Remarks by Ambassador David Pressman, U.S. Alternate Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs, at a Security Council Briefing on Iran and Resolution 1737

Statement by Ambassador David Pressman
December 18, 2014


Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Ambassador Quinlan, for your briefing and your leadership of this Committee over the last two years. Because of your diligence and commitment, this Committee's work has been energized. You and your team have done a great job helping the Committee carry out its mandate, improve the transparency of its work and tighten relationships with other international bodies. Please accept the United States’ deep appreciation of your efforts.

Mr. President, the Security Council established this Committee eight years ago this month, back in 2006 because the international community had serious doubts about the peaceful intentions of Iran's nuclear program. Since then, the Committee's work has been an integral element to our broader diplomatic strategy. This Committee has helped many countries implement the increasingly robust UN sanctions. This Committee, with the support of its Panel of Experts, has investigated serious sanctions violations and developed an impressive understanding of Iran's proliferation networks. This Committee has also helped crack down on Iran's arms smuggling, stemming the flow of weapons to a volatile region.

Yet today, several years later, the international community still does not have confidence in Iran's nuclear program. To resolve these issues, Iran is now in a serious dialogue with the P-5+1 countries. To give these negotiations the best chance of success, last month we decided to extend them for an additional seven months. While we continue to believe that the best way to achieve our goals is through diplomacy, we are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever. As we have said many times, we don't want just any agreement – we want the right agreement. Plainly and simply, these negotiations must find ways to ensure that Iran does not, and cannot, acquire a nuclear weapon.

As these talks continue, we should consider how the Security Council's Iran Sanctions Committee can best support them. Our advice to the Committee is simple: keep doing what you're doing. During this period, the Committee must absolutely continue its vital work monitoring and improving enforcement of these critical sanctions. Similarly, the Panel of Experts should continue its work investigating violations and reaching out to Member States. Unless or until the Security Council modifies these sanctions, the pace and intensity of this work should remain robust.

Recent reporting from the Panel of Experts reminds us why this is so important. We know that Iran is still trying to procure sensitive nuclear technology. We know Iran is still smuggling arms in violation of resolution 1747. And we know that Iran's leaders forthrightly reject this Council's resolutions, speaking publicly about their destabilizing arms shipments to Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iraq.

Responding effectively to these violations is at the core of the Committee's mandate. Any breach of the sanctions is a serious matter, as it is dangerous, violates international law, and undermines the Security Council's credibility. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to work with Committee members to ensure that the Security Council's resolutions are not violated with impunity. The Committee's outreach work in advising Member States and answering questions about these sanctions is critically important. The Committee and the Panel must continue to remind Member States of the need to sustain full and robust implementation of these sanctions.

Our determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon remains clear and we are committed to resolving this issue peacefully, through diplomacy. Sanctions are critical to that effort and we intend to ensure that this important body is able to carry out its mandate effectively.

Thank you, Mr. President.