Sir John Sawers, U.K. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Gave a Statement on the Adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1803 on Iran

March 3, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr President,

I should like now to make some remarks in my national capacity.

And I welcome the presence of the Iranian Ambassador. Many of his comments are open to clarification, argument and correction. But I shall limit myself now to the following remarks.

'The British Government welcomes the very broad support for this Security Council Resolution. Its adoption sends a clear message to the Government and the people of Iran. It underlines yet again that the international community is profoundly concerned that Iran might be intending to use its nuclear programme for military purposes. The United Kingdom does not have confidence that Iran's programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. On the contrary, to us their nuclear programme only makes sense as part of a plan to develop, at the least, a nuclear weapons capability.

'This Resolution is a necessary response to Iran's continued failure to comply with the requirement of the IAEA Board and the Security Council that, while we try to build confidence in Iran's nuclear intentions, Iran has to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activity and work on all heavy water related projects; has to resolve all outstanding questions; and has to implement and ratify the Additional Protocol. The progress Iran has made with the IAEA addresses only one of those issues, and then only partially: Iran has refused to answer the most difficult questions about its past programmes, and refused IAEA requests to interview named officials. And as the IAEA reports, far from suspending their enrichment activities, Iran has intensified its efforts, including by trying to develop a new generation of centrifuges. Overall, Iran has clearly failed to abide by its legal obligations under successive Security Council resolutions.

'The political statement agreed by the Foreign Ministers of the E3 plus 3, with the support of the EU High Representative, makes clear that we remain committed to a negotiated solution on the basis of the far reaching proposals that the six countries agreed in Vienna in June 2006 and which, since that time, we have consistently urged Iran to accept. Our offer would give Iran everything it needs to develop a modern civil nuclear power programme, including legally guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel. The offer provides Iran with a basis for a transformed relationship with all members of the international community, including with the United States. It is a matter of great regret that for the past 20 months, Iran has ignored our offer.

'Mr President, Iran's leaders should listen to what the international community is saying rather than misleading their people by misrepresenting our actions and misrepresenting the IAEA's reports on their nuclear programme. I commend the efforts of the Director General and the officials of the IAEA, but Iran's failure to do what is required of them, as clearly stated by the IAEA, left us no option but to seek further measures in the Security Council.

'These further measures today strengthen the restrictions on individuals and entities closely associated with Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and with its ballistic missile programme: they increase vigilance over the activities of Iranian banks, particularly Banks Melli and Saderat which we believe are engaged in proliferation sensitive activities: they introduce a provision for careful scrutiny of new commitments for export credits to Iran; and encourage Member States to inspect cargo to and from Iran where there are grounds to believe prohibited items are being transported.

'By adopting this resolution, the Security Council has continued its incremental and proportionate approach, gradually increasing the pressure on Iran to address the widely shared concerns about its nuclear programme. Despite Iran's refusal to engage thus far, the British Government urges Iran's leaders to take the opportunity to suspend its enrichment related and reprocessing activities and to co-operate fully with the IAEA, paving the way for the suspension of sanctions and for the start of negotiations which would bring far reaching benefits to the Iranian people and greater stability to the Middle East. If Iran does not take this opportunity, then, as the Resolution makes clear, the Security Council is committed to implementing further additional measures.

'With this new resolution, the Security Council is reaffirming the clear choice confronting Iran's leaders: to cooperate with the international community and enjoy the benefits of normal relations with the rest of the World, or to pursue their nuclear programme in disregard of international concerns and worsen still further their international isolation. The choice is for Iran's leaders to make. The British Government hopes they take the positive path; the Iranian people deserve no less.'

Thank you, Mr President.