As negotiations between the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5+1, and Iran continued, measures imposed in Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) were in full effect, the Chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee told the 15-member body today, recalling that States were obliged to implement them.
In his quarterly briefing to the Council, Ambassador Román Oyarzun Marchesi of Spain presented the report of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), which covered 18 December 2014 to 23 March 2015. Welcoming commitment by the parties to continue negotiations towards finding a comprehensive agreement, he said the Committee was ready to provide guidance to States that requested assistance.
While no new incidents had been reported, he said, the Committee had reached out to Iran on several occasions seeking comment in relation to events investigated by the Panel of Experts. He called on Iran to provide a response.
More broadly, he said, the Committee continued to assist States and international organizations in implementing relevant Council measures. It had finalized deliberations on several requests, including those for guidance on whether proposals for technical assistance to Iran in the fields of energy efficiency, refuelling services for aircrafts and mine action were permitted by the sanction measures.
As well, the Committee had received two notifications, he said, including from a State in accordance with paragraph 15 or resolution 1737 (2006). That provision allowed for payments owed by a designated entity — under a contract entered into prior to its designation — to be made from that entity’s frozen funds. Similarly, a State had notified the Committee of its delivery of equipment intended for use in a light water reactor to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, also in accordance with that paragraph. He encouraged States that had not yet submitted national reports to do so, as they were important for enhancing sanctions implementation.
In addition, he said, the Committee, on 30 December 2014, had concluded consideration of recommendations made by the Panel of Experts in its 2014 report. It had taken note of those recommendations and finalized deliberations on information regarding designated individuals in the Sanctions List. In the event of a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, the Committee would revert on the Panel’s recommendation to provide guidance to States on any possible implications for relevant Council measures, once an outcome was known.
In the debate that followed, speakers expressed hope that parties would press ahead in the delicate work to reach a comprehensive — and mutually beneficial — agreement on the Iran nuclear issue by the end-March deadline, with China’s representative encouraging the Committee and its Panel of Experts to help advance that process. “We cannot let this opportunity slip away,” stressed the representative of the Russian Federation. The next round of talks would begin on 26 March and a review of the sanctions regime was needed, as several States had misguidedly introduced sanctions outside the United Nations rubric.
The representative of the United Kingdom said his Government would not agree to a “bad deal”. While it would continue to work to ensure a successful outcome, it was up to Iran to make tough decisions in the coming days. Similarly, the delegate of the United States said “The only reason we are engaging in talks is to deny Iran a nuclear weapon.”
Still others reminded the Council that sanctions were not an end in themselves, but rather a tool to be used in broader diplomatic efforts to seek a positive outcome. All countries had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, some said, with Venezuela’s delegate underlining that Iran was cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Differences remained, said France’s delegate, particularly on research and sanctions. The Agency’s most recent report had shown that progress had been at a standstill since August 2014 and that Iran had not answered several queries.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Jordan, New Zealand, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria, Malaysia, Chad and Angola.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended 4:00 p.m.
WANG MIN (China) said tightening up sanctions was not the way to measure progress. While negotiations were moving forward, the Committee and the Panel of Experts should contribute to international efforts to move that process further ahead. He hoped the panel would work objectively and impartially to produce its report. The possible impact of the talks exceeded the talks themselves, he said, pointing out that recent intense consultations resembled the “final phase of a marathon”. He hoped all parties would continue productively on that last lap so that a mutually beneficial solution could be agreed upon. As one of the parties to the talks, China would continue to contribute towards a comprehensive and long-term solution to that issue.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said all States had a right to use nuclear energy for peaceful means, especially developing countries seeking efficient energy solutions, and compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was essential. He anticipated seeing an agreement resulting from the current talks over Iran’s nuclear programme. That would represent a step in the right direction, the first of steps needed to strengthen regional security. The agreement should not be detrimental to the region’s efforts in dealing with other pressing security issues. He invited Iran’s Government to respond to queries on past violations and encouraged States to provide requested information to the Committee so it could continue its work.
CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) said her country acknowledged current negotiations and was hopeful that talks would result in a comprehensive agreement as it could be a turning point for the relationship between Iran and the international community. It was, however, important to remember that the existing sanctions remained in place and that States had an obligation to implement them. Aware of the challenges involved in implementing complex sanctions regimes, such as those contained in resolution 1737 (2006), she said at the end of the talks with Iran, there would be a need for clear communication with Member States on the implications for the existing sanctions regime.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the recent round of talks had been held to finalize an agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme. The next round of talks would begin on 26 March and all parties must ensure progress in the discussions and parameters for the implementation. “We cannot let this opportunity slip away,” he said. A thorough review of the sanctions regime should also be addressed, he said, noting that several United Nations Member States had misguidedly introduced sanctions outside the United Nations rubric. He looked forward to seeing a final and comprehensive closure of the situation of the Iranian nuclear programme by the resolutions of the Security Council.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) said his Government was committed to finding a comprehensive agreement to the Iran nuclear issue, but would not agree to a “bad deal”. It was up to Iran to take tough decisions in the coming days, as talks had reached an important moment. If issues could be resolved, technical work would follow. The United Kingdom would continue to work with the “E3+3” to ensure a successful outcome. While negotiations continued, the bulk of sanctions remained in place and fully in force, he said, welcoming notifications made regarding designated entities and the delivery of equipment at the Bushehr plant. States must continue to report any violations and enforce relevant sanctions. He expressed concern at Iran’s failure to respond to requests for information, urging the country to engage with the Committee in that regard. He welcomed the Panel of Experts’ range of activities, notably its recommendations on bio-identifiers. The United Kingdom was committed to finding a peaceful, lasting negotiated solution to the Iran issue.
DAVID PRESSMAN (United States) said the Committee had helped States implement four rounds of United Nations sanctions, as well as investigated violations and assembled an “impressive” understanding of Iran’s proliferation networks. Recalling that the “P5+1” was engaged in a serious dialogue with Iran, he said the United States Secretary of State met last week with those parties. Talks had identified “serious and difficult” issues, he said, citing work to find a political framework by the end of March. “The only reason we are engaging in talks is to deny Iran a nuclear weapon,” he said. “Significant” gaps and “important” choices must be made during the negotiations. No deal was better than a bad deal. The discussions must advance the goal that Iran would never acquire a nuclear weapon and that its programme remained exclusively peaceful. The Council must continue monitoring and improving the enforcement of sanctions, while States must continue to report to the Committee.
CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said the Council’s sanctions under resolution 1737 (2006), among other texts, were fully in force during the ongoing negotiations between the “P5+1” and Iran. Those measures did not constitute a solution; they were a tool to be used in a broader diplomatic strategy aimed at restoring trust with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme. As such, it was imperative for the Council to help maintain a positive atmosphere, as it was in everyone’s interest that a broad and lasting agreement be found. Chile had taken note of the 19 February report by the IAEA Director General, he said, supporting the vital work being carried out by the Panel of Experts.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) welcomed progress regarding the Joint Plan of Action and negotiations between the “P5+1” and Iran, urging that talks continue with the goal of reaching a broad, lasting agreement. Cooperation between Iran and the IAEA had continued, he said, underlining the right of Iran — and all developing countries — to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It was most important to build on the positive momentum and not give way to extremist views. Rather, he urged a focus on differences on the basis of dialogue that would lead to the lifting of sanctions on Iran. Welcoming that no new incidents had been reported, he expressed support for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in line with decisions adopted during the renewal of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Council should ensure that all regional countries applied that instrument.
DAINIUS BAUBLYS (Lithuania) said his Government had closely followed efforts by the “E3+3” and Iran to find a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, reiterating that Iran’s willingness to provide verifiable guarantees of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme could lead to a successful outcome of that process. That would require “flexibility and openness” by Iran to bridge remaining gaps. For its part, the European Union had shown significant good will in extending sanctions relief measures with regard to Iranian crude oil, petrochemical products, gold and precious metals. Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA was another vital element in rebuilding trust. He expressed concern that cooperation with the Agency, under the cooperation framework, appeared to have stalled, and he called on Iran to cooperate on all outstanding issues. All Council sanctions imposed on Iran were in full effect and States were obliged to implement them.
KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) said the Committee’s work was commendable, as it remained crucial to ensure that States followed the sanctions regime. His country was concerned that Iran had not responded to two requests from the Panel of Experts and encouraged the Iranian Government to do so. He supported the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and encouraged Iran’s cooperation with the ongoing process. He also hoped for a successful conclusion to the current talks.
SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said all States must adhere to the fundamental principles related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, exercised under full transparency and in compliance with the IAEA and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Welcoming the current negotiations, she hoped all sides would demonstrate the necessary flexibility that would produce an agreement with realistic and achievable goals. As the talks continued, so should the Committee’s work in implementing all relevant Security Council resolutions. Amid heightened levels of anticipation among Member States and the private sector, she expected there would be a pressing demand for more clarity on that matter in the coming weeks.
GOMBO TCHOULI (Chad) regretted to note that internal negotiations were unable to reach an agreement. However, he hoped the ongoing talks would result in an agreement following which the current sanctions against Iran should be lifted. Iran had reported that its nuclear programme was peaceful and he anticipated that a peaceful and negotiated agreement to that country’s nuclear programme would provide a lasting solution.
JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said his country welcomed progress in the talks as well as the commitment shown by all parties. He envisaged that an agreement would be reached by the end of March and hoped a deal could be reached soon so that the crippling sanctions could be lifted. Until then, the sanctions should be honoured and Iran should respond to the Committee’s request. He supported peaceful nuclear energy programmes and recognized Iran’s right to develop such a programme and that there would be no pursuit of a weapons programme, as that would be a serious threat to the region.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said the process of working towards a comprehensive agreement had reached a decisive stage. Over recent weeks, discussions had seen some progress; however, differences of opinion remained, particularly on research and on sanctions. He noted that cooperation with the IAEA constituted an essential part of the agreement. Yet in that regard, the Agency’s most recent report had demonstrated that progress was at a standstill since August 2014 and Iran had not provided answers to several queries. Until an agreement was reached, the Committee must continue to carry out its responsibilities.