Ambassador Wang Guangya Explains Vote Following Adoption of Draft Resolution Imposing Sanctions against Iran

March 3, 2008

Mr. President,

The Security Council has just adopted a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue. This is the fourth Security Council resolution on the issue since July 2006. It reflects not only the international concern over the issue, but also the expectations of all parties on an early peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic negotiations.

At present, the international community has mixed feelings about the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue. On the one hand, the latest report by the Director General of the IAEA suggests that the Agency can verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran and has no concrete information about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Iran has clarified a series of outstanding issues such as uranium contamination, polonium experiments and uranium metal document, and provided information similar to that which Iran had previously provided pursuant to the Additional Protocol. China welcomes the abovementioned cooperation between Iran and the IAEA. On the other hand, the report also points out that Iran has not suspended uranium enrichment activities as required by the Security Council resolutions, has started the development of new generation centrifuges and continued construction of its heavy water reactor and production of heavy water, and the issues relevant to the possible military dimension of Iran's nuclear program remain outstanding. As the impasse on the Iranian nuclear issue is not yet broken, the international community is increasingly calling for strengthened diplomatic efforts and hopes that the parties concerned can find a breakthrough point soon and bring the issue back onto the track of settlement.

It is against such a background that the Security Council once again adopted a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue. Like the three previous resolutions, it is not aimed at punishing Iran, but urging Iran to return to the negotiating table and thus to reactivate a new round of diplomatic efforts. The sanction measures are not targeted at the Iranian people and will not affect the normal economic and financial activities between Iran and other countries. All the sanction measures are reversible. That is to say, if Iran suspends uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and complies with the relevant IAEA and Security Council resolutions, the sanctions will be suspended, and even terminated.

Mr. President,

China wishes to reiterate that sanctions can never resolve the issue fundamentally. It can only serve as a means to promote reconciliation and negotiations. The best way to resolve the issue is still diplomatic negotiations. We call upon all parties concerned to adopt a highly responsible and constructive attitude, show necessary flexibility as appropriate, give full play to their initiative and creativity, and demonstrate determination and sincerity in resuming negotiations. We call upon them to make unremitting efforts to enhance the all-round diplomatic efforts, seek a solution that will not only assure Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy but also address the international concern over nuclear proliferation, and strive for an early, long-term, comprehensive and proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. We call upon Iran to fully comply with IAEA and Security Council resolutions as soon as possible.

The Foreign Ministers of the six countries involved have issued a joint statement, where they reiterate their commitment to resolving the issue through diplomatic negotiations and express their readiness to strengthen diplomatic efforts and adopt creative approaches to vigorously facilitate resumption of negotiations. China hopes that all parties concerned seize the opportunity, engage themselves in closer contacts and dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect, increase mutual trust and reduce misperceptions, address each other's concerns and seek an approach that is acceptable to all for the resumption of negotiations. China is ready to work with all parties to make contribution to the peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Thank you, Mr. President.