Statement by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the U.K. to the U.N. Explaining His Security Council Vote on Iran

July 31, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Mr President, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the Security Council's vital roles in carrying out its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Iran's nuclear activities and its history of concealment raise pressing questions about whether the Iranian programme is, as she claims, solely for civil purposes.

The United Kingdom commends the continuing investigation of the IAEA, and is very deeply concerned over Iran's failure to co-operate fully with the Agency. As today's Resolution notes, after more than three years, the Agency is still unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran. Important questions, including on activities with a possible military nuclear dimension, remain unanswered.

The international community has shown great patience. We have given Iran many opportunities to show that it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. Regrettably, Iran has not taken the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council, which would help build confidence.

Mr President, the United Kingdom remains fully committed to working for a negotiated solution. On 6 June, the EU High Representative, Javier Solana, presented to Iran on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States a new set of far-reaching and imaginative proposals for a comprehensive agreement, which we would negotiate with Iran. The proposals offer Iran a way forward that would enable a solution based on mutual respect and co-operation. They would give Iran everything it needs to achieve its stated ambition of developing a modern civil nuclear power industry, including:

- active support in the building of light water power reactors in Iran; - participation in an uranium enrichment facility in Russia and legally binding assurances relating to the supply of nuclear material, to address Iran's concern it should not depend on a single foreign supplier; - and thirdly, a substantive package of co-operation in less proliferation sensitive nuclear research and development.

In addition, the proposals also offer Iran significant political and economic benefits, including a Trade & Co-operation Agreement with the EU.

When Javier Solana presented these proposals, he made clear that it was essential for Iran to take the steps required by the IAEA Board in its repeated Resolutions and by the Security Council in its Presidential Statement of 29 March. This includes the full suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and to be verified by the IAEA. For our part, we said that if Iran suspended all enrichment activities, we would be prepared to suspend further action in this Security Council.

Suspension will not hinder Iran's development of a modern civil nuclear power industry in any way. But the continuation of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, would allow Iran to develop the know-how to produce fissile material suitable for use in nuclear weapons. Given the concern about Iran's ambitions, this is not a risk we can afford to take. Our proposals suggest a procedure for reviewing the moratorium once international confidence in Iran's intention has been restored.

Mr President, the United Kingdom is deeply disappointed that Iran has given no indication that it is ready to engage seriously on our proposals, nor taken the steps needed to allow negotiations to begin. We have concluded there was no alternative but to seek today's Resolution, which creates a mandatory obligation on Iran to suspend fully all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activity, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA. A full suspension is required to help build confidence, and to create the atmosphere of trust necessary for negotiations. Negotiations cannot succeed if Iran is continuing the activities that are the main source of international concern.

Mr President, we have agreed a United Nations Security Council Resolution which makes the IAEA-required suspension mandatory. Should Iran refuse to comply, then we will work for the adoption of measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Should Iran implement the decisions of the IAEA and the Security Council and enter into negotiations, we would be ready to hold back from further action in the Security Council.

We reaffirm the proposals that were conveyed to Iran by the six countries on 6 June 2006 remain valid. The choice is now for Iran. We urge and encourage Iran to take the positive path by implementing the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council, and to return to talks on the basis of the ambitious package we have put forward.