Committee Monitoring Sanctions on Iran Briefs Security Council, Highlighting Findings Concerning Ballistic Missile Test, Possible Illicit Arms Transfers

6 March 2013

Committee Monitoring Sanctions on Iran Briefs Security Council, Highlighting Findings Concerning Ballistic Missile Test, Possible Illicit Arms Transfers

6 March 2013
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6930th Meeting (AM)

Committee Monitoring Sanctions on Iran Briefs Security Council, Highlighting

Findings Concerning Ballistic Missile Test, Possible Illicit Arms Transfers


Latest Report Details Activities from 5 December 2012 to 4 March 2013

The committee monitoring sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme “is currently exploring” appropriate actions in response to that country’s July 2012 missile launches and “stands ready” to act on other allegations of non-compliance, the Chair of the Committee said today, as he briefed the Security Council.

Delivering his first quarterly report, covering the period from 5 December 2012 to 4 March 2013, Chairman Gary Quinlan of Australia highlighted several developments since the previous briefing given by his predecessor in December.

Mr. Quinlan noted that, at the 13 February informal consultations, the “1737 Committee”, named after the 2006 Council resolution, had exchanged preliminary views on a case reported by a Member State in a note verbale, according to which the authorities of that State had intercepted a vessel on 23 January that it suspected was carrying illicit weapons from Iran to be delivered to that State.  Given the serious allegations contained in the report, the Committee encouraged the Panel of Experts to expedite its investigation of the incident and report to the Committee on its findings, he said.  “The Committee stands ready to examine in an impartial and objective manner and, based on solid evidence, take appropriate action upon receipt of this report from the Panel,” he said.

As for the missile launches by Iran during the Great Prophet 7 exercise on 2-4 July 2012, the Committee took note of the Panel’s conclusion that the launches of the Shabab 1 and 3 missiles violated paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010), he said.  Several Committee members had expressed great concern about the violation, condemned the launches and suggested that the Committee consider appropriate actions in response.  “The Committee is currently exploring these options,” he said.

Continuing, he said that, at the request of the Committee, the Panel had compiled publicly available statements by Iranian officials and alleged recipients of Iranian military assistance.  Several Committee members said it would be appropriate to send a letter to Iran inquiring about the veracity of the statements.  Other members, however, had felt that the Committee should be prudent and that further efforts must be made, before sending that letter, to obtain material evidence of the alleged arms transfers mentioned in the statements.  The Committee believed strongly that any transfer of arms in violation of paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007) was a matter of grave concern.

During the reporting period, he said, the Committee had received communications from five Member States regarding action they had taken to implement relevant Security Council measures.  A State had reported an alleged breach of the embargo on Iran by a company in that State.  Another State had provided details of the 15 March 2011 seizure of three shipping containers of arms and related material onboard the ship M/V Victoria.  All cases were being investigated by the Panel, he added.

The Committee was pleased that States were responding to its request for information on reported incidents of non-compliance, he said, noting that two entities — Yas Air and SAD Import Export Company — had been added to the sanctions list.  The Committee had also received a number of written inquiries about the application of the sanctions.  As for the two proposals of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to provide technical assistance to Iran, the Committee informed the entity that those projects were not prohibited by the relevant resolutions.

The Committee received a request from a State to exempt from the travel ban a designated Iranian national who had been invited to attend the high-level International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Conference on Nuclear Power in the Twenty-First Century in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 27 to 29 June 2013.  The request was under consideration, he said.

Following the briefing, many Security Council members expressed grave concern about the allegations made against Iran and the possible violations of existing resolutions, as well as non-compliance with its obligations.

The United States’ representative was among several Council members that expressed support for a dual-track approach — mounting pressure on Iran through sanctions, while seeking a solution through dialogue.  She said the Committee should respond quickly, including through targeted sanctions, and that any violation of United Nations sanctions was serious.  At the same time, her delegation remained committed to a diplomatic solution, she added.

China’s representative was among other delegates who were opposed to new sanctions on Iran.  He said his Government was against the use or threat of use of force and did not agree to excessive pressure on Iran, or to new sanctions.  Some countries imposed sanctions unilaterally and wilfully expanded their scope, which undermined the rights of other countries.

Many speakers welcomed the 26-27 February meeting between the P5+1 and Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and urged the parties to produce tangible results at their forthcoming meetings in Istanbul later this month and in Almaty early next month.

The representatives of the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Togo, Guatemala, Argentina, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, France and the Russian Federation also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:17 a.m. and ended at 11:35 a.m.


Following the briefing, WANG MIN ( China) said his country attached great importance to the Committee’s work and hoped it would continue in a balanced and effective manner.  The relevant Security Council resolutions on Iran’s nuclear issue should be implemented comprehensively; sanctions should not be their ultimate purpose.  The Committee and expert group should serve the purpose of settling the issues diplomatically.  Recently, the Committee had “come up with certain allegations”, and he hoped it would objectively and fully consult with the countries concerned and solve those problems “on the basis of evidence”.

The situation, he said, had a direct bearing on the Nuclear-Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and on the region’s stability and peace.  Dialogue and negotiation were the only way to solve the Iranian issue.  China was opposed to the use or threat of use of force and did not agree that excessive pressure should be put on Iran, or that new sanctions should be imposed.  Some countries imposed sanctions unilaterally and wilfully expanded their scope, which undermined the rights of other countries.  China opposed that approach.  Positive outcomes had emerged from the recent dialogue.  For a long time, China had striven to keep the issue on the right track.

Conditions should be created for a long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, he said, adding his hope that that country would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  China would work constructively with all the parties to elaborate a solution through diplomatic means.

MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said that his country, like others in the international community, remained deeply concerned by Iran’s nuclear programme, as that country continued to enrich uranium and expand its capacity to do so.  That included the recent installation of 180 advanced centrifuges at Netanz.  Such acts contravened the resolutions of both the IAEA Board and Security Council.  Iran’s stockpile of at least 20 per cent enriched uranium continued to grow, and was far in excess of the country’s needs.

Noting that the IAEA report again highlighted Iran’s failure to engage constructively on those matters, he said Iran must show that it was prepared to take urgent and necessary actions to address the international community’s serious concerns — not with words, but with actions.  The United Kingdom continued to pursue peaceful negotiations, and recently the “E3+3” had met in Kazakhstan for that purpose and would meet with technical experts this month to consider proposals intended to build confidence on both sides and to advance negotiations.

Iran had much to gain from a diplomatic solution, but clearly the talks must deliver results and progress must be made to address the immediate concerns, he said.  The expert panel had confirmed Iran’s continued breach of its international obligations, highlighting in particular the country’s ballistic missile launch in clear violation of Council resolution 1929 (2010).  The 1737 Committee must act on that breach and, as a first step, write to Iran to express its concern about that violation and ask it to respond.  Further, the Committee should issue an “implementation notice”, reminding Member States of the ban on technical and other assistance to Iran for the purpose of ballistic missile launches and related activities.  Finally, the panel should investigate and share in its final report in May the names of the individuals and entities responsible for the breach.

He said he was also concerned about the panel’s statements concerning the transfer of arms to Gaza in breach of resolution 1747 (2007).  Support to militant groups, such as Hamas, undermined the key goals in the region and the Iranian Government’s claim that it supported stability in the Middle East.  He was also dismayed by the bold public statements by Iran, which, among other things, undermined the Council and its resolutions.  Also worrying was the recent report on Yemen concerning the seizure of arms coming from Iran.  Such a violation threatened to undermine Yemen’s fragile transition.  The 1737 Committee should be prepared to take action, if the panel’s findings confirmed that allegation.

In closing, he said that Iran could not continue to ignore and violate Security Council resolutions.  If it wanted to be treated as a “normal” State party of the NPT, it must take urgent and concrete steps to fully address the international community’s concerns, or face the consequences of increased pressure and isolation.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) said the uranium nuclear issue remained one of the greatest threats to global peace and security and a top Council priority.  In recent weeks, IAEA’s Director General affirmed that Iran continued to advance its nuclear programme and obstruct IAEA’s investigation by refusing to grant it access to the Parchin site and to documents, personnel and equipment requested by the Agency.  Iran’s actions were in clear violation of the Council’s demands.  More alarming, IAEA’s Director General had confirmed that Iran was installing hundreds of second-generation centrifuges that could significantly increase the country’s nuclear capacity.  Its stockpiling of 20 per cent enriched uranium was cause for serious concern.  Such actions were unnecessary and provocative.  Iran already had enough uranium to fuel the Tehran reactor for a decade.  Its actions did not build global confidence.  They raised concern.  The work of the Sanctions Committee was vital.  The sanctions must be implemented fully, as long as Iran remained in defiance.  Also worrisome was that, in January, Yemen seized a vessel transporting a large cache of sophisticated uranium arms and explosives, which could have destabilized Yemen’s fragile transition.

She urged the Committee and Panel of Experts to investigate and craft a worthy response.  Representatives of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic jihad and even Iran itself now publicly were admitting to acts that violated the sanctions.  Iranian missile launches allowed it to create technology that, if ever combined with weapons of mass destruction, would constitute a threat to global peace and security.  The Committee should respond quickly, including through targeted sanctions.  Any violation of United Nations sanctions was serious.  Responding effectively to them bolstered the Council’s credibility.  The United States remained committed to a diplomatic solution.  She welcomed the recently resumed P5+1 dialogue with Iran.  The goal remained a durable, comprehensive solution to the Iranian issue that restored global confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s programme in compliance with the IAEA.  The talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Almaty were useful.  But, it was necessary to see whether real progress towards a negotiated solution could result from that process.  “The process cannot continue indefinitely or be used as a stalling solution,” she said.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) took note of the recent IAEA report on Iran’s recent implementation of IAEA safeguards.  The 1737 Committee had made efforts to address those issues.  He welcomed resumption of diplomatic efforts between P5+1 and Iran.  He expressed hope that would improve the atmosphere and lead to results.  Consistent engagement might be the way out of the current impasse.  He called for reciprocal confidence-building measures.  The Council and Committee must lend support to those efforts.  It must not create confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme.  The work of the Panel of Experts must conform to its mandate, and be objective and backed by solid evidence.  Council sanctions should not be pursued as an end in themselves.  It was necessary to strike a balance between sanctions and negotiations.

He called upon the Council, the Committee and the Panel of Experts to adjust their strategy accordingly.  Iran’s programme must be expected to be in line with safety standards, in accordance with its legal obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and with a view to resolving all outstanding issues.  It was important for the Council to broaden the Panel of Experts and make its resolutions more effective.  The Council and its subsidiary bodies must align with the United Nations core values of transparency and impartiality.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) pointed out the situation on Iran had not significantly changed since the last reporting period.  Despite calls to resolve pending issues between the IAEA and Iran, there had been no specific results.  The Committee’s report confirmed that Iran continued its uranium enrichment programme.  The IAEA had expressed concern over the possible development of nuclear payloads for missiles.  Iran’s activities, such as launching the Prophet 7 missiles and its public statements about its military assistance to Hamas, only exacerbated the situation.

The 26-27 February meeting between the P5+1 and Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, had not led to significant progress.  The Government of Togo supported a negotiated solution and called on Iran to comply with the NPT and resolutions adopted by the Security Council and IAEA’s board of directors.  The upcoming meetings between the P5+1 and Iran — one in March in Istanbul and the other in April in Almaty — should allow for progress.  Iran should accord IAEA access to the Parchin site and must ensure that its nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes.  Togo would host a regional seminar in May, inviting West and Central African nations to discuss the relevant matters.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said that the Committee had continued to carry out its tasks in a transparent and objective manner during the reporting period, expressing hope that it would continue that way in the future.  It was important for the Committee to respond clearly and swiftly to cases of alleged violations reported by States.  The Panel of Experts provided valuable support, such as making inquires and recommendations based on “verifiable and reliable information” to help the Committee make decisions.

His delegation was in favour of the peaceful use of nuclear energy as long as States complied with verification obligations.  Iran should cooperate with the IAEA to restore the trust of the international community and to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  Iran had continued to accelerate its nuclear programmes with questions pending, particularly about the military dimension of the programme.  “ Iran must be open to inspections,” he said.  Guatemala believed that there was no alternative to a negotiated diplomatic solution, stressing the importance of “consistency and reciprocity”.  He had been encouraged by the recent talks between E3+3 and Iran.  The meeting had been described as “a turning point”, although it was too early to be optimistic.  He expected the upcoming meetings in Istanbul and Almaty would provide positive outcomes.

MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) commended the Committee for playing a key role in assisting Member States in implementing the pertinent resolutions.  Its guidance notes were a key tool in that regard.  On the Iranian nuclear programme, he reaffirmed the inalienable right of all States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to undertake the research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination.  At the same time, his country had a firm and historical goal to uphold the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and believed the international community should back the non-proliferation regime and its cornerstone treaty.

Concerning the IAEA’s report of 21 February, he said he shared the Director General’s concern regarding the lack of progress in shedding light on the Iranian nuclear issue and its possible military dimension.  Iran must continue to cooperate actively with the Agency, by providing it with all the information it required and access to all sites it deemed necessary.  It was important for Iran to adopt the necessary measures for the full implementation of its safeguards agreement and relevant Security Council resolutions.  It was also important for it to restore the trust of the international community regarding the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  He was encouraged by the recent talks, including the three rounds of negotiations between Iran and the IAEA; however, the Director General still had no substantial progress to report.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) agreed that the Committee played a key role, particularly in ensuring that the sanctions were fully upheld.  Its report notes the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear activity.  Also concerning was the recent panel report noting violations by Iran of Council resolution 1929 (2010), particularly of paragraph 9 with respect to its ballistic missile launch.  Those acts must be followed up with a response by the Security Council.  Similarly, the Committee should ensure appropriate follow-up to the cargo interception in Yemen.  Only effective implementation of the sanctions on Iran and effective response to appeals calling for it to cooperate with the IAEA would regain the international community’s trust.

To that end, she urged Iran to shed light on the numerous outstanding issues and to allow IAEA inspectors to “test” the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  Unfortunately, the Agency’s recent report did not indicate that Iran was upholding its obligations.  It continued to enhance its enrichment capacity by using new-generation centrifuges in Netanz, as well as to work on heavy water projects, and to allow IAEA to access certain sites, all of which made it difficult to be sure of the nature of its nuclear programme.

She called on Iran to comply with its international obligations by allowing “full light to be shed on the true nature of its nuclear programme”.  She favoured a peaceful settlement to the question through a dual-track approach, such as the approach recently tabled in Almaty.  Its acceptance would allow for progress on a long-term solution based on Council and IAEA Board of Governor resolutions.  She hoped that the Iranian Government would welcome that offer.  The upcoming 18 March meeting was an opportunity to follow up on the technical and political levels.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said it was critical that the Committee examine all cases in an impartial and objective manner, and based on solid evidence.  The Committee must assist all States in that process.  He noted the Panel of Expert’s visit to several Member States and the participation of experts in seminars and conferences during the reporting period.  The Council must continue its outreach activities.  The reporting period was marked by three rounds of talks between Iran and the IAEA.  But, according to the IAEA Board of Governor’s report of 21 February, it had not been possible to reach agreement on outstanding issues.  All countries had the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Iran must try to continue to build international confidence.  He was encouraged by the high-level talks between the P5+1 and Iran.  He hoped that the technical meeting later this month in Almaty would move things forward.  Resolving disputes was important for regional stability.  He encouraged further efforts aimed at resolving issues peacefully and constructively.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) asked the Panel of Experts to continue its dialogue with Member States during visits to concerned countries.  The Committee must continue to effectively manage each case sent to it, maintaining the professionalism and impartiality of the Panel of Experts.  He called on the Committee to investigate all violations.  It was crucial to continue to review the Panel of Experts’ reports and their recommendations.  This past summer, the IAEA reported that there had been little progress in settling outstanding issues over Iran’s nuclear programme.  He hoped Iran and the IAEA would reach substantive agreement on outstanding issues.  He lauded the positive nature of the talks between the IAEA and Iran in Kazakhstan.  Dialogue, diplomacy and peaceful means were the only way to settle matters.  He hoped such an approach would be used in March in Istanbul, and in Almaty in April.  He stressed the urgent need to stem any weaknesses in the NPT regime and for all States to act in strict compliance with all safeguard obligations.  Any violations would make the situation unsustainable.  At the same time, all States had the right to peacefully use nuclear energy.  The NPT regime was based on a delicate balance of the rights and obligations of States.  It must be upheld and protected in all cases.

OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE ( Rwanda) said his delegation believed in the rights of States to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  However, Iran’s nuclear programme was of particular concern to his country.  Iran was a party to the NPT and a member of the IAEA.  It should fully cooperate with those entities and comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions.

The Rwandan Government was also concerned about the negative impact of Iranian nuclear activities on the wider region, citing the possibility that it could trigger another crisis in the Middle East that was “not needed”.  Rwanda was of the view that sanctions continued to harm civilians in Iran and was in support of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 towards a diplomatic solution.  He hoped that the next talks between the two sides would produce tangible results.

SHIN DONG IK ( Republic of Korea) said Iran, as a United Nations Member State, must immediately comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions.  Some incidents described in the 90-day report were indeed troubling, including the report from the Government of Yemen regarding the alleged transfer of arms from Iran.  Such illicit arms transfer would destabilize Yemen’s political transition and undermine regional stability.  With the help of the Panel, the Committee must conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation and act on its findings.

He also expressed concerns about Iran’s public statements that admitted its military assistance to Gaza.  This case required further investigation.  The Panel of Experts clearly had concluded Iran’s ballistic missile launches during its military exercise in July 2012 had constituted a violation of resolution 1929 (2010).  The committee should take firm and appropriate action, including designation for sanctions of individuals and entities responsible for this violation.

MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said the report of the IAEA’s Director General had again cast light on Iran’s refusal to comply with its international obligations and commitments pursuant to Security Council and Board of Governors resolutions.  Enumerating some “worrisome items”, he pointed in particular to the lack of substantive discussion between the Agency and Iran and the possible military dimension of the country’s nuclear programme.  Iran’s refusal to respond substantively to queries, and to provide access, undermined the credibility of its claim that its programme was for civilian purposes only.

In particular, he noted, enrichment continued “in quality and quantity”, as Iran installed the next generation of centrifuges in its Netanz enrichment facility.  The scale of that programme was a sign of the development of Iranian capacity to produce enriched uranium, which was a new violation of its international obligations.  The other nuclear activities included construction of a heavy water reactor and the refusal to allow the IAEA to verify its nature.  The quarterly report of the 1737 Committee also showed that Iran was not meeting its obligations, as it pursued its illicit ballistic missile development and other military activities, thereby skirting the sanctions.

Indeed, France was concerned about repeated violations of the arms embargo, which “nursed” the spiral of violence in the Middle East, he said.  He had already expressed concern regarding the transfer of weapons from Iran to Syria; several such cases had been brought to light in the expert panel’s report.  Also worrying were transfers of weapons and ballistic missiles to non-State actors in Gaza.  The Council was recently informed of the seizure of a significant weapons cache from Iran aimed “probably” at insurgents in Yemen, aimed at destabilizing the transition there.

He said there was “no ambiguity” that such activities were violations of resolution 1929 (2010) and, as such, the 1737 Committee should call on Iran to meet its obligations and solve the problem, complying with the IAEA.  France was open to dialogue, and he noted that the E3+3 had made a new proposal to Iran, which was another testament of the will of the six parties to react positively should Iran make the necessary gestures to allay the international community’s pressing concerns.  France was fully committed to finding a solution, but nothing was possible without clear political will by Iran in response to the concerns.  Unfortunately, until today, Iran had not shown a willingness to do that.

VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said the Committee had worked hard in the past three months, including to investigate possible sanctions regime violations and process the information received, as well as agree on various drafts.  He continued to feel that the panel must work on an impartial and objective basis, guided by the Committee.  The Committee’s conclusions regarding possible sanctions breaches must be based “only on reliable and verifiable” information.  “Hasty conclusions have no place here,” he said, adding that that pertained equally to the work of the panel.

He called for a political and diplomatic settlement, on the basis of consistency, reciprocity and under the NPT, and said he saw no alternative.  However, the collective activities of the international community in resolving the pending matters were undermined by unilateral sanctions.  In several cases, those were “extraterritorial”, which was unacceptable in international law.  He called for progress in the talks and voiced hope that the format next week would bring both sides together.  He understood Iran’s right to develop a civilian nuclear programme, including enrichment, after it clarified all outstanding issues and placed such activities under IAEA watch.  His country was ready to achieve progress to resolve the situation.

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