Statement by Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the U.K. to the U.N., to the Security Council Meeting on Non-Proliferation

September 20, 2012

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr President

I thank Ambassador Osorio and the 1737 committee for their continued work in support of the Security Council's resolutions on Iran. In particular, I would like to thank Ambassador Osorio for the open meeting he convened on 9 July - this is exactly the kind of outreach activity that the Committee should engage in. I note that while the Committee has not met during this reporting period, there has been a high volume of correspondence for the Committee to consider. This is important work, but we hope the Committee will meet early in the next reporting period to consider how it might take forward the recommendations in the Panel of Expert's last report - including the suggested designations.

The United Kingdom, along with the international community at large, remains deeply concerned about Iran's nuclear programme. It is clear from the International Atomic Energy Agency's report of 30 August that this programme continues to develop in a direction that offers no assurance of Iran's peaceful intentions.

We therefore welcome the IAEA Board of Governor's Resolution adopted on 13 September. The overwhelming support for this Resolution demonstrates the depth of international concern over Iran's nuclear activity. It sends a clear message to Iran that it must urgently address the international community's serious concerns.

Unfortunately, Iran's behaviour does the opposite. It is worth highlighting the following from the IAEA's report:

Iran continues to enrich uranium, in violation of the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and resolutions of this Council.
There has been a significant expansion of enrichment capacity at the Fordow facility over recent months.
Iranian authorities have engaged in a clean-up of their Parchin facility, which the Agency reports "will significantly hamper" their verification efforts.

None of these are the actions of a government which takes its international obligations seriously or which intends to cooperate with the IAEA. What they highlight is the worrying lack of progress in dialogue between the IAEA and Iran on addressing concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme. We are clear that the responsibility for this lack of progress lies firmly at Iran's door: at every step, Iran has been uncooperative and obstructive.

Mr President,

Despite this obstructiveness, the United Kingdom remains fully committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution to this issue.

The E3+3 has met with Iran at political and expert level on four occasions since April. Discussions have been lengthy, tough and intensive, but conducted in an open and business-like manner.

The E3+3 has presented a credible package to Iran, focussing as a first phase on the international community's key concerns surrounding 20% enrichment and activities at the Fordow site. These are reasonable steps to request of Iran if Iran is serious about restoring confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

Significant differences between the two positions remain, but the E3+3 continues to pursue negotiations with Iran in good faith. Iran must negotiate seriously and take urgent, concrete steps to allay the fears of the international community. Until it does so, it should be in no doubt that the international community will continue to apply further pressure.

Iran's leaders - if they do the right thing - can bring all sanctions to an end, and in doing so help Iran realise the benefits of a civil nuclear programme. They have a clear choice: to address international concerns through negotiation and action, or face further economic hardship and isolation.

Mr President

We also remain deeply concerned about Iran's stated support to the Assad regime in Syria, and the evidence, uncovered by the Panel of Experts to this Committee in its June report, on the supply of weaponry. This is unacceptable and it must stop. It is in stark contrast to the will of the Syrian people and a reminder of Iran's hypocrisy in claiming to support freedom in the Arab world.

We are also alarmed by Iran's links to terrorism and its apparent increasing willingness to support terrorism around the world. We are committed to the toughest possible international response to Iran's support for terrorism and its refusal to operate within the bounds of international law.

Mr President

The Iranian regime is at a cross roads. It can continue to ignore the international community's concerns over its nuclear programme, or it can negotiate a settlement that will help to realise the benefits of a civil nuclear programme. It can support the oppressive regime in Syria in suppressing freedom, or it can play a constructive role in its region. It can be an exporter of terrorism or a responsible member of the international community. But it must make these choices soon.

Thank you