Adoption of Security Council Resolution 1737 on Iran, Explanation of Vote by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the U.K. to the U.N.

December 23, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr. President,

On 31 July, the Security Council adopted resolution 1696, which made mandatory the IAEA-required suspension of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities in Iran.

The Council called upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol, and to implement all transparency measures as the IAEA may request. The resolution also set a deadline for Iranian compliance - 31 August.

Iran's response was to step up its sensitive activities and offer to export the technologies it developed to other countries. The IAEA reported in November that Iran continued to provide insufficient transparency to help the Agency resolve outstanding issues and remove uncertainties.

In sum, Iran has simply thumbed its nose at the Council and defied international law.

Mr. President,

Bearing in mind this Council's primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and, in this regard, taking with utmost seriousness the threat from proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Council unequivocally expressed its intention in resolution 1696 to adopt measures under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations in the event of Iranian non-compliance.

That is what we have done today. We have adopted resolution 1737 under Chapter VII of the Charter and in this we reiterate and expand the Council's mandatory suspension of Iran's proliferation sensitive activities. We have also established an embargo aimed at preventing Iran from importing the items and materials that will sustain its proliferation sensitive activities.

As well as taking steps to inhibit Iran's proliferation sensitive activities, the Council has introduced a set of measures intended to persuade Iran to stop pursuing activities of concern.

This resolution underlines the seriousness of the situation, including the international community's lack of confidence about the direction of Iran's policies.

Importantly, however, the door is not closed for Iran.

The United Kingdom, France and Germany, with the European Union High Representative Javier Solana, have led negotiations with Iran. We remain committed to seeking a diplomatic, negotiated solution with Iran based on co-operation. A new relationship between the European Union and Iran is on the table, but it must be with an Iran which eschews nuclear weapons.

In Resolution 1737, the Council makes clear that Iran's suspension of enrichment and reprocessing activities will permit negotiations to resume and intensify, this time with the US, Russia and China engaged, alongside France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

For this reason - the pursuit of a negotiated agreement to resolve the situation - it is vital that all States implement the resolution as fully and comprehensively as possible. That means taking immediate action, including by adopting the necessary legislation to pave the way for rapid and robust implementation. Without that, we can not expect the Council to be able to meet its objectives.

In the event that Iran does not change course, the Council has committed itself in this resolution to the adoption of further measures. Iran therefore faces a choice. The vote today illustrates the gravity of that choice and the seriousness with which we as a Council view Iran's behaviour. We hope Iran will heed the decision of the Council, and return to negotiation to resolve the nuclear dossier. This in turn would open the way for the European Union and Iran to develop a new and wider relationship to our mutual benefit, and to the benefit of international peace and security.