Summary of UN Security Council 5612th Meeting: Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Iran for Failure to Halt Uranium Enrichment, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1737

UN Department of Public Information-News Media Division
December 23, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
Determined to give effect to its unmet 31 July demand that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, the Security Council today imposed sanctions on that country, blocking the import or export of sensitive nuclear materiel and equipment and freezing the financial assets of persons or entities supporting its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1737 (2006) under Article 41 of the Charter's Chapter VII, the Council decided that Iran should, without further delay, suspend the following proliferation sensitive nuclear activities: all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development; and work on all heavy-water related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water. The halt to those activities would be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Specifically, the Council decided that all States should prevent the supply, sale or transfer, for the use by or benefit of Iran, of related equipment and technology, if the State determined that such items would contribute to enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy-water related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. The Council decided it would terminate the measures if Iran fully complied with its obligations, or adopt additional ones and possible further decisions if the country did not.

The Council requested a report within 60 days from the Director General of IAEA on whether Iran had established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in the resolution, as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all steps required by the IAEA Board, to the Board of Governors and the Council for its consideration. The Council affirmed that it would review Iran's actions in light of that report and suspend implementation of measures, if and for so long as Iran suspended all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

The Council also established a new committee, comprised of all Council members, to monitor implementation of the present text and designate further individuals or entities to which the sanctions should apply. The committee would be tasked with taking appropriate action on alleged violations of the sanctions, consider requests for exemptions, designate possible additional individuals and entities subjected to the measures, and report at least every 90 days to the Council on the implementation of the resolution. All States were to report to the Committee within 60 days on the steps they had taken with a view to implementing the relevant provisions of the resolution.

The representative of the United States stressed that adoption of the resolution sent Iran an unambiguous message that there were serious repercussions for its continuing disregard and defiance of the Security Council. He hoped the resolution would convince Iran that the best way to ensure its security and end its isolation was to end its nuclear weapons programme and take the steps outlined in today's text, and he looked forward to Iran's unconditional and immediate reply. The text provided an important basis for action, and it was not open to interpretation, compelling all Member States to deny Iran the equipment, technology, technical assistance and financial assistance that could contribute to nuclear sensitive activities. In the face of non-compliance by Iran, the United States would not hesitate to return to the Council for further action.

The United Kingdom's representative recalled that, following adoption of the first such Council resolution on 31 July mandating IAEA-required suspension by Iran of its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, that country had "simply thumbed its nose at the Security Council and defied international law". If Iran did not change course, the Council had committed itself, in today's text, to further measures. Iran, therefore, faced a choice, and the vote today had indicated the gravity of that choice. He hoped Iran would heed the Council's decision and return to negotiations to resolve the nuclear dossier. That, in turn, would open the way for the European Union and Iran to open a new and wider relationship to their mutual benefit, and to the benefit of international peace and security.

The main thrust of the resolution, the representative of the Russian Federation said, was support of the Council for the activities of IAEA on the issue at hand. The long and difficult consultations had focused on confirming the measures that Iran needed to take to ensure confidence in its nuclear programme, as formulated by the IAEA Board. It was crucial that the restrictions introduced by the Council applied to the areas of concern of the Agency. Cooperation with Iran in areas not restricted by the resolution should not be subjected to its terms. Some of the wording of the draft could have been made clearer. He was convinced that a solution could be found exclusively in the political and diplomatic spheres. In that context, the measures should be taken in line with Article 41 of the Charter, and not permit the use of force.

China's representative said that sanctions were not the end, but a means to urge Iran to return to negotiations. The sanctions adopted today were limited and reversible, and targeted at proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. There were also explicit provisions indicating that, if Iran suspended its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and complied with the relevant Council texts and IAEA requirements, the Council would suspend and even terminate the sanctions. Today's text had welcomed the commitment of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States to a negotiated solution, and had encouraged Iran to engage with them, leading to the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and establishment of international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Those terms of the text could spur a new round of diplomatic efforts.

Iran's representative told the Council that it was a sad day for the non-proliferation regime. The Council was imposing sanctions on a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which, unlike Israel, had never attacked or threatened to use force against any United Nations member. Also unlike Israel, Iran had categorically rejected development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons on ideological and strategic grounds, and it was prepared to provide guarantees that it would never withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It had placed all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, had fully implemented the Additional Protocol for more than two years, and had stated its readiness to resume its implementation. Iran had also allowed more than 2,000 "person days of IAEA scrutiny" of all of its related -- and even unrelated -- facilities, resulting in reported statements by the Agency on the absence of any evidence of diversion.

He said that bringing Iran's peaceful nuclear programme to the Council by a few permanent members, particularly the United States, was not aimed at a solution, but at compelling Iran to abandon its rights under the NPT to peaceful nuclear technology. Suspension was not a solution, but a temporary stop-gap measure to allow time to find a real solution. Moreover, such a suspension had been in place for two years, as verified by IAEA. He was here today because his country had not accepted that "unlawful demand". At the same time, his country was prepared to go to any length to allay the so-called proliferation concerns. Iran was told it needed to build confidence, but confidence could only be built through respect for and non-discriminatory application of international law and international treaties. Such treaties could not be the subject of self-serving reinterpretations, even if imposed through resolutions.

Other explanations of position were made by the representatives of Qatar, France, Japan, United Republic of Tanzania and Argentina.

The meeting began at 11:25 a.m. and adjourned at 12:41 p.m.