Statement by Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737

March 22, 2011

At the outset, allow me to congratulate Ambassador Osorio on his appointment as Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) and to thank him for his first quarterly report.

Once again, the report emphasizes the increasing number of violations. At its previous meeting on this issue (see S/PV.6442), the Council discussed two incidents of violations of the arms embargo. Since then, the Council has been notified of two new incidents, which show that Iran is persisting in its attempts to acquire materials for its ballistic missile programme and its heavy water-related activities.

Beyond incidents that have been brought to the Committee's attention, we wish to express our grave concern over last week's interception by Israeli authorities of a new shipment of Iranian weapons, in violation of resolution 1737 (2006). We hope that the Panel of Experts will investigate the matter in accordance with its mandate.

We also note with concern the seizure of an Iranian weapons shipment to the Taliban early in February in Afghanistan, as reported by the United Kingdom.

Lastly, we note with concern Iran's recent announcement that it had again launched a rocket into outer space. Space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles use similar technologies. We recall that resolution 1929 (2010) prohibits Iran from conducting launches using ballistic missile technology.

We therefore hope that the Committee and the Panel of Experts will investigate that test, as well as Iran's space and ballistic missile programmes and the recent weapons seizures.

Over time, a real pattern of Iranian violations has emerged before our eyes, affecting all regions of the world - yesterday, Africa and Europe; today, Asia and the Middle East - and involving significant flows of weapons and other illicit and dangerous materials. Entities well-known to the Council, such as the Revolutionary Guards, have been implicated.

We cannot overemphasize the seriousness of those violations, which threaten our collective security and security and stability in regions that are often already quite vulnerable. They require our utmost vigilance.

As Ambassador Osorio did his briefing, I wish to commend the States that have sent their notifications, because they give the Committee and the Panel valuable and detailed information on the methods used by Iran to circumvent sanctions.

We also welcome the fact that the Panel of Experts has launched an in-depth investigation into those cases, in accordance with its mandate. We hope that it will make specific recommendations to address the vulnerabilities highlighted by those cases, particularly in the areas of transport, export controls and banking. In that regard, the Committee must take the necessary measures in response.

I wish to commend the Panel for the excellent quality of its quarterly report on its activities. In its eight weeks of activity, the Panel, led by Ms. Zurabishvili, has spared no effort. We fully support her initial observations and her first recommendations to help States meet their obligations under the resolutions, especially in submitting their national reports. We hope that she will make regular recommendations to substantively improve sanctions provisions. It is imperative that the Panel receive the full support of all Member States and of the Secretariat. In particular, we call on all States to provide the Panel as much information as possible so that it can have the most precise picture possible of the implementation of resolutions.

We welcome the intention of the Chair of the Committee to continue with outreach efforts, in particular by regularly holding meetings open to all interested Member States.

The 1737 Committee has not been alone in noting the alarming situation whereby Iran continues to violate its obligations. Our concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear programme are further heightened by the latest report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), of 25 February.

The report, the first to be issued following the meetings between the six and Iran held in Geneva and Istanbul, unfortunately shows no improvements. On the contrary, Iran continues to reject its international commitments and to refuse to meet the requirements of the Security Council and the Board of Governors of the IAEA. Iran continues its enrichment activities, accumulating, in the absence of credible civilian purposes, 3.5-per-cent- and 20-per-cent-enriched uranium and fuelling an ever greater number of centrifuges, which now total more than 5,000. Iran continues its activities relating to heavy water, in violation of Security Council resolutions.

Moreover, the report deplores Iran's continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA. In its report, the Agency also states that its knowledge of Iran's enrichment activities continues to deteriorate. For example, Iran has not provided the clarification requested by the IAEA as to the background and purpose of the Fordow plant; it has not provided design information regarding several installations; it is denying the Agency access to its heavy water production and storage installations; and it is not implementing the Additional Protocol.

Finally, and above all, Iran is refusing to respond to the Agency with respect to the very serious signs of the militarization of its programme and the development of a nuclear payload for a ballistic missile. The Agency notes, however, that it has received supporting information since 2008, including recently. In this context, we encourage the Director General of the IAEA to continue his efforts to investigate these matters.

In that regard, it is regrettable in our view that Iran, during the recent meetings in Geneva and Istanbul, did not wish to seriously consider the offers of cooperation made by the six or our specific proposals aimed at building trust and promoting dialogue. On the contrary, Iran has set out preconditions, which goes against Security Council resolutions and is unacceptable for the six.

By refusing to respect its international commitments and undertake genuine negotiations to address the concerns raised by its nuclear programme, Iran is further isolating itself from the international community. The door to negotiations is of course still open, but it is up to Iran to demonstrate its desire to undertake serious negotiations. It is up to Iran to show that it is a responsible member of the international community.