Statements before the vote
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil), speaking before action, said her delegation would vote against the draft resolution to honour the Tehran Declaration signed by her own country as well as Turkey and Iran on 17 May. Brazil also opposed the text because it did not see sanctions as effective in the present case. They would lead to the suffering of the Iranian people and play into the hands of those on all sides who did not want a peaceful resolution of the issue. Furthermore, adopting sanctions at the present juncture ran contrary to the efforts of Brazil and Turkey to engage with Iran on a negotiated solution, she added.
Describing the Tehran Declaration as a unique opportunity that should not be missed, she went on to point out that it had been approved by the highest Iranian officials as well as Parliament. The Declaration provided for the use of nuclear energy and set out ways to verify fully its peaceful purposes. The only possible way to further that collective goal was to achieve Iran's cooperation through dialogue and negotiations. Indeed, the Declaration showed that dialogue could do more than sanctions, she said, expressing the Brazilian Government's deep regret that the document had neither received the recognition it deserved, nor been given time to bear fruit.
She said she was also very concerned that the letter of the Vienna Group had only arrived hours ago and no time had been given for Iran to react to its opinion, including its call for a technical group meeting on details. Also of concern was the fact that the Council's permanent members, together with a State that was not a member, had negotiated behind closed doors for a month. Brazil reaffirmed the imperative to carry out all nuclear activity under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Iran's activities were no exception, she emphasized, adding that the Tehran Declaration was "sound policy" that should be pursued. The resolution would delay rather than accelerate or ensure progress, and concerns about Iran's nuclear programme would not be resolved until dialogue began. By adopting sanctions the Council was adopting one of two tracks to solving the question, and in Brazil's opinion, it had chosen the wrong track.
ERTUGRUL APAKAN (Turkey), also speaking before the vote, said his country was fully committed to all its non-proliferation obligations and, as such, was a party to all major relevant international instruments and regimes. Indeed the development of nuclear weapons by any country would make it even more difficult to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Turkey also wished to see a restoration of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.
To that end, seeing no viable alternative to a diplomatic and peaceful solution, Turkey had signed, with Brazil and Iran, the Tehran Declaration, which aimed to provide nuclear fuel to the Tehran Nuclear Research Reactor. It had created "a new reality" with respect to Iran's nuclear programme, he said, adding that the agreement was designed as a confidence-building measure, which, if implemented, would contribute to the resolution of substantive issues relating to that nuclear programme in a positive and constructive atmosphere. "In other words, the Tehran Declaration provides a new and important window and opportunity for diplomacy," he said, stressing that sufficient time and space should be allowed for its implementation.
Turkey was therefore deeply concerned that the adoption of sanctions would negatively affect the momentum created by the Tehran Declaration and the overall diplomatic process, he said. Furthermore, it was "rather unhelpful" that the responses of the Vienna Group had been received only a few hours ago. The negative nature of those responses and their having been sent only on the day when the Council planned to adopt sanctions "had a determining effect on our position", he said, adding that Turkey's position demonstrated its commitment to the Tehran Declaration and to diplomatic efforts.
He went on to say that his delegation's vote against the resolution should not be construed as indifference to the problems emanating from Iran's nuclear programme. "There are serious question marks within the international community regarding the purpose and nature of [that] programme, and those need to be cleared up." Iran should be absolutely transparent about its nuclear programme and demonstrate full cooperation with IAEA in order to restore confidence. Turkey supported a diplomatic solution and the sanctions-based resolution would be adopted despite unrelenting efforts to that end.
However, the resolution's adoption should not be seen as an end to diplomacy, he emphasized, expressing his firm belief that, after the adoption of the text, efforts towards finding a peaceful solution must be continued even more resolutely. "Our expectation from Iran is that to work towards implementation of the Tehran Declaration [it] must remain on the table and Iran should come to the negotiating table with the 5+1 [five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany] to take up its nuclear programme, including the suspension of enrichment," he said.
Action on draft resolution
The Council then adopted the text by 12 votes in favour to 2 against (Brazil, Turkey), with 1 abstention (Lebanon)
Statements after the vote
SUSAN RICE (United States), speaking after the vote, said the resolution was a response to the threats to peace and security arising from Iran's refusal to comply with the requirements of IAEA and the demands of the Council. "Words must mean something," she said, stressing that the sanctions were not aimed at Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but squarely at concerns that it had ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. The measures were tough, smart and precise, she added.
Recalling the diplomatic openings that the United States had made to Iran, she said it had shunned successive opportunities to assure the international community of its peaceful purposes, in addition to announcing its intention to further enrich uranium and revealing undeclared sites. The resolution offered Iran a clear path to the suspension of sanctions and reaffirmed the willingness of the United States and other countries to continue diplomacy for that purpose. She praised the work of Turkey and Brazil, but said their proposal did not respond to the very real concerns about Iran's nuclear programme. "This resolution does," she said, emphasizing that respect for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons must remain at the centre of efforts to control nuclear weapons.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States ("E3+3"), reaffirmed their determination and commitment to seek an early negotiated settlement to the Iranian nuclear issue. The adoption of the resolution, while reflecting the international community's concern about that country's nuclear programme and reconfirming the need for Iran to comply with Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors requirements, "keeps the door open for continued engagement between the E3+3 and Iran."
He said the aim of ministerial efforts was to achieve a comprehensive and long-term settlement, which would restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's programme, while respecting its legitimate right to the peaceful use of atomic energy. "We are resolute in continuing our work to this purpose. We also welcome and commend all diplomatic efforts in this regard, especially those recently made by Brazil and Turkey on the specific issue of the Tehran Research Reactor," he added. The Ministers also reaffirmed their June 2008 proposals, as confirmed by the current text, which provided a sound basis for future negotiations.
He went on to say that the Ministers were prepared to continue dialogue and interaction with Iran in the context of implementing the understandings reached during their meeting in Geneva on 1 October 2009. They had asked Baroness Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to pursue that dialogue with Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, at the earliest opportunity. "We expect Iran to demonstrate a pragmatic attitude and to respond positively to our openness towards dialogue and negotiations," he added.
Reverting to his national capacity, he recalled efforts to resolve the problem diplomatically, saying he regretted that they had not come to fruition and stressing that Iran had followed up with programmes that were even more provocative. He acknowledged the good-faith efforts of Turkey and Brazil, but recalled that Iran had pulled out of a previous agreement, noting that the United Kingdom could not allow it to use the new agreement to justify its defiance of IAEA and the Council. Today's resolution had been made necessary by Iran's own actions, he said, pledging his country's readiness to resume talks while confirming its equal readiness to respond robustly if Iran continued to flout its responsibilities.
GÃ‰RARD ARAUD (France) welcomed the adoption of the text, saying it had been carried out with a balanced representation and that such unity was a response to Iran's clandestine nuclear programme. Since its discovery, Iran had continued to obfuscate the efforts of IAEA and ignore successive Security Council resolutions. There was no doubt about what was going on: Iran had built a clandestine military facility that was far too small for civilian purposes, and had also begun to enrich its uranium to 20 per cent, bringing it "dangerously close" to military grade. Given all that, it was no surprise that IAEA had recently reported that it was impossible to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes.
He said the Council had arrived at today's decision after a long and earnest diplomatic push to negotiate with Iran on the nature and breadth of its nuclear programme. While France welcomed the initiative by Turkey and Brazil as an important confidence-building measure, it appeared that Iran was avoiding the substance of the agreement by continuing to enrich uranium. It was using the Tehran Declaration as an alibi to avoid discussing the programme with the E3+3, and to buy time for continued enrichment, he said, adding that Iran was using it to ignore the will of the wider international community. Indeed, the heart of the problem was the true nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, he emphasized.
With all that in mind, the Security Council had adopted a text that would slow down the progress of Iran's nuclear programme and allow diplomacy more time, he continued. The text was aimed at addressing Iran's continuing attempts to "ride a train for which it does not have a ticket"; not directed at the Iranian people. Adopting it was "the very least the Council could do" in its efforts to reassure the wider international community about the nature of Iran's nuclear programme. The Council also sought to prevent a regional nuclear arms race and to prevent a conflict that could have disastrous consequences in an already unstable region.
The door to dialogue and diplomacy, as always, remained open, he said. France, United Kingdom, United States and the Russian Federation had written to IAEA seeking a discussion of all issues of concern regarding the tripartite agreement. Those countries were also willing to discuss other measures as set out in the resolution. However, such measures could not be taken by others alone, and the Iranian leadership "must take the hand that is being offered" rather than continue its dangerous pursuit of regional supremacy. Rather than a path to isolation, Iran must choose to be brought into the fold of the international community, he added.
RUHAKANA RUGNDA (Uganda) said his delegation had voted in favour of the text because it fully supported the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's aims. Indeed, the Treaty set out the provisions for safeguarding and verifying all nuclear activity, and it was important that all the nuclear activities of parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty were in compliance with relevant safeguards. The recent IAEA report raised a number of questions about the purposes of Iran's nuclear programme, he said. Uganda commended the recent initiative by Turkey and Brazil, which was vital to confidence-building efforts. All future efforts must respect Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, which ensuring also that Iran adhered to Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards and cooperated with IAEA in a full and transparent manner.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his vote in favour had been guided by his country's consistent position on the need for to resolve through dialogue all questions involving Iran's nuclear programme. Hopefully Iran would see the resolution as an appeal to launch substantial negotiations to clarify all issues and to fulfil its responsibilities towards IAEA and the Security Council. The Russian Federation would continue to make significant efforts to promote dialogue and the resolution of all such problems.
Thus far, Iran had not opened the road sufficiently to allow it fully to master the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, thanks to its lack of cooperation with IAEA, he said. Sanctions, forceful measures that must be used in a balanced and proportional way, were aimed exclusively at bolstering the non-proliferation regime and not at the well-being of the Iranian people, he stressed, welcoming the efforts of Brazil and Turkey.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) affirmed the importance of efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the responsibilities implied by the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses, stressing that Iran had not fulfilled its responsibilities in that regard. Japan paid tribute to the efforts of Brazil and Turkey, but regretted that the resulting Declaration did not address core issues, including Iran's continuing enrichment of uranium to high levels. Japan also supported the dual-track approach to resolving the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue as well as pressure, he said, noting that the resolution contained a targeted and balanced approach along those lines, while in no way closing the doors to diplomacy.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), noting that his delegation had voted in favour of the text, said a decision of that kind was never to be taken lightly. From the time when IAEA had revealed Iran's programme in 2003, Austria had hoped that the issue could be resolved through negotiations, but even after five Council resolutions, the nature of the programme remained unclear. Indeed, a clandestine nuclear facility had been discovered just a few months ago, he said, emphasizing his country's continuing commitment to a dual-track approach.
While Austria believed the current resolution was necessary, it still stood behind the two packages proffered by the international community in 2006 and 2008, he said, highlighting also the fact that today's text stressed the willingness of the E3+3 to continue and enhance diplomatic dialogue and consultations. The resolution also expressed the Council's willingness to consider suspending the measures outlined therein if Iran suspended its enrichment activities and carried out the aims of the Council's previous resolutions.
LI BAODONG (China) said that, like previous texts, the current one reflected international concerns as well as the desire of all parties to resolve the matter through dialogue and negotiations. China therefore called on all States to implement the resolution fully and effectively. However, any actions undertaken must be conducive to stability in the Middle East, must not affect the daily lives of the Iranian people, must be commensurate with Iran's actual practice in the nuclear field, and must respect all international norms on nuclear matters.
He said the adoption of the current text did not mean the door was closed to diplomatic efforts. Indeed, it was an attempt to bring Iran back to the table, since the sanctions it outlined could be suspended, or even lifted, if Iran complied with its IAEA obligations. Over the years, China had worked hard to ensure a negotiated settlement of the issue, and welcomed the tripartite agreement between Brazil, Turkey and Iran. It was to be hoped that Iran would use the momentum generated by the Tehran Declaration to build the international community's confidence.
NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon), stressing the importance of ridding the Middle East and the world of nuclear weapons, said his country had been one of the first parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding that the recent Review Conference had reaffirmed the importance of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East. Israel was the only country in the region that held nuclear weapons, he said, emphasizing that it should allow IAEA inspection of its nuclear facilities, and that enforcement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty regime should not be selective.
Iran had a right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as well as an obligation to adhere to the safeguards regime, he said. The fuel swap deal negotiated by Turkey and Brazil provided a road towards resolving the problems that had arisen, he said, adding that the agreement was still a gateway to confidence-building measures. The solution to the overall issue would come about through dialogue and not pressure. The sanctions regime represented a painful failure of diplomatic efforts, he said, while stressing his refusal to give up on such efforts and calling for a reinvigorated, flexible and constructive dialogue.
RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA (Nigeria) said the Non-Proliferation Treaty remained the best framework for guaranteeing the right to peaceful nuclear programmes while preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and for that reason his country was cooperating with IAEA in its efforts to meet its people's energy needs. In that context, Nigeria could not understand why Iran was not cooperating with the Agency if its goals were peaceful. It was incumbent on that country to dispel doubts about its nuclear programme, he stressed, calling on Iran to respond positively to diplomatic efforts, and welcoming the dual-track approach. Nigeria applauded the efforts of Brazil and Turkey in that context, he said.
IVAN BARBALIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said his delegation had once again been among those that had nourished hopes that the issue could be solved through negotiations and in a satisfactory manner for all concerned. "However, we find ourselves confronted by further aggravation regarding a comprehensive solution to the nuclear capacity development in the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said, adding that his own country, as a State party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, was fully committed to implementing the Treaty, which represented an irreplaceable framework for promoting security and preventing nuclear proliferation. The IAEA safeguards agreements could ensure that nuclear energy was used in a safe and responsible manner.
The right of all States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy was also important and must be fully respected and protected, he stressed. " Iran is no exception to that rule. It should be made clear, nevertheless, that the scope and objectives of any nuclear programme, including Iran's, have to remain in accordance with international rules and must be subjected to a verifiable and transparent inspection regime by the International Atomic Energy Agency." The Council had adopted resolutions calling on Iran to comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to extend full cooperation to IAEA inspectors, yet, according to the most recent reports, the international community had not received a clear and unequivocal response from Iran, which had brought the Council to the present stage.
Bearing in mind the importance of restoring confidence in the strictly peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, he urged Iran to comply with all resolutions of the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, and to implement the Additional Protocol. A negotiated settlement, based on mutual trust and respect, was the best option, and in that regard, Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed the recent efforts by Turkey and Brazil "as a significant confidence-building measure". The resolution adopted today was tough, but it did not close out the option of further diplomatic efforts towards an ultimate negotiated solution, he said, calling upon the various parties directly involved to explore all possible means to pave the way for a peaceful solution.
Council President CLADUE HELLER (Mexico), speaking in his national capacity, emphasized that his country was firmly committed to nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. However, Mexico was concerned that the actions being taken weakened those three pillars of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and were of particular concern when carried out in a region already rife with instability and mistrust. Iran's "controversial" nuclear programme was not a new issue for the Council, he said, stressing that the country must comply with all requests by IAEA to ensure the peaceful nature of its programme. It must also comply with Security Council resolutions and ensure transparency regarding its nuclear activities.
"It is Iran that must gain the confidence of the international community, not the Security Council," he declared, expressing Mexico's support for dialogue and negotiations as the way forward. The sanctions and other measures adopted by the Council did not punish the people of Iran, but focused only on its nuclear activities. Recent diplomatic initiatives were insufficient because they addressed neither international concerns about the nature of Iran's programme nor the issue of enrichment. Today's text did not close the door to diplomatic negotiations, but left room for heightened diplomatic efforts, he said, adding that the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East should be pursued to ensure the security and stability of all States in that region, including a future Palestinian State. Mexico would continue to purse the path of dialogue and reject the use of force, he emphasized.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran) said that his nation had endured unfair pressures for many years due to the aggression of some of the same countries that supported today's resolution. He pointed specifically to a suit by the United Kingdom which had claimed that the nationalization of Iran's oil endangered international peace, and the subsequent United States-supported coup, mounted under a similar pretext of maintaining international peace, which had reinstated the dictatorship of the Shah. The clear message was that no one should be allowed to endanger the vital interests of the capitalist world, he asserted.
The similarity of those efforts was that the United States and United Kingdom were, then as now, trying to deprive Iran of its absolute right to achieve energy self-sufficiency, he said. However, the difference was that today Iran was more powerful and enjoyed greater support among its people, who had enjoyed three decades of political experience, a scientific, cultural and industrial renaissance, and the support of the overwhelming majority of nations.
Recalling also the support that the United States had offered Iraq in its war with his country, he said that the Security Council Powers that had refused to take action against Iraq's use of chemical weapons in that conflict were the same ones that had imposed today's resolution. Weapons of mass destruction were religiously proscribed in Iran, which was committed to strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while remaining determined to exercise its right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
He said there was robust cooperation with IAEA, with more than 4,500 person-day inspections permitted since 2003. But even so, a few Western countries continued their provocative behaviour, exemplified by the politically motivated reactions to the deal for the supply of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. However, Iran still responded positively to the efforts of Turkey and Brazil, which had pursued that deal in good faith, leading to a declaration on the exchange of fuel. But instead of welcoming that agreement, the hostile Powers had immediately introduced the current resolution.
The Council had been turned into the tool of a few countries which did not hesitate to abuse it, he said. Those countries should provide answers about their behaviour, including their threats of force against Iran. Their prevention of Council action against the criminal Israeli regime, which daily issued such threats, indicated double standards, he said, maintaining that his own country was merely trying to exercise its legal and inalienable rights, while Israel violated the most basic principles of international law, as demonstrated by the Goldstone Report and the recent "flotilla massacre". Iran would never bow to hostile actions and pressures on the part of a few Powers, and would continue to defend its rights, he vowed.
Mr. LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said in response that Iran's "distorted account of history and personal attacks against my country" only demeaned that representative. In fact, his statement seemed to be an attempt not to respond to the concerns of the international community and the specific concerns set out in Council resolutions about Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Iranian delegate's attacks were an insult to the Council and all those who had sought a negotiated settlement over the past four years. "I hope that on more sober reflection, Iran will respond honestly to the questions asked by the Council over the past four years about its nuclear programme [and] will engage more positively with the Council."