The Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), which monitors implementation of sanctions and measures imposed on Iran by resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008), briefed the Council this morning on the Committee's ninth quarterly report, covering the period from 11 December 2008 to 10 March 2009.
Yukio Takasu (Japan), briefing for the first time as Committee Chair, told the Council that the Committee had received from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a report on its proposed technical cooperation programme for 2009-2011, which included an annex entitled "Evaluation of Technical Cooperation to be provided to Iran during the Technical Cooperation Cycle 2009-2011". The Board of Governors had approved the report and concurred with the evaluation of technical cooperation to be provided in light of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Mr. Takasu said that, in addition, 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 responded on 6 February, saying that the transfer of the material in question constituted 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 relevant information regarding that transaction that might help the Committee carry out its mandate.
Mr. Takasu also informed the Council that the Committee had received two notifications from the Russian Federation concerning the delivery of items for use in the nuclear power plant at Bushehr, Iran. As for the reporting requirement by States on their implementation of all relevant measures contained in resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008), the Committee so far had received 91 reports under resolution 1737, 78 reports under resolution 1747 and 65 reports under resolution 1803. He further noted that the Committee had approved its annual report for 2008 (document S/2008/839) and had responded to a written query received from a Member State.
Following the briefing, the representative of the United States said it was clear that Iran was still not complying with its international nuclear obligations, including relevant Security Council resolutions. She noted that today's meeting was the first session on Iran since the release of the most recent report of the Director General of IAEA, which made it clear that Iran was still not complying with its international nuclear obligations, and since the merchant vessel Monchegorsk had been found to be shipping arms related material from Iran to Syria.
She said, "The United States believes the Iran Sanctions Committee has an essential role to play, even as we offer Iran a new opportunity to restore confidence in its words and actions," and that the Committee should redouble its efforts to ensure full and robust implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.
As all knew, the United States was currently engaged in a review of its policy towards Iran, she said, but the new United States Administration would not waiver in its determination to ensure Iran did not obtain nuclear weapons. "But the United States also sees an opportunity, a chance for the Iranian Government to demonstrate that it is willing to unclench its fist and begin a serious, responsible discussion about a range of issues," she said. President Obama had already said that the United States was prepared for "principled engagement with Iran" and the country would work to ensure that such engagement was consistent with the Council's rules and decisions.
The Council President, the representative of Libya, speaking in his national capacity, stressed the need for intensified international efforts to find a peaceful solution to the question of Iran's nuclear programme through intensified diplomatic efforts and consultations with Iran, which would open the way to full relations and fruitful cooperation with that country based on mutual respect and confidence in the civilian nature of the nuclear programme. He called on all parties to initiate direct negotiations as soon as possible.
He said that, in dealing with non-proliferation issues, the approach must be comprehensive and non-selective. In that regard, he regretted that the Council had not yet given appropriate attention to the issue of Israel's nuclear weapons, even though Israel refused to be subjected to IAEA safeguards. That was frustrating to the aspiration of the people in the region to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as expressed in several General Assembly resolutions.
The representative of the United Kingdom expressed his Government's continued and serious concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, as the latest IAEA report had made clear that, in defiance of Security Council resolutions, Iran had refused to suspend all its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities. Iran now had some 5,500 centrifuges installed, of which about 4,000 were actively enriching uranium "for which Iran has no plausible civilian use". Iran had also refused access by IAEA inspectors to the heavy water reactor at Arack for a second time. That was of particular concern, because the design of that reactor was ideally suited to producing plutonium that could be used for nuclear weapons.
He said the United Kingdom did not refuse Iran the right of civil use of nuclear energy under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In 2008, the "EU3+3" (United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Russian Federation and China) had refreshed its 2007 offer to Iran of help if Iran was willing to suspend nuclear enrichment. Yet, Iran had so far made no serious attempts to engage based on that offer, even after the suggestion of a "freeze for freeze" agreement. The EU3+3 continued to pursue a dual track with Iran -- sanctions if it did not suspend its enrichment programmes, as well as dialogue that could lead to full negotiations if nuclear enrichment activities were suspended.
He said that, if Iran continued to isolate itself by refusing to meet its international obligations, then the international community must stand together to ensure that Iran understood that its actions had consequences. The United Kingdom appreciated the efforts of Cyprus in acting to prevent the transfer and procurement of arms and related material from the vessel Mochegorsk. He looked forward to the explanations on the matter provided to the Sanctions Committee by both Iran and Syria.
France's representative, reciting several instances where Iran had refused to cooperate with IAEA, said he hoped Iran would stop its obstruction and take the extended hand offered to it. The Committee's report provided both concern and hope. The concern was with the shipment of arms. The hope had been provided by the Government of Cyprus, which, fully aware of its responsibilities, had retained the material on its territory. He said there was a need for further cooperation. All violations should be reported to the Committee, whose vigilance must be strengthened.
The meeting started at 10:08 a.m. and adjourned at 10:35 a.m.