Statements by National Governments Regarding the Unanimous Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1747 (2007)

UN Department of Public Information-News Media Division
March 24, 2007

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • China
  • France
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Statements before the Vote

Speaking in explanation of position before the vote, NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) said Iran had the right to nuclear energy research and production for peaceful purposes. That was Iran's inalienable right according to articles I and II of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which nobody could deny. He did not doubt the genuine intentions of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme. He was saddened that the Council was forced to impose new sanctions on Iran. He did not see sanctions as an appropriate means of pressure, as it might complicate matters and signified another failure of diplomatic efforts. Continued pressure did not help to build confidence, which was already lost between the two parties. On the contrary, it might sometimes have serious consequences, given the already volatile situation in the region.

The dead end in the negotiations between the concerned countries and Iran made it necessary to seek new prospects and explore all possible means that paved the way to reach a peaceful solution to the impasse by diplomatic means. Qatar was keen on adherence by all States to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That was a solid principle from which no country could deviate. When voting against resolution 1696 (2006), Qatar had been very clear that it was not expressing an opinion opposed to that principle, but was in favour of allowing Iran more time to study the offer by the six countries. He looked forward to seeing specific proposals from both parties that contributed to revitalizing the prospects of diplomatic solutions.

Addressing non-proliferation issues should not be done through selectivity, he said. He did not see the Council dealing with those issues with different criteria. The Council was required to follow the same approach towards countries that did not comply with their obligations according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and towards those that did not pay attention to it in the first place. That was why Qatar had presented a clear and direct proposal in the draft resolution regarding the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. He regretted that the sponsors of the draft had not taken that proposal on board.

PASCAL GAYAMA (Congo) said he had, from the beginning of his term on the Security Council, understood the need for unity in order to endow the message it sent and give it more coherence. His delegation had participated in the negotiations preceding today's vote. It was a particularly important decision. For Congo, the most important aspect was to ensure compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, based on the three pillars, which must all be observed; namely: non-proliferation; nuclear disarmament; and the inalienable right of all States parties to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Here, the main problem was the lack of trust in the peaceful character of Iran's nuclear programme.

He said that, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran had been outside the scope of control for some 20 years. He sought a solution based on dialogue and negotiation, and without any threat or use of force. Today's vote should not be interpreted as hostile or punitive. Congo would like to give a signal through the vote of the steps that needed to be taken, such as suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment. That would not be a sign of weakness by Iran. His country anticipated continuing its peaceful relations with Iran.

REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) said that the purpose of the draft was not to punish the people or Government of Iran, but to enforce compliance with previous Council resolutions and resolve outstanding IAEA resolutions. The draft was not final or irrevocable, but a reversible one. It rested on two related conditions: Iran taking action to suspend its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activity, to be verified by IAEA, which would then set a stage for negotiations towards an early and mutually acceptable outcome. It was also of great significance that measures specified in resolution 1737 (2006) would also be terminated following the determination that Iran had complied with its obligations. Should Iran feel it was necessary to move towards a negotiated solution, today's text provided an opportunity for that, in accordance with the proposal made in June 2006, which was "still on the table". He enjoined the Government of Iran to "keep that door open", because through it was a comprehensive agreement on the exclusive peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

He said that today's draft had accommodated some of his Government's concerns, and several of its amendments had been taken on board. Those had included the reference to a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. Indonesia was concerned about the problem of proliferation in general and, particularly, in the region. The establishment of zones free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction was a critical measure towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The creation of such zones, including in the Middle East, would contribute to strengthening global peace and security. There was a need for all States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to comply fully with all obligations; all three pillars must be pursued in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner.

Not only should the non-proliferation obligations of the non-nuclear-weapon States be emphasized, but also the nuclear disarmament obligations of the nuclear-weapon States under the Treaty's article VI, he stressed. The only way to eliminate the fear caused by the possible use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was their total elimination. The solution to the issue of Iran should in no way affect or change the inalienable right of all Non-Proliferation Treaty parties, including Iran, to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination, in accordance with the Treaty.

Council President DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa), speaking in his national capacity, said that the resolution, although far from ideal, was a consequence of concern about the need to build international confidence in Iran's nuclear programme. South Africa had approached the text on its merits, and with a perspective of the country that was not a party to any dispute or conflict. The Council was well aware that South Africa was fully committed to the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and, therefore, was a strong advocate against both the horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. Inevitably, it was against the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, or by any other country. Its position had been informed by its own national experience, as the only country to have voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons and related programmes.

He said that, while South Africa recognized that the Security Council might be called upon to impose coercive measures, such as sanctions, it believed that those measures should be utilized with great caution, and only to support the resumption of political dialogue and negotiations to achieve a peaceful solution. South Africa's interventions in the Council, therefore, had focused on trying to deescalate tensions, promote dialogue to establish confidence in Iran's nuclear programme, ensure that the IAEA inspectors remained on the ground in Iran and that Iran remained part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

South Africa had always been very clear, as a matter of principle, that the Council must remain within its mandate of addressing threats to international peace and security, he said. If the co-sponsors of the resolution were convinced that the Iranian programme was a threat to international peace, then the Council should have been asked to take a decision on a draft that had concentrated on that, and not act as if the Iranian Government itself posed a threat to international peace and security.

He said he had proposed a number of constructive amendments to the draft resolution. The purpose had been to assist the Council in finding language for a new text that matched the stated objectives of the co-sponsors, so that the resolution would be "proportionate, incremental and reversible". While he remained "deeply disappointed" that not all of his proposals had been accommodated, the resolution, however, correctly acknowledged that there was a need to respect the right of all countries, including Iran, to exploit the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, subject to appropriate safeguards. He had been particularly pleased with the fact that the resolution now reaffirmed the need for all States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to comply fully with all their obligations, which corresponded with his view that the twin obligations of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation required equal attention. "After all, there is no basis for arguing that mass-destruction weapons are safe in some hands and not in others," he said.

Noting that IAEA had been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, he said, however, that he shared the Director General's concern that the Agency continued to be unable "to reconstruct fully the history of Iran's nuclear programme and some of its components", because the necessary level of transparency and cooperation had not been provided by Iran.

He said that the 15 Council members had taken a difficult decision and, after today's vote, a great deal of work still lay ahead, if the international community hoped to prevent heightened tensions from spiralling out of control. A path needed to be urgently found back to negotiations, restraint and composure on all sides. South Africa, therefore, hoped that the latest offer by Iran to resume negotiations would lead to concrete results.

He urged Iran to provide the necessary assistance and cooperation to IAEA; it was imperative that confidence was established in Iran's nuclear programme for peaceful purposes. Every effort must be made to resume dialogue and enter into meaningful negotiations to find a sustainable long-term solution to the matter, since no one would win through a process of confrontation that could lead to disastrous consequences in a highly volatile region.

Resuming his role as Council President, Mr. KUMALO put the draft resolution to a vote. It was adopted unanimously as resolution 1747 (2007).

Statements after the Vote

EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), reading out the text of a statement that had been agreed upon by the foreign ministers of China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union, said the unanimous adoption of resolution 1747 (2007) reflected the international community's profound concerns over Iran's nuclear programme. He deplored Iran's failure to comply with the earlier resolutions of the Council and IAEA, and called upon Iran, once again, to comply fully with all its international obligations. He was committed to seeking a negotiated solution that would address the international community's concerns. The purpose of negotiations would be to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran, based on mutual respect, that would re-establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and open the way to improving relations and developing wider cooperation between Iran and China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States.

He recognized Iran's rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with its Treaty obligations. In that respect, future arrangements, modalities and timing would be dealt with in negotiations. Full transparency and cooperation by Iran with IAEA was essential, in order to address outstanding concerns. The countries reiterated full support for IAEA and stood by their "suspension for suspension" proposal. That meant for the duration of negotiations, which would take place within an agreed time frame, extendable by mutual agreement, Iran would maintain an IAEA-verified suspension, as required by Council resolutions 1737 and 1747, and Council discussion of Iran's nuclear programme would also be suspended, as would the implementation of measures under the relevant Council resolutions.

He reconfirmed the proposals presented to Iran in 2006, including cooperation with Iran on civil nuclear energy, legally binding guarantees on the supply of nuclear fuel and wider political security and economic cooperation. Those proposals remained on the table. Urging Iran to take the opportunity to engage and to find a negotiated way forward, he said the proposals would bring far-reaching benefits to Iran and to the region, and they provided a means to address the international community's concerns, while taking account of Iran's legitimate interests. In a region that had known too much instability and violence, it was necessary to find an agreed way forward that built confidence and promoted peace and mutual respect. In that spirit, he proposed further talks with Iran to see if a mutually acceptable way could be found to open negotiations.

Speaking in his national capacity, he said it was just short of a year since the Council had first taken action on the Iranian nuclear issue, following IAEA's referral of the issue to it. The United Kingdom's concern throughout had been two-fold, namely to promote prospects for a negotiated solution, on which suspension of enrichment by Iran depended, and to reinforce IAEA's role. Those concerns had led to the elaboration of a detailed offer of long-term cooperation from the six nations whose statement he had just read. Those ministers, however, had also agreed to seek further Council action on Iran, should their demands not be met.

Iran's continuing defiance had prompted the adoption of resolution 1696 of July 2006, setting the framework of the Council's actions, including a binding Chapter VII decision that Iran should suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Despite that, Iran had ignored the Council, leading in turn to further Council action. On 23 December, the Council had unanimously adopted resolution 1737, reaffirming the mandatory requirement for Iran to suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and clarifying that Iran must also suspend construction of the heavy-water research reactor at Arak. It had also introduced a number of measures aimed at restricting Iranian development of sensitive nuclear technologies and its development of ballistic missiles that could deliver them.

He said the measures were an incremental and proportionate response to Iran's failure to comply with the requirements of resolution 1696, aimed at persuading Iran that its interests were best served by putting in place the conditions necessary for discussions to seek a negotiated resolution to the issue. As requested by resolution 1737, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei had reported on 22 February that Iran had continued to pursue those sensitive technologies, in defiance of its obligations under international law. That was the backdrop to the intensive and constructive deliberations that had led to the resolution today. By adopting the resolution, the Council had continued its incremental and proportionate approach, increasing gradually the pressure on Iran to address the concerns shared across the international community.

Continuing, he said the Council had strengthened the restrictions on individuals closely associated with Iran's sensitive nuclear activities and with its ballistic missile programme, prohibited arms sales from Iran and had urged vigilance over the supply of heavy weapons to Iran. The Council had also urged restraint in making finance available to Iran's Government. The new resolution did not introduce any changes to the provisions in paragraph 15 of resolution 1737. The assets freeze, therefore, did not prevent a person or entity designated in the annexes to resolution 1737 and the current resolution from making payment due under a contract entered into force before that person or entity had been listed in cases covered by paragraph 15.

Building on resolutions 1696 and 1737, resolution 1747 sent a unanimous and unambiguous signal to the Government and people of Iran, he concluded. "To both we say that we prefer, and are committed to, the path of cooperation. But we say also that the path of proliferation by Iran is not one that the international community can accept," he said. The United Kingdom wanted Iran to make the right choice, namely cooperation with the international community, which required the removal of any doubt that Iran could develop nuclear weapons. The Council's resolve was clear. Iran must make its choice.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) welcomed the Council's unanimous adoption of the resolution. Iran had failed to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities. It had also not suspended its heavy-water activities, including the construction of a heavy-water reactor at Arak, nor had it resumed cooperation with IAEA under the Optional Protocol. Thus, Iran had ignored IAEA's Board of Governor's resolutions and the Council's demands in resolutions 1696 and 1737. As affirmed in resolution 1737, those measures were essential to restore confidence. The international community was concerned by the proliferation questions that arose from the Iranian nuclear programme. After several years, IAEA was unable to provide the international community with the safeguard it required as to the strictly peaceful nature of the programme. Essential questions, including ones with possible military implications, remained unanswered.

He added that nobody in the Council wished to deny Iran its right to, or prevent the Iranian people from benefiting from, nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. All States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as long as they met the obligations under articles I and II of the Treaty. The international community asked Iran to fulfil those non-proliferation obligations. It was unacceptable that Iranian officials shirked their obligations under the Treaty. By adopting resolution 1737, the Council had indicated that it would suspend sanctions if Iran were to return to complete suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities. The Council also warned that it would take further measures should Iran persist in not meeting the international community's demands. The last IAEA report showed that Iran's leaders had not made the choice the international community had hoped it would make. The Council had to act in those conditions.

The measures adopted today were in proportion to Iran's actions and were reversible, he said. They were also in line with the approach of constant pressure applied by the Council to persuade Iran to return to the conditions necessary for negotiation and restrict the development of the sensitive programmes undertaken. The additional measures adopted concerned a series of entities and individuals involved in Iran's proliferation programmes. It also concerned entities and individuals linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, who played a worrying role in Iran's development of sensitive nuclear activities, and addressed also the Sepah Bank, which had been linked to funding activities for Iran's nuclear programme. The measures outlined by the resolution had been defined to exert effective pressure on Iranian authorities, while seeking to spare the Iranian people as much as possible. The resolution did not introduce any change to the provisions of paragraph 15 of resolution 1737.

Iran's choice, he said, was to meet the international community's demands or face growing isolation. A further path was available, other than the one on which Iran had embarked; namely a path of negotiation in good faith and discussion on the basis of the proposals submitted last June by the party of six, which recognized Iran's inalienable rights to benefit from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and offered cooperation to develop peaceful nuclear energy. That offer remained on the table. France and the group of six were earnest in their desire to arrive at a negotiated solution. He hoped the Iranian leaders would heed that call.

ALEJANDRO D. WOLFF (United States) said his country was pleased that the Council had once again unanimously taken action against what was "clearly a grave threat to international peace and security". The Iranian leadership's continued defiance of the Council in failing to comply with resolutions 1696 and 1737 required that the Council uphold its Charter-mandated responsibilities and take action. While he hoped Iran responded to today's resolution by complying with its international legal obligations, the United States "is fully prepared to support additional measures in 60 days, should Iran choose another course", he warned.

He said the Council was meeting today because of the decisions of Iran's leadership. Their actions included more than 20 years of deception of IAEA; namely "a nuclear programme hidden from the international community, in violation of the NPT -- a programme that is emerging from the shadows slowly and incompletely, only due to the efforts of international inspectors and outside groups". Quoting from the latest IAEA Director General's report, he said that, without the necessary cooperation and transparency, the Agency "will not be able to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran or about the exclusively peaceful nature of that programme".

The unanimous passage of today's resolution sent a clear and unambiguous message to Iran that the regime's continued pursuit of a nuclear-weapon capability, in violation of its Treaty obligations, as well as its obligations as a United Nations Member State, would only further isolate Iran and make it less, not more, secure. It was not only appropriate, but the responsibility of the Council to act, and it had done so carefully and deliberately. Yet, its two latest resolutions had been ignored by Iran, which called the Council's decisions "invalid" and "an extra-legal act". Iran had also vowed that the "new resolution won't be an obstacle in the way of Iran's nuclear progress".

Sadly, he said, Iran continued to defy the will of the international community, the Council's decisions and its international law obligations. For that reason, it was entirely necessary for the Council to have adopted "stronger" measures to persuade the regime to make its country more secure by abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Should Iran choose a different path, today's resolution made clear that the Council was prepared and willing to adopt additional measures. Indeed, in the face of Iran's continued defiance, the United States expected that the Council would continue to "incrementally increase pressure on the Iranian regime".

To be clear, he continued, the measures being adopted today were in no way meant to punish Iran's civilian population. Resolution 1747 was properly tailored to target Iranian institutions and officials that supported Iran's nuclear and missile programmes. It forbade Iran from providing any arms to anyone, anywhere and called on all nations not to export to Iran any major arms. The resolution did not introduce any changes to the provisions in paragraph 15 of resolution 1737. The assets freeze, therefore, did not prevent a person or entity designated in the annexes to resolution 1737 and to today's text from making payments due under a contract entered into force before that person or entity was listed in cases covered by paragraph 15 of resolution 1737.

Noting that the Iranian leadership had claimed that the Council sought to deprive Iran of its right to peaceful nuclear energy, he said that simply was not true. The six Governments, including his own, that had been trying in vain to get to negotiations with the Iranians over the past year recognized Iran's right to peaceful, civil nuclear energy in conformity with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In fact, the generous proposal put on the table by the six parties last June -- an offer that remained on the table today -- included assistance in the construction of civilian light-water nuclear power plants. Those plants would generate electricity for the people of Iran, but be of no use to Iran's nuclear-weapon programme. Many other Governments around the world, including some represented on the Council, enjoyed national civilian nuclear energy programmes without any difficulties, demonstrating that there was no incompatibility between a country's right to a peaceful nuclear-energy programme and its non-proliferation obligations.

Iran's rejection of that offer sent a "deeply troubling signal" to the entire international community, he said. Nonetheless, his Government associated itself with the statement made by the United Kingdom, reaffirming his offer and willingness to resolve the issue through negotiations. The current path chosen by Iran's leadership posed a direct challenge to the very principles on which the United Nations had been founded. Iran's leadership had openly proclaimed that the Council was "illegal" and that its resolutions were "torn pieces of paper". Iran's supreme leader had pledged that Iran would undertake "illegal acts" if the Council proceeded with adoption of the resolution today. Calls by Iran's leaders to have Israel, a United Nations Member State, "wiped off the map" stood in stark contrast to everything for which the United Nations stood. That contrast was amplified by " Iran's continued well-known role as one of the world's leading State sponsors of terrorism".

He said he looked forward to Iran's full compliance with today's resolution, which would signal its willingness to engage in constructive negotiations over the future of its nuclear programme.

VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said he had voted in favour of the resolution, which had been the result of protracted negotiation and complicated tradeoffs. He was happy to note that the resolution was more balanced and coherent than the initial text. The constraints introduced by the resolution were aimed at eliminating IAEA's concerns, and were in no way aimed at punishing Iran. The context of resolution 1747 was unambiguous, in that it left open the door to negotiation. Of key significance was the provision that, if Iran suspended all of its enrichment activities, the resolution's measures would also be suspended.

The resolution's measures were also imposed in accordance with Article 41 of the United Nations Charter and precluded the possibility of the use of force, he said. Any further steps would also be exclusively peaceful ones. A solution could only be achieved through diplomatic efforts. Also, the resolution did not alter the provisions of paragraph 15 of resolution 1737. In other words, the activity authorized by the Council in the area of trade could continue.

Noting that he fully supported the statement by the ministers of the group of six, he said it was clear that much would depend on Iran's actions. He hoped the Government would take into account the Council's unanimous adoption of the resolution, analyse the positive content of the group's statement and chose to cooperate with IAEA on the basis of dialogue and mutual respect on any other outstanding issues. Such an approach would make it possible for the Council to put unresolved problems behind it, and create a situation in which Iran, as it developed a peaceful nuclear programme, would be viewed as any other party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

WANG GUANGYA (China) said his country had all along supported safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism and opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons. China did not wish to see new turbulence in the Middle East, and favoured a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear issue through political and diplomatic efforts and negotiations. Currently, the development of Iran's nuclear issue was worrisome. China respected and recognized Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He was disappointed, however, that the Iranian side had failed to respond to the requests of IAEA and the Council. Under such circumstances, he supported the Council in taking further and appropriate actions to urge the Iranian side to suspend enrichment-related activities, in order to bring the process back to the negotiation track.

At the same time, he said China believed that any measures taken should aim at safeguarding the international non-proliferation mechanism and maintaining international and regional peace and stability. Actions taken by the Council should be appropriate, incremental and proportionate. They should help enhance diplomatic efforts, rather than aggravating conflicts and leading to confrontation. He had voted in favour of the resolution, as it basically reflected those views. The purpose of the new resolution, however, was not to punish Iran, but to urge Iran to return to the negotiations and reactivate diplomatic efforts. The relevant sanction measures should neither harm the Iranian people nor affect normal economic, trade and financial exchanges between Iran and other countries.

He said the new resolution did not introduce any change to the exemption provisions in paragraph 15 of resolution 1737. The assets freeze, therefore, did not prevent a person or entity designated in the annexes to resolution 1737 and the current text from making payment due under a contract entered into force before that person or entity was listed in cases covered by paragraph 15. The new resolution and the sanction measures in resolution 1737 were all reversible. If Iran suspended its enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and complied with the relevant resolutions of IAEA and the Council, the Council should suspend and even terminate the sanction measures.

It was impossible, he added, to resolve the issue fundamentally by imposing sanctions and pressure only. Diplomatic talks remained the best option. That was also the international community's common understanding. Solution to the Iranian nuclear issue required all-around diplomatic efforts, especially diplomatic efforts outside the Council. He called on all parties concerned to adopt a highly responsible and constructive attitude, keep calm, practice restraint and refrain from any actions that might lead to deterioration or escalation of tension. At the same time, it was necessary to bear in mind that, in handling Iran's nuclear issue, the ultimate objective was safeguarding the international non-proliferation mechanism and maintaining international and regional peace and stability. No actions should go astray from that goal. It was essential to keep the process on the track of dialogue and negotiation, and insist on seeking a peaceful solution through political and diplomatic efforts. It was, therefore, particularly important to reinforce diplomatic efforts outside the Council.

Continuing, he said it was necessary to firmly safeguard the international non-proliferation mechanism. IAEA remained the main framework for resolving Iran's nuclear issue, and its authority and role should, therefore, be safeguarded and strengthened. It was necessary to handle, in a balanced manner, the relations between peaceful use of nuclear energy and non-proliferation. The international community should recognize Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. Iran also had the obligation to accept IAEA's supervision and resolve outstanding issues through cooperation with IAEA, so as to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme and establish international confidence in it. All parties concerned should act on the basis of equality and mutual respect, strengthen dialogue and communication, increase trust, reduce doubts and remove each other's concerns, so as to create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for settling the issue. The current urgent task for all parties was to show full flexibility and creatively seek to resume negotiations. The June 2006 proposal put forward by the six countries was still on the table. The "time out" proposal by the IAEA Director General and the establishment of mechanism of talks that included Iran also deserved consideration.

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS (Panama) said he was reassured that the Council had been able to act in unanimity by sending a message of clear concern to the people and Government of Iran concerning their nuclear programme. However, on each occasion when the Council had adopted a resolution laying down sanctions, the political process had clearly failed. Thus, he called on the parties to resume talks as soon as possible, aimed at resolving the conflict that had given rise to the Council's action today. He had taken note it was the clear interest of all to recognize Iran's right to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran, like other Non-Proliferation Treaty parties, was under the obligation, however, to prevent proliferation. Having said that, there was a need for clear resolve and good faith, in order for Iran to meet the international community's concerns, he said.

DUÅ AN MATULAY (Slovakia) said that, as a country producing nuclear energy, Slovakia supported the right of every country to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in conformity with articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Based on its strict adherence to that Treaty and to the IAEA safeguards, his Government would never support any action that would infringe upon that inalienable right of States. It was fully convinced that the international community was right to ask for guarantees about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. That fact was, those assurances were outstanding; IAEA remained unable to make further progress in its efforts to fully verify the past development of Iran's nuclear programme and certain aspects concerning its scope and nature. He urged Iran to provide maximum cooperation and transparency to IAEA and all partners concerned to solve all outstanding issues and restore confidence about its nuclear programme.

Reviewing the recent findings of the IAEA Board of Governors concerning Iran and the actions of the Council, he said the 15-member body's resolutions had been a proportionate response to Iran's continued failure to comply with international requirements. He also reaffirmed Slovakia's continuous support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. Every diplomatic effort must be explored and exhausted to achieve that goal. The proposal for a long-term comprehensive agreement presented last June was still on the table, and the door to negotiations remained open. That offered Iran the chance to reach a negotiated agreement based on cooperation. He called on the Iranian leadership to comply with the Council's requirements and resume talks over the matter on terms acceptable to the international community.

JOHAN C. VERBEKE (Belgium) said he had voted in favour of the text and welcomed its adoption by unanimity. He regretted that Iran had not met the Council's requirements to suspend its reprocessing activities and construction work on a heavy-water reactor. He deplored the lack of transparency that had led IAEA to decide on 22 January that it was not in a position to provide safeguards as to the absence of undeclared radioactive nuclear material in Iran.

The new resolution would serve to demonstrate the international community's resolve to monitor the integrity of the non-proliferation regime, he said. It would also reaffirm the Council's desire to persist in the search for a negotiated solution. He appealed to Iran to pay due account to the offer made to it in June 2006, and to implement a long-term, lasting agreement. The new resolution reflected the Council's resolve to take appropriate additional measures where Iran had been shown to ignore the international community's requirements. Belgium attached particular importance to the principle of proportionality and reversibility, which reflected the Council's resolve, while indicating that a further path remained open to Iran.

NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said he had voted in favour of the resolution, as he believed in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Although the resolution imposed sanctions on Iran, it also left open the door to negotiations. He hoped that there would a diplomatic solution to the protracted negotiation on the Iranian nuclear programme and appealed to all States to live up to their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Recognizing the sensitivity of the issue, he hoped the Council would pay attention to the issue of selectivity, which had been raised by other speakers during the debate.

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, said it was the fourth time in the last 12 months that the Security Council, orchestrated by a few of its permanent members, was "being abused to take an unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable action against the peaceful nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which presents no threat to international peace and security and falls, therefore, outside the Council's Charter-based mandate".

"Iran's nuclear programme is completely peaceful," he stressed. His country had expressed its readiness, taken unprecedented steps and offered several serious proposals to address and allay any possible concern in that regard. Indeed, there had been no doubt from the beginning, nor should there be any for the Council, that all those "schemes of the co-sponsors of the resolution are for narrow national considerations, and aimed at depriving the Iranian people of their inalienable rights, rather than emanating from any so-called proliferation concerns". In order to give that scheme a semblance of international legitimacy, its initiators had first manipulated the IAEA Board of Governors and, as they themselves had acknowledged, coerced some of its members, to vote against Iran in the Board. Then, they had taken advantage of their substantial economic and political power to pressure and manipulate the Security Council to adopt three unwarranted resolutions within eight months.

Undoubtedly, he said, those resolutions could not indicate universal acceptance, particularly when the Heads of State of nearly two thirds of United Nations Members, who belonged to the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, had supported Iran's positions as recently as September 2006, and had expressed concerns about policies pursued inside the Security Council. Those resolutions did not even reflect the views of the Council's own 15 members, since most of them had not been thoroughly informed about, let along engaged in, the discussions "held in secret meetings", where only a few, among them non-members, decided for the whole Council.

"This is not the first time the Security Council is asking Iran to abandon its rights," he said. When Saddam Hussein had invaded Iran 27 years ago, the Council had waited seven days so that Iraq could occupy 30,000 square kilometres of Iranian territory. Then, it had unanimously adopted resolution 479 (1980). That text had asked the two sides to stop the hostilities, without asking the aggressor to withdraw. The Council, then too, had effectively asked Iran to suspend implementation of parts of its right -- at that time, its right to 30,000 square kilometres of its territory. As expected, the aggressor had dutifully complied; but, imagine what would have happened if Iran had complied: "We would then be begging the Council's then sweetheart, President Saddam Hussein, to return our territory". Iran had not accepted the demand to suspend its right to its territory. It had resisted eight years of carnage and use of chemical weapons, coupled with pressure from the Council and sanctions from its permanent members.

Consideration by the Council of the Iranian peaceful nuclear programme had no legal basis, and the referral of the case to the Council and adoption of resolutions failed to meet the minimum standards of legality, he said. " Iran's peaceful nuclear activities cannot be characterized as a threat to peace by any stretch of law, fact or logic," he said. Rather, certain members of the Council had decided to "hijack the case from the IAEA …and politicise it". In order to achieve the politically motivated and unlawful goal of depriving Iran from its inalienable right to nuclear energy, attempts had been made to manufacture evidence. Iran had had to implement transparency measures outside all IAEA safeguards and protocols and allow the Agency inspectors more than 20 visits to sensitive military sites, which had no connection whatsoever to its nuclear programme. In fact, over the last four years, IAEA had conducted more than 2,100 person days of scrutiny of all Iranian nuclear facilities. All IAEA reports since November 2003 had indicated the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, and it had confirmed, in 2003, and maintained since then, that "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities …were related to a nuclear weapons program".

Continuing, he said that, on several occasions, the Agency had concluded that all the declared nuclear material in Iran had been accounted for and, therefore, such material had not been diverted to prohibited activities. As recently as February 2007, its Director General had stated in his report that the Agency had been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. He had also indicated to the Board of Governors on 5 March 2007 that the Agency had seen no "industrial capacity to produce weapon-usable nuclear material, which is an important consideration in assessing the risk".

It was very unfortunate that the Council, under the manifest pressure of a few permanent members, persisted in trying to deprive a nation of its inalienable right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, while that nation had met, and continued to honour, its international obligations, he said. The Council's decision to try to coerce Iran into suspension of its peaceful nuclear programme was a gross violation of Article 25 of the Charter, and contradicted the Iranian people's right to development and education.

He said that today's resolution was punishing a country that had been a committed member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, with all its nuclear facilities under the monitoring of IAEA's inspectors and their cameras. The resolution imposed sanctions on a country that had fulfilled all of its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and IAEA, and which demanded nothing more than its inalienable rights under that Treaty. Was there any better way to undermine an important multilateral instrument that dealt directly with international peace and security? Was not that action by the Council, in and of itself, a grave threat to international peace and security? he asked.

The resolution had clearly departed from the stated aims of its sponsors, he went on. By targeting Iran's defence, economic and educational institutions, it was pursuing objectives far beyond Iran's peaceful nuclear programme. The sanctions were clearly targeting an independent, proud and tireless nation with thousands of years of culture and civilization. Plus, it had been adopted at a time when, not only had all initiatives to return to a negotiated solution been neglected, but also certain countries had not even allowed the presentation of such proposals. Iran had always been ready for unconditional negotiations, aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution. Iran had done its best to achieve that objective and had presented numerous proposals to provide necessary assurances about the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. The only interpretation that could be drawn from the "rush to adopt" today's resolution and prevent negotiations, was that of ulterior motives of the sponsors and the lack of political will to find solutions.

Finally, he asserted, the current resolution had been adopted against Iran's peaceful nuclear programme at a time when major nuclear Powers continued to flout the persistent demand of the international community for nuclear disarmament. Instead, they jeopardized international peace and security by developing new generations of those weapons and by threatening to use them.

He asked whether adoption of the present resolution strengthened international peace and security; whether it augmented the credibility of important international mechanisms, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the IAEA and even the Security Council; and whether it enhanced the confidence of countries and developing nations that they could attain their rights through those mechanisms and instruments. He asked, too, whether the text increased trust in multilateral mechanisms and whether it decreased unilateralist tendencies. The only outcome of the resolution was that freedom-loving people and Governments in the world would gain confidence that they could not rely on multilateral institutions to attain their legitimate rights.

Because of the Council's "unlawful and unjust" approach, its texts had, until now, failed to lead to a resolution of the issue, he said. Those resolutions, and the certainty of some permanent members that they could get them "one way or the other", were, and had always been, part of the problem and an impediment to finding a real and mutually acceptable solution. That was why Iran continued to insist on the imperative of stopping that practice, which would only exacerbate the situation and erode the authority and credibility of the Council. There were only two alternatives in dealing with the Iranian peaceful nuclear programme: cooperation and interaction, or confrontation and conflict.

He said his country did not seek confrontation, and pressure and intimidation would not change Iranian policy. If certain countries had pinned their hopes that repeated resolutions would "dent the resolve of the great Iranian nation", they should have no doubt that they had "once again faced catastrophic intelligence and analytical failure vis-à-vis the Iranian people's Islamic revolution". Probably at no time in the history of Iran had the entire people been so solidly behind a national demand. Even the harshest political and economic sanctions or other threats were "far too weak to coerce the Iranian nation to retreat from their legal and legitimate demands".

He invited the concerned parties to "come back to the path of negotiation based on justice and truth". Suspension was neither an option nor a solution. The United States and the "European Union three" had unwarrantedly insisted on suspension, while they knew that was an unfair and unacceptable precondition for negotiations. Suspension had been in place for two years, and IAEA had repeatedly verified that Iran had fully suspended what it had agreed to suspend in each and every report from November 2003 to February 2006. So, it had had an experience of suspension, but there had been neither results nor solutions. If the time they had spent insisting on suspension and the efforts they had exerted to impose sanctions had been invested in genuine negotiation, it would have yielded much better results.