10 December 2010

Chair of Iran Sanctions Committee Stresses Need to Engage All Member States in Ensuring Compliance with Security Council Resolutions

10 December 2010
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6442nd Meeting* (AM)

Chair of Iran Sanctions Committee Stresses Need to Engage All Member States

in Ensuring Compliance with Security Council Resolutions


In Final Briefing, He Voices Concern

Over Arms Embargo Violations as Permanent Members Call for Resumed Dialogue

It was critical to engage all Member States in implementing measures intended to encourage Iran’s compliance with resolutions relating to its nuclear programme, Tsuneo Nishida ( Japan), Chair of the Committee monitoring those sanctions, said today in his final briefing to the Security Council.

Mr. Nishida, whose country concludes its two-year term on the Council at the end of this month, said timely analysis and feedback relating to national implementation reports submitted by Member States was important in increasing the number of submissions, which remained low.  Regular briefings, including the active engagement of the Committee’s recently appointed Panel of Experts, could also help garner stronger support for the implementation of resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010), he added.  “This can only be done as long as Member States are fully informed of the work of the Committee and the Panel, as well as their respective roles in fulfilling the obligations of these resolutions.”

Regarding sanctions violations identified during his tenure as Chair, Mr. Nishida said a number of Member States had promptly reported cases under their jurisdiction, which demonstrated their strong commitment to carrying out their responsibilities.  Thus far the Committee had received 92 reports under resolution 1737 (2006), 79 under resolution 1737 (2007), 68 under resolution 1803 (2008) and 45 under resolution 1929 (2010).

In his final 90-day report, covering the period from 16 September to December 2010, Mr. Nishida expressed grave concern that an apparent pattern of violations of the ban on arms transfers from Iran, first highlighted publicly by the Committee a year ago, was continuing.

He said the Committee had received communications from two Member States, the first of which detailed how the country concerned had seized 13 shipping containers of illegal arms.  The results of its investigation would be forthcoming, he said, adding that the Committee had recommended that the country retain the seized containers and encouraged it to invite the Panel of Experts to inspect their contents.  Mr. Nishida said the second Member State had reported that authorities at one of its harbours had seized a container, originating from Iran and destined for Syria, holding the high-potential explosive “T4” or “RDX”.  As in the first case, the Member State had been carrying out investigations under guidance provided by the Committee, he added.

Reporting on other work, he said that in November the Committee approved two hand-outs clarifying Member States’ obligations under the sanctions resolutions, as well as the role of the Committee and its Panel of Experts.  The Committee had also approved one exception to the freeze on assets and considered three notifications in connection with the receipt and/or unfreezing of funds to make payments due under contracts entered into prior to the listing of the entities involved.  There had also been a delisting request submitted through the focal point process outlined in the annex to resolution 1730 (2006), he noted.  Important work ahead included consideration of the forthcoming interim report of the Panel of Experts, and a comprehensive review of implementation reports.

The five permanent Council members then took the floor to thank the outgoing Chair for his work, welcome the appointment of the Panel of Experts and urge stronger compliance with the sanctions regime, while expressing hopes for resumed dialogue with Iran to resolve the nuclear question.  In addition, the representatives of the United Kingdom, France and the United States expressed deep concern about the country’s continuing nuclear activities, and its denial of access to its facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom) said the “dual track” strategy — dialogue and pressure — must include rigorous implementation of the sanctions resolutions, in light of two new and serious breaches of Iran’s international obligations.  Indeed, today’s briefing had correctly identified what could be considered a pattern of “flagrant violations” and non-compliance, he said, urging the Committee to consider recommendations for preventing further violations and sanctions-evasion tactics by Iran.

In light of those and other revelations, he said, the Panel of Experts would have a full agenda as it carried out its mandate, whether providing advice and assistance on implementation of Council edicts or travelling to various regions.  The United Kingdom would continue to support such efforts, as well as wider outreach initiatives being launched by the Committee.  In the future, and with the Panel’s experts, the Committee might also consider briefings for the wider United Nations membership, he suggested, reminding those States that had not yet reported to the 1737 Committee to do so as soon as possible.

He went on to highlight the IAEA’s report on the situation, saying that, alongside today’s briefing, it provided the “benchmark by which to judge Iran’s actions”.  Among other things, the report showed the country had not suspended its various uranium-enrichment activities, and the IAEA was still awaiting a response on the construction of new facilities.  The report also noted that Iran had still not provided a response as to possible military applications of its programmes and continuing heavy water activities, to which the agency was still denied access.

The denial of access made it clear that Iran was not implementing the requirements of relevant IAEA and Security Council resolutions that were essential to building confidence in the peaceful nature of its programme, he continued.  Noting that today’s briefing had taken place a few days after a meeting in Geneva between Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the “EU 3+3”, he welcomed the meeting and described an agreement to hold another one next month in Turkey as “positive”.  However, those talks must lead to candid discussion of the many outstanding issues, he emphasized.

Similarly, Martin Briens ( France) said the briefing had thrown into stark relief the reality that serious violations continued to mount.  Indeed, a considerable flow of arms and other dangerous materiel had again come to light, as had worrying new transfer routes in Africa.  While expressing fears that those revelations were only the “tip of the iceberg”, he said he was pleased that States had been able to identify the cargo and had stepped forward to report violations to the Committee.

He said the reports made clear that Iran continued to flout international law, and highlighted as well that sanctions were working as Iran sought increasingly obscure ways and means to achieve its ends.  The matter required the utmost vigilance, he stressed, expressing hope that the Panel of Experts would strenuously carry out its mandate, especially with regard to clandestine transfer routes.  The sanctions were not an end in themselves but an effort to convince Iran to negotiate, he said.  The recent Geneva meeting had been positive step, but the need to resolve the nuclear “crisis” remained as great as ever.  France hoped Iran would use the run-up to the Istanbul talks to provide positive and constructive answers to the many questions remaining open in the wake of the Geneva meeting.

Susan Rice ( United States) said not much had changed since the adoption of resolution 1929 (2010).  Iran persisted in its non-compliance with IAEA and Council resolutions, as well as its defiance of the international community.  Pressure on Iran to change course must continue and all Member States had an obligation to comply with the sanctions resolutions, he said, urging all States to fulfil their reporting obligations.

Commending Nigeria and Italy on their seizures of illegal arms shipments, she said the consequent investigations would strengthen the sanctions regime.  She reiterated her country’s commitment to the dual-track strategy, with the aim of continuing a phased confidence-building process between Iran and the international community.  The United States recognized that country’s rights but insisted that it fulfil the obligations that came with those rights.  Further action would be based on Iran’s cooperation in the future, she said, adding that she looked forward to the planned dialogue and remained committed to working with the international community to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Wang Min ( China) said the Panel of Experts should carry out its work in a pragmatic and efficient manner, and help Member States comply with the relevant resolutions.  China would assist the Panel and, as always, support the Committee’s work because it supported non-proliferation and full implementation of Security Council resolutions.  At the same time, sanctions were not an end in themselves and the best alternative was to seek diplomatic solutions, he stressed.  Recent efforts to restart negotiations presented a “new opportunity”, he said, urging all sides to seek common ground so as to ensure progress.  China hoped the IAEA could play a helpful role in seeking a peaceful conclusion, and would continue to support all efforts to maintain the momentum begun in Geneva towards a lasting and comprehensive solution.

Konstantin Dolgov ( Russian Federation) took a similar position, saying he expected the Panel of Experts to carry out practical work in implementation of the resolutions and emphasizing that all Member States should comply without going beyond them.  The Russian Federation remained committed to resolving the situation through dialogue and peaceful means, he said, expressing hope that the Geneva talks had built up further momentum, and that all parties would become engaged in pursuing a fully peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear question.

The meeting began at 10:48 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m.

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*     The 6441st Meeting was closed.

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