13 December 2012

Non-Proliferation Committee, Briefing Security Council, Highlights Ballistic Missile Tests by Iran, Possible Arms Transfers to States in Region

13 December 2012
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6888th Meeting (PM)

Non-Proliferation Committee, Briefing Security Council, Highlights Ballistic


Missile Tests by Iran, Possible Arms Transfers to States in Region


The head of the committee charged with monitoring sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme reported this afternoon on alleged violations of those measures, as some Security Council members called for investigation into reports of Iranian arms flows to conflict areas in its region and warned of dangers posed by the country’s continued stonewalling of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency.

Néstor Osorio of Colombia, who chairs the “1737 Committee”, named for the 2006 Security Council resolution that established it to monitor such measures as a proliferation-sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile programmes-related embargo, said that during the reporting period — from 13 September to 4 December — data had been received on ballistic missile testing by Iran and information had been sought on arms-related material seized in previous reporting periods.

Providing details on the two meetings and other work conducted by the Committee, Mr. Osorio said that some Committee members also had expressed concerns about possible transfers of embargoed material from Iran to States in its region, and subsequently requested that the Panel of Experts of the Committee assemble, for the Committee’s review, a compilation of publicly available statements recently made by Iranian officials and alleged recipients of Iranian military assistance, which indicated potential violations of the sanctions regime. 

On the reported missile testing, he said that by a letter dated 9 October, four Member States submitted a report stating that the July 2012 “Great Prophet 7” exercise, during which Iran had tested Shahab-1 short-range ballistic missiles and Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missiles, constituted a violation of sanctions.  The case was currently being investigated by the Panel of Experts, he said.

Also during the reporting period, he noted that three States had, responding to the Committee’s letters, offered helpful details relating to the 15 March 2011 seizure of three shipping containers of arms and related materiel onboard the M/V Victoria.  He stated that the Committee intended to ensure that any work done in the context of reported violations would be conducted in an impartial and objective manner, based on verified information and solid evidence.

He said that the Committee also had continued its discussion of the Panel’s final report of 9 June 2012, which was available on the Committee’s website.  Several delegations proposed that the Committee adopt a series of implementation-assistance notices that could aid Member States in implementing Council measures, taking into account the experts’ findings.

The Committee, he said, had received three notifications:  two from a Member State concerning delivery of items for use in the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, and one in connection with the unfreezing of funds in order to make a payment due under a contract entered into prior to the listing of an entity.  In response to a query from an international organization, the Committee had found that a project aimed at assisting Iran develop technical capacity for the protection of intellectual property rights did not violate the sanctions measures.

Following his briefing, Council members took the floor, with most supporting the Committee’s work, although some underlined the need for it to stay within its mandate and to ensure that it relied only on substantiated information, and some called for a review of its mandate to ensure that its work strengthened possibilities for a negotiated solution.  Others sought greater focus on what they said were violations of the arms embargo that led to arms transfers from Iran to Syria and Gaza, inflaming violence in those areas.

Many speakers, meanwhile, continued to sound an alarm over the lack of progress in obtaining Iran’s full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to allay suspicions that its nuclear programme had a military objective, which Iran has denied.  Many pointed to the IAEA’s latest report, which they said amplified previous concerns as it stated that no concrete results had come out of intensified dialogue and provided more worrying details about activity at several facilities. 

Most speakers, however, continued to express hope for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the issue, with many emphasizing Iran’s right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy and pointing to the arrival of IAEA personnel in Tehran today as a positive sign that they hoped would result in a structured process for tangible progress on all pending issues.

The representatives of Portugal, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, France, Pakistan, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Germany, United States, Togo, China, India and Morocco spoke in that discussion.

The meeting began at 3:09 p.m. and ended at 4:20 p.m.


JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said the resumption of talks with Iran had not taken place and the country continued to fail to cooperate to enable the Agency to assess that all its nuclear material was for peaceful purposes.  Iran had also continued to install enrichment equipment at two sites.  Without addressing those pressing issues with the Agency, Iran would fail to restore international confidence.  A diplomatic dual-track approach was needed, and he hoped Iran would commit, cooperate and reach an agreement on confidence-building steps.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said he remained deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme.  It must urgently address the world’s concerns; however, it had failed to cooperate with the Agency.  The United Kingdom was committed to finding a diplomatic solution, such as that sought by the E3+3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom and China, Russian Federation, United States).  Until Iran cooperated, international pressure would continue.  Implementation assistance notices were needed, for which the Panel of Experts was crucial.  He was appalled by reports that Iran was supplying technical advice and weapons to Syria, as well as arms to groups such as Hizbullah.  Such support was unacceptable, and arms supplies to Hizbullah violated Security Council resolutions.  Iran could bring all sanctions to an end.  “They had a clear choice:  address international concerns through action or face further isolation and pressure.”

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said he was convinced the sanctions regime and the actions of the international community were undermined by unilateral restrictions.  With a view to ensuring the implementation of sanctions, he noted that recently the 1737 Committee said it had information that implicated Iran in weapons trafficking.  The Russian Federation had consistently called for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear situation, and sought a scale-up of dialogue in the six-party format, with a hope that future talks would launch practical activities.

MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said Iran had continued to flout the Council’s resolutions and to enrich its uranium and increase its production capacity in a manner and level that did not suggest credible civilian purposes.  He expected today’s meeting with Iran and the Agency would be fruitful.  He emphasized Iran’s violations of arms embargoes, including incidents related to arms transfers to Syria.  Iran had also transferred arms to non-State groups in Gaza during the deadly November clashes.  Investigations of those violations must proceed.  Iran’s ballistic missile programme was another concern, he said, adding that it was shocking to note that the recent Democratic People’s Republic of Korea missile launch was condemned worldwide, while Iran spoke out in favour of the incident.  As long as Iran did not abide by its obligations, the sanctions must be fully applied.  That pressure would likely lead Iranian authorities to realize that dialogue was better than isolation.

SAHEBZADA AHMED KHAN ( Pakistan) said that in 10 days the 1737 Committee would complete six years of its tasks.  With that in mind, it could be worthwhile for the Council to review its strategy.  The potential for confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme had not diminished.  Given the delicate and complex regional environment, Pakistan did not want an escalation of tension.  A peaceful resolution of the crisis should be based on confidence-building measures.  As a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Iran was duty-bound to fulfil its obligations and to fully comply with the Agency.  He encouraged the P5+1 (five permanent Council members plus Germany) to engage in meaningful talks.  The Panel’s work should conform strictly to its mandate.  Its more broad-based composition, particularly inclusion of developing countries, would be helpful.  He added that Security Council sanctions should not be pursued as an end in themselves. 

ZAHEER LAHER (South Africa), reiterating full support for the Committee and Panel, encouraged further discussion on implementation-assistance notices and called for a holistic approach to the problem, within the larger perspective of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  He urged Iran to comply with the decisions of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the Council.  A resolution must satisfy the concerns of the international community and respect Iran’s rights to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV (Azerbaijan), noting the range of activities of the Committee and its Expert Panel, said it was essential for the Panel to continue its outreach activities, and looked forward to additional assistance for States to implement the relevant resolutions.  His country had taken many precautions to prevent its territory from being used for any traffic related to non-proliferation.  Supporting the right of any country to develop nuclear energy in accordance with the non-proliferation regime, he hoped that the meetings that were beginning today could resolve the issue and he encouraged all other initiatives that could help bring about a peaceful, negotiated solution.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), praising the work of the Committee and its leadership, recognized the importance of its assistance to Member States.  He encouraged the Panel to continue with its work, including outreach activities, in strict compliance with the mandate given to it by the Council.  Supporting the right of all States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in keeping with international treaties, he said Iran must work to restore confidence on the purely peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  In that context, he expressed grave concern over the findings of the last IAEA report and called on Iran to fulfil all its commitments, especially with regard to allowing inspections.  In that context, he welcomed the arrival of IAEA inspectors in Tehran today.  It was important to keep working for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

PETER WITTIG (Germany) said that Iran had not been willing to discuss substantive issues or take concrete measures, but the E3+3 would continue to work for a negotiated solution.  There was deep concern following the latest IAEA report.  Of utmost concern was that no progress had been made whatsoever in clarifying the possible military aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme.  He also expressed continued dismay over illegal arms flows from Iran to Syria, as well as technical assistance for rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.  He called on the Expert Panel to investigate those potential grave violations of the regime.  In that context, he called for a final decision on listing entities implicated in such violations.  Welcoming the Panel’s final report, he noted that Germany had invited it to further discuss cooperation.  Hoping negotiations would produce a settlement, he stressed, however, that the onus was on Iran.

ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said Iran’s actions had seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct investigations, demonstrating its ongoing defiance of the international community.  Talks must produce results.  There were no excuses for Iran not to cooperate with the IAEA and it could not continue with denial and distraction in resolving outstanding concerns about its nuclear programme.  She encouraged the Committee and Panel to continue their work, and urged Members States to provide the necessary information to facilitate those efforts.  Iran’s flagrant proliferation of conventional arms constituted a major threat and made the Committee’s work even more urgent.  Despite arms embargoes, exports to Syria and militants in Gaza had been reported.  In resolution 1929 (2010) new provisions permitted States to inspect suspicious cargo, she said, suggesting that Iran’s neighbours should increase the number of inspections of cargo suspected of violating United Nations resolutions.  A durable solution must roll back Iran’s continued activities.  The P5+1 were making efforts, she said, noting that the United States wanted a negotiated solution.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said Iran had been called upon to commit to talks to rebuild confidence.  However, talks between the Agency and Iran had not led to expected results, with reports noting that there had been no agreement on an approach pertaining to matters of military applications of nuclear materials or to access to relevant sites.  He called on Iran to conduct constructive dialogues, and he hoped the current meeting in Tehran would produce positive results.  Togo was pleased with the Panel’s work, inspections and investigations.

ZHANG JUNAN (China) said his country would work with the Committee to help it to conduct its work in a balanced manner.  The Iranian nuclear issue concerned the non-proliferation regime and peace in the region, and the international community must seek a just solution.  Iran’s rights to nuclear energy should be respected.  To move forward, the international community should relentlessly carry out talks over the issues, with a peaceful solution in view.  In the current context of major changes in the region, dialogue must be promoted and parties should show greater good will and pragmatism in the pursuit of a realistic and rational settlement.  Relevant Council resolutions should be implemented, he said, noting that China stood for diplomatic solutions and was not in favour of using excessive pressure or adopting new sanctions.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said the Panel should continue to brief the Council on all its activities.  Regarding the latest report, he sought agreement on a structured approach to allow Iran and the Agency to begin substantive work.  India had consistently supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and said Iran should work with the Agency to resolve outstanding issues.  Welcoming that the P5+1 had reiterated its commitment to dialogue, he hoped a peaceful solution would result.  All efforts should be made so that Iran’s legitimate trade continued.

Speaking in his national capacity, MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) commended the Committee’s work, hoping it would continue to seek the cooperation of Member States.  The last IAEA report concluded that pending issues relevant to the Iran nuclear programme had not been settled and that every effort and cooperation was needed to achieve progress.  The Agency should receive all necessary information, he said, emphasizing that dialogue was the only way to find a solution.  However, the success of such dialogue required good faith in negotiations and refraining from taking any position or making any statements that could hamper those efforts.  The non-proliferation regime must not be weakened, lest global denuclearization would not be achievable.   At the same time, all States had a right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The non-proliferation regime was based on a delicate balance between such rights and obligations, which should be respected.

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