts on any information “not backed up by facts” could adversely affect negotiations, as well as cooperation with the IAEA, and should not be included in the report. The Council should not impose on countries a requirement that they establish a mechanism or determine work modalities; that was voluntary. Furthermore, accountability provisions were contained in Council resolutions. As for certain initiatives advanced in furtherance of the experts’ work, he underscored that the conclusions were “inadmissible unless confirmed by the Committee”. Additionally, he did not support possible joint meetings of Committee 1737 and 1718. The sanctions regimes on Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were different, both in terms of their essence and political background.
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