Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Briefing on Iran and Resolution 1737

September 5, 2013

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Thank you so much Mr. President, for your briefing and for your leadership of this important Committee. And congratulations on a great first few days as President of the council.

Like others here, the United States hopes that the inauguration of President Rouhani creates an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions.

Unfortunately, we have not yet seen any clear signs that Iran is committed to addressing the most pressing concerns about its nuclear program. To the contrary, recent developments trouble us.

Just last week, IAEA Director General Amano reported that Iran continues to march forward with its prohibited nuclear activities. The Director General stated that "the agency will not be in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared material and activities in Iran unless and until Iran provides the necessary cooperation." This is a conclusion we have heard repeatedly from the IAEA.

Rather than take steps to meet the obligations imposed by this Security Council, Iran is installing advanced centrifuges, which may be two to three times more efficient at enriching uranium than its current centrifuges. The Director General also reported that Iran continues adding to its stockpile of enriched uranium. Iran's expanded enrichment, its construction of the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak, and other examples raised by the Director General not only violate multiple Security Council resolutions, but they move us further away from a negotiated solution. Later this month the IAEA will hold a new round of talks with Iran. At these talks, we strongly encourage Iran to adopt a cooperative and transparent approach with the IAEA.

In the meantime, and until concrete progress has been made, this Committee must step up its efforts to improve sanctions implementation. In recent months, the Committee's work has not kept pace with the threat. We are disappointed, as the President indicated, that despite the best efforts of the chair to find consensus, this Committee often fails to take even routine steps to implement its technical mandate. This must change.

As a first step, the Committee should implement the recommendations contained in the May 2013 Final Report of the Panel of Experts. These recommendations are reasonable. If implemented, they would provide clarity and guidance to states about aspects of the sanctions. The Committee should also sign an agreement with Interpol to help disseminate information about individuals subject to targeted sanctions. Other sanctions committees routinely take such measures to implement the Council's resolutions. In this Committee, however, some members have politicized these actions and prevented the Committee from doing its job.

Even more critical, the Committee must improve its ability to respond to Iran's sanctions violations. The Committee should immediately respond to Iran's July 2012 ballistic missile launches, which were a clear violation of Resolution 1929. An effective response to this violation would include new targeted sanctions on those responsible. The Committee should also follow up vigorously on violations involving Iran's attempts to procure proliferation sensitive items.

Failure to address these and other violations undermines the Council's credibility and authority.

In line with its mandate, the Committee must do more to address Iran's arms smuggling. Iran's steady supply of weapons and military support to extremist groups clearly violates resolution 1747. In addition to violating sanctions, this assistance directly threatens stability in Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and other regions. Needless to say, Iran's longstanding military support to the Assad regime is, under the current circumstances, simply unconscionable.

Mr. President, even in light of Iran's troubling actions, we remain convinced that principled diplomacy remains the best tool to achieve a comprehensive and peaceful solution to the international community’s serious concerns.

We would welcome a constructive sign that Iran may be prepared to engage substantively and seriously with the international community. If Iran chooses to do so, then it will find a willing partner in the United States. We hope that Iran's new leadership chooses this path. Until Iran decides to meet its obligations, the Committee's work remains critical to the diplomacy of holding Iran accountable to this Council and to the broader international community.

Thank you.