Security Council Briefed by Chairman of 1737 Committee on Implementation of Sanctions Against Iran

UN Department of Public Information-News Media Division
June 15, 2009

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

The Chairman of the Security Council Committee set up under resolution 1737 (2006) to monitor implementation of sanctions and measures imposed on Iran by resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008), presented the tenth quarterly report to the Council, covering the period from 11 March to 15 June.

Yukio Takusu (Japan) recalled that, in the previous report, he had informed the Council that the Committee had sent letters to concerned Member States inviting them to provide any additional relevant information regarding a transfer of materiel that constituted a violation of paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007). That paragraph sets out the export ban on arms and related materiel from Iran.

Updating the Council, the Japanese Ambassador reported that the Committee had subsequently received a response from one of the two States, which, however, did not provide any information relevant to the transfer. The Committee had reiterated its request in a second letter to both States on 1 May. The Committee had also received, on 27 March and 26 May, respectively, additional details on the materiel from the State that had first brought the matter to the Committee's attention. That information was currently under review by the Committee.

In his earlier briefing on 10 March, Mr. Takasu had informed the Council that the Committee had received a letter on 3 February from a Member State "seeking guidance with respect to its inspection of a vessel carrying its flag that had been carrying arms-related materials". The Committee had responded on 6 February, saying that the transfer of the material in question was a violation of paragraph 5 of resolution 1747 (2007). After a further exchange of letters, on 9 March, the Committee had sent a letter to the concerned Member States inviting them to provide, within 10 working days, any additional information regarding that transaction that might help the Committee carry out its mandate. Council members have described the incident as involving a ship travelling from Iran to Syria that was detained in late January off the coast of Cyprus, its flag State carrying arms prohibited under Security Council resolutions.

Also during the reporting period, the Committee had received a notification from a Member State with reference to paragraph 5 of resolution 1737 (2006), concerning the delivery of items for use in the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, he continued. The Committee had also received a notification pursuant to paragraph 15 of that resolution, in connection with the unfreezing of funds to make payments for contracts entered into prior to the listing of an entity.

He informed the Council that the Committee had responded to two written queries from Member States concerning certain aspects of the sanctions regime. Finally, with regard to reporting by States on their implementation of all relevant measures set out in resolution 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008), the updated figures are as follows: 91 reports under resolution 1737, 78 reports under resolution 1747, and 66 reports under resolution 1803.

Following the briefing, the representative of the United States said that the "E-3 + 3" (China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States) had been seeking a meeting with Iran to discuss a way forward on its nuclear programme, but it had not yet received a reply. The United States continued to urge Iran to accept that invitation.

Noting that today's meeting was the first one since Iran's elections on 12 June, she said the United States shared the international community's concern in their aftermath. It was important to respect the rights of the Iranian citizens to express themselves peacefully.

It was also the first meeting since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had released its latest report on the status of Iran's compliance with its Safeguards Agreements and Security Council resolutions, she said, noting that the Agency's board of Governors was starting meetings today. The focus should be on IAEA's detailed findings, which were troubling and included Iran's refusal to comply with the Council's demand to suspend its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities. That deserved the Council's attention. The Agency's report had also found that Iran continued to advance significantly towards a nuclear weapon capability, producing low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6), enough for one nuclear weapon, should it continue to enrich.

Continuing, she said that Iran had not accepted full IAEA safeguards, and, among other things, continued to refuse to address the Agency's remaining questions about past efforts to produce a nuclear warhead, or even to meet. It declined to clarify procurement procedures, or the research and development activities of military institutions and companies that could be nuclear-related, and it rejected requests for access to information and documentation, and to individuals necessary to support Iran's peaceful claims. The Director General had again asked for cooperation, without further delay.

In light of Iran's continued non-compliance with its IAEA and Security Council obligations, the Council Committee must continue to receive full support, she said. The Committee sought additional information from Iran and Syria about the recent violation of 1747. She remained concerned that that request remained unanswered. The United States appreciated Cyprus' inspection of the ship's cargo and for placing it in safe storage, as well as that country's provision to the Committee of additional details about the cargo. Her country would take particular note of additional information that some of the ship's cargo belonged to Iran's Defence Industries Organization, a designated entity under 1737. At the same time, it supported the Committee's critically important efforts to examine the additional details and take appropriate action.

Her country remained committed to direct diplomacy with Iran and would engage on the basis of mutual respect. It also recognized that membership in the international family of nations was a right, but also a responsibility. The Committee had an essential role to play, and she urged it to redouble its efforts to implement the robust measures contained in the relevant Council resolutions.

The representative of the United Kingdom said he also appreciated the cooperation of a Member State in providing further information about the seized cargo, but the response received from the States concerned about the violation of the resolution was not adequate. The matter remained under the Committee's consideration, and he hoped it would receive the necessary information. The IAEA report had made clear, once again, the seriousness of Iran's proliferation activities, which were in clear defiance of several Council resolutions. It had also made clear Iran's continued non-cooperation with the Agency. Iran now had more than 7,000 centrifuges installed, of which about 5,000 were enriching UF6. Iran had now produced 1,339 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. It continued to deny IAEA access to a heavy-water reactor, whose design could be used to produce nuclear weapons. The IAEA had said that that had made it difficult to report further on the construction of the reactor, as the Security Council had requested.

Continuing, he noted the IAEA point that Iran was the only State with significant nuclear activities with comprehensive safeguards in force, but which was not implementing the provisions of revised safeguards concerning design information. The IAEA had still not received preliminary design information for another nuclear power plant, as requested in December 2007. Nor had it cooperated on questions about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear programme overall, making it impossible to be confident about Iran's peaceful intentions. The United Kingdom did not want to deny Iran the use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, but it was difficult to see how Iran's present actions were in pursuit of that goal.

Simply stated, Iran's continued stalling undermined confidence in its intentions, he said. Moreover, it continued to expand its enrichment programme, with no apparent civilian purpose. Iran must suspend enrichment activities and act now to assure the international community that its intentions were exclusively peaceful. The message was clear and simple: now was the time to get down to serious business. The international community had made clear its desire for a sincere partnership with Iran, but that opportunity was not a blank check. Iran needed to make real and urgent progress. The offer would not be there forever.

According to the IAEA report, noted France's representative, Iran was continuing with enrichment and installing new centrifuges. It had refused repeated requests by the Agency for access to a new plant being built and to implement certain transparency measures. As the Director General had said, Iran was the only country with significant nuclear activities that did not apply those measures or the Agency's Additional Protocol. Iran had not cooperated on key points; it had not provided the requested information or documentation or access to the key sites. The Agency had concluded, therefore, that it was not in a position to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activity and that there was a need to fully apply the sanctions adopted after repeated violations by Iran.

He said that Cyprus had taken the right decision to inspect the vessel and withdraw its cargo, but it remained to be determined whether, in addition to the banned arms, the cargo had any link with persons or entities listed in the resolutions related to Iran's nuclear programme. France favoured the political direction of the "E-3 + 3", which had long proposed that Iran meet, but that country had still not replied. He hoped it would re-evaluate its behaviour and stop obstructing the work of the Agency. In short, he hoped it would extend its hand to the hand extended to it. Iran had a singular opportunity to do that, and France hoped that it would.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the Committee, in its continued work, should remain guided by the Council's resolutions and by the primary goal of effective monitoring of Iran's programme, via diplomatic means and negotiations based on proposals put forward by the "six". Russia was working towards ensuring dialogue with Iran, as soon as possible. All six concerned States should stay with the primary goal of ensuring that there were no military aspects to Iran's nuclear programme.

Mexico's speaker thanked the Japanese Ambassador for the detailed report, while expressing concern about points raised in the most recent IAEA report of 5 June that Iran was still not complying with the Council's resolutions and that it continued to enrich uranium and build plants linked to heavy-water reactors. Mexico favoured nuclear disarmament through effective and progressive measures, ensuring the credibility and efficiency of the international non-proliferation system. The recent positive disarmament initiatives shown by some nuclear-weapon States contrasted with the attitudes of other States continuing in their nuclear energy-related activities for non-peaceful purposes. Mexico was concerned about possible delays towards a world free of nuclear weapons; only their total elimination would prevent their proliferation. It was crucial to remain seized of Iran's nuclear issue. Iran should continue to work with the IAEA in order to clarify pertinent issues in conformity with Council resolutions.

China's representative said Iran's nuclear issue involved the effectiveness of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and had a direct bearing on the Middle East situation. China had always stood for the maintenance of the global non-proliferation regime; it was opposed to nuclear weapons proliferation and did not wish to see a new wave of turbulence in the Middle East. But, the matter should be resolved diplomatically, in the interest of peace and security in that region and beyond. At present, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, United States and the Russian Federation remained in close contact with Iran regarding problems on different aspects of its nuclear programme. China hoped the outstanding issues with the IAEA would soon be resolved, so as to allay the international community's misgivings. The international community should intensify its diplomatic efforts and maintain dialogue with Iran, aimed at the early start of negotiations and a comprehensive, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:35 a.m.