Statements by National Governments Regarding the Unanimous Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006)

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

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • China
  • France
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that his delegation would vote in favour of the text, because the text -- a product of long and difficult consultations -- focused on the confirmation of the measures that Iran needed to take to ensure confidence in its nuclear programme, as formulated by the IAEA Board.  In other words, the main thrust of the resolution was support by the Council of the IAEA activities in that area.  It was crucial that restrictions introduced by the Council applied to the areas that caused the concern of the Agency.  Cooperation with Iran in the areas that were not restricted by the resolution should not be subject to its terms.

He went on to say that some of the wording of the draft could have been made clearer.  He was convinced that solutions could be found exclusively in the political and diplomatic spheres.  In that context, it was important that the measures would be taken in accordance with Article 41 of the Charter and not permit the use of force.  In strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, it was necessary to seek solid regional and international safety and security.  His Government saw the resolution as a serious message to be sent to Iran to ensure a more active and open cooperation with IAEA to resolve the remaining concerns.  The parameters for cooperation had been set forth in the resolutions of the IAEA Board and supported by the Security Council.

Today's resolution clearly reaffirmed that, if Iran suspended all activities related to enrichment or reprocessing of uranium, the sanctions would be suspended, he said.  That would allow the international community to launch a negotiations process.  Such proposals had been transmitted to Iran's Government in the name of the six countries involved and remained valid today.  He hoped Iran would perceive the context of the resolution and take measures to resolve the issue.

ALEJANDRO WOLFF (United States) said the Security Council today was sending Iran an unambiguous message that there were serious repercussions for its continuing disregard and defiance of the Council.  Nearly four months ago, the Council had sent a serious message to Iran to take the steps required of it by IAEA.  That step had been taken to convince Iran to relent from its confrontational posture and to consider the offer by the United States, France, Germany, Russian Federation and China on 1 June, and avoid Security Council action.  Regrettably, Iran had continued to defy the international community by its continued enrichment activities and its refusal to comply with resolution 1696 (2006) and the request ofIAEA.

He said that today's Chapter VII text required Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and to stop work on all heavy-water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, all to be verified by IAEA, which would report back to the Council within 60 days.  Iran was also required to provide IAEA with the access it needed to resolve outstanding issues, as well as to ratify the IAEA Additional Protocol.  To persuade Iran to take those steps, today's resolution had taken the necessary measures, deciding that there would be no trade with Iran in three key nuclear-related areas.  The text also banned any technical or financial assistance by any countries, and it had States freeze assets of any persons or entities supporting Iran in its nuclear proliferation sensitive activities.

That was the second such resolution that reflected the gravity of the situation and the determination of the Security Council, he said.  Hopefully, 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.  The Council would review its actions, based on IAEA's report, and adopt further measures if Iran did not comply fully with its obligations.  He looked forward to Iran's unconditional and immediate reply to the resolution, and he hoped the Iranian leadership would come to understand that the pursuit of nuclear capability made it less, and not more, secure.

He said that the resolution provided an important basis for action, compelling all Member States to deny Iran the equipment, technology, technical assistance and financial assistance that could contribute to nuclear sensitive activities.  The text was clear and not open to interpretation, and the Council would insist on absolute compliance.  However, the adoption was only a first step.  The Council would work with the Sanctions Committee and, if necessary, it would not hesitate to return to that body for further action if Iran failed to take the necessary steps to comply.

President of the Council, NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), speaking in his national capacity, said that his country was keen on compliance by all states with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  That was a matter of principle to which Qatar attached great importance.  For that reason, his country had never ceased to appeal for the Middle East to become a region free of weapons of mass destruction.  It had also called on Iran to submit to the inspection regime, and on all States with stockpiles of nuclear weapons to dismantle them.   Qatar supported all resolutions calling for such measures.  Commitment to the NPT within the framework of IAEA might encourage safe uses of nuclear technologies.  It would also build confidence and promote understanding among nations.

Emphasizing the essential role of IAEA, he said that Iran had the right to undertake research of nuclear technologies and use nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes, he continued.  However, today's resolution sought to bar the country's access to the elements that could be used for destructive purposes.  Today, the Council was to adopt a resolution on a difficult question.  While his delegation had no doubt about the sincerity of Iranian intentions, the international community needed guarantees of nuclear safety from IAEA.  He appealed to Iran to urgently respond to the text.  He knew it was difficult, but the horizons for diplomatic cooperation were wide.  Among other things, the resolution also confirmed that the measures to be enforced would be suspended, should Iran comply with its provisions.  That would create an opportunity for negotiations.

In conclusion, he expressed hope that Iran could address the resolution with the necessary rationality.  He also hoped that the text would contribute to limiting nuclear proliferation in the region, in particular in view of the fact that Israel had recently made statements on its nuclear deterrence capability.  His delegation would vote in favour of the draft.

The draft resolution was then adopted unanimously as resolution 1737 (2006).

Speaking after the vote, EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said that, on 31 July, the Council had adopted resolution 1696 (2006), which had mandated the IAEA-required suspension by Iran of its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.  The Council had called on Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the Agency and to implement all necessary transparency measures and requests.  That resolution had also set a deadline for such compliance by 31 August.  Iran's response had been to step up those activities and to offer to export such technologies.  In November, IAEA had reported insufficient transparency and an inability to remove uncertainties about Iran's nuclear programme.

He said Iran had "simply thumbed its nose at the Security Council and defied international law".  Bearing in mind the Council's primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and taking with utmost seriousness the threat from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Council had unequivocally expressed its intent in resolution 1696 (2006) to adopt measures under Article 41 in the event of Iranian non-compliance, and that was what it had done today.  In so doing, it had reiterated and expanded its mandated suspension of Iran's proliferation sensitive activities and established an embargo aimed at preventing Iran from exporting and importing materials and equipment to sustain proliferation sensitive activities.  The Council had also introduced a set of measures intended to persuade Iran to stop pursuing other activities of concern.  It had underlined the seriousness of the situation, including the international community's lack of confidence about the direction of Iran's policies.

Importantly, however, the door was not closed for Iran, he said.  The United Kingdom, France and Germany, with the European Union High Representative, Javier Solana, had led negotiations with Iran and remained committed to seeking a diplomatically negotiated solution based on cooperation.  A new relationship between Europe and Iran was "on the table", but that must be with an Iran that eschewed nuclear ambition.  Suspension would permit negotiations to resume and intensify, this time with Russian and United States engagement.  For that reason, in the pursuit of a negotiated agreement, it was vital that all States implemented the resolution as fully as possibly, including by adopting the necessary legislation to pave the way for robust and necessary implementation.  Without that, no one could expect the Council to meet its objective.

He said that, if Iran did not change course, the Council had committed itself in today's text to further measures.  Iran, therefore, faced a choice.  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.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) welcomed unanimous adoption of the resolution today.  The text -- developed on the basis of a draft submitted by France, Germany and United Kingdom -- confirmed the mandatory nature of the suspension of proliferation sensitive activities in the nuclear field.  The Council also sought to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of nuclear materials, equipment and goods to and from Iran, and to ensure that Iran would not avail itself of outside contributions to its sensitive programmes.  It also addressed financial services surrounding sensitive transactions, as well as the travel of those with operational involvement.  Such travel would be restricted, and those individuals' assets frozen.  Those measures would apply immediately to some 20 persons and entities listed in the text.  The draft also reaffirmed the powers of IAEA.

The aim of the measures adopted today was to invite Iran to conform to its non-proliferation commitments and the guidelines of the IAEA, he continued.  Iran should conform to the resolution and stop developing technology capable of supporting nuclear and missile programmes.  It was important that the measures were reversible.  Should Iran suspend all its sensitive activities and conform to relevant resolutions of the Council and IAEA, the measures just adopted would be suspended.  Should the country persist, however, other measures would be taken under Article 41.  The resolution sent a clear message to Iran, which was now facing a strategic choice: cooperation with the international community or growing isolation.  He hoped Teheran would choose dialogue.

KENZO OSHIMA (Japan) said that he regretted that the Council had had to act again only five months later.  Its members had conducted intensive discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue over the course of the year, in order to seek a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the problem.  Those efforts had failed to produce positive results. In defiance of resolution 1696 (2006), Iran had refused to take the steps required of it.  On the contrary, the situation had worsened, with Iran's expansion of its reprocessing and related activities.  Japan attached great importance to the non-proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, along with their delivery means; that was a clear and present global challenge posing a grave threat.  It must be dealt with firmly and with determination.  In order to counter such threats, actual or potential, the international community must act appropriately, timely and resolutely, wherever those threats occurred, be it in the Middle East, Asia or elsewhere.

He said that Iran's failure to comply with the requirements of IAEA and the Council must be dealt with in a principled manner.  At the same time, the country had a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, just as any other country, and in exercising that right, he hoped that Iran fully complied with its IAEA obligations.  Because of the importance of non-proliferation, and taking into account the measured approach in the resolution, he had supported it.  The text had not spelled the end of negotiations with Iran.  Rather, it had kept the door open for talks and had explicitly mentioned the reversibility of the measures taken today.  Japan enjoyed the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy to the fullest, and his country had traditionally enjoyed good relations with Iran.  In adopting the resolution today, he appealed to Iran to seek the resolution of the nuclear issue at the earliest possible time, through full diplomatic talks.

WANG GUANGYA (China) said that, since the beginning of the year, Iran's nuclear issue had attracted more and more attention.  The Iranian side had not yet responded positively to the requirement of IAEA and the Council.  After issuing a presidential statement in March and adopting resolution 1696 in July, the Council had adopted another resolution today, aiming to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, reinforcing IAEA's authority and promoting diplomatic efforts to seek a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear issue.  His delegation had voted in favour of the draft.  Sanctions were not the end, but a means to urge Iran to return to negotiations.  Sanction measures adopted this time were limited and reversible, 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, complied with the relevant resolutions of the Council and met IAEA requirements, the Council would suspend and even terminate the sanctions.

The Council could not handle Iran's nuclear issue single-handedly, he continued.  IAEAremained the main mechanism for dealing with that issue.  Dialogue and negotiations was the only and fundamental way out.  The solution required all-around diplomatic efforts and diplomatic efforts outside the Council, in particular, should be strengthened.  The resolution welcomed the commitment of China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States to a negotiated solution to the issue and encouraged Iran to engage with the six countries' proposals for a long-term comprehensive agreement, which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and establishment of international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.  All that would be conducive to reactivating the new round of diplomatic efforts.

China had all along supported safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism and opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he continued.  It did not wish to see turbulence in the Middle East.  It was in favour of a peaceful solution through political and diplomatic efforts and negotiations.  Under the current circumstances, he called upon all the parties concerned to adopt a highly responsible and constructive attitude, remain calm, practice restraint and refrain from any steps that would harm diplomatic efforts and lead to the deterioration of the situation.  At the same time, he hoped that the parties would seek to resume negotiations in a creative and forward-looking manner, sparing no efforts for enhancing the diplomatic efforts for a comprehensive and peaceful solution.   China was ready to continue to make joint efforts with all the parties concerned and contribute to maintaining international and regional peace and stability, safeguarding and consolidating the international non-proliferation mechanism and resolving Iran's nuclear issue through political and diplomatic efforts.

AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said he was opposed to the development of nuclear weapons by anybody, including his traditional friend, Iran.  He strongly supported the NPT and the non-proliferation regime it established under IAEA, to which his country belonged.  He expected all its members, including Iran, to uphold its treaty obligations.  His country firmly believed in the right of the people of Iran to civilian nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  The current resolution did not seek to constrain that right.  It should be made clear, however, that any such programme had to be subjected to the IAEAverification and safeguards regime.

He said his country had all along hoped that the concerned parties would resolve the highly sensitive Iranian nuclear issue peacefully.  He had placed faith in the parties to return to negotiations under mutually acceptable terms.  Unfortunately, progress had been painfully slow, owing to the uncompromising positions of both sides.  Despite the efforts to overcome the differences, the situation had remained deadlocked, mainly over the issue of enrichment and reprocessing activities as a condition for further talks.  He believed the negotiators could overcome that issue, that the impasse was reversible, as long as good political will prevailed.  Today's resolution could be seen as a signal and a call to revisit the issue at the earliest possible opportunity. 

CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina) said that he had voted in favour of the draft, because it reaffirmed an inalienable right of all States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop and research the production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination.  At the same time, his Government trusted that the Government of Iran would continue its nuclear programme exclusively for peaceful purposes, following the parameters established by IAEA and provided for in relevant Council resolutions. He also expressed satisfaction that the resolution had been adopted unanimously under Article 41 of the Charter.  Under the resolution, there was no recourse to the use of force.  The main objective should be to maintain international peace and security, and Argentina called on all parties to resume dialogue to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said that today was a sad day for the non-proliferation regime.  Only a few days ago, Israel's Prime Minister had boasted about the country's nuclear weapons, but, instead of raising an eyebrow -- let alone addressing that serious threat to international peace and security and the non-proliferation regime -- the Security Council was imposing sanctions on a member of the NPT that, unlike Israel, had never attacked nor 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 NPT.  It had placed all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, and it had fully implemented the Additional Protocol for more than two years and stated its readiness to resume its implementation.

He said that Iran had 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.  His country had also voluntarily suspended its lawful enrichment activities for more than two years, as verified by the Agency, in order to build confidence and provide ample opportunity to find a mutually acceptable solution, if that were ever the intention of its negotiating partners.  It had presented various far-reaching proposals to ensure permanent non-diversion, and it had consistently called for time-bound and unconditional negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution, a call that had been repeated yesterday by Iran's Foreign Minister.

The same Governments that had pushed the Council to take "groundless punitive measures" against Iran's peaceful nuclear programme had systematically prevented it from taking any action to nudge the Israeli regime towards submitting itself to the rules governing the nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said.  By so doing, they had provided it with wide latitude, even encouragement, to indulge freely in the clandestine development and unlawful possession of nuclear weapons and public boasting about it, with impunity.  The Israeli regime had an unparalleled record of non-compliance with Security Council resolutions -- if that was the criteria today -- and a "long and dark" catalogue of crimes and atrocities, such as occupation, aggression, militarism, State terrorism, crimes against humanity and apartheid.  Nuclear weapons in such hands posed a uniquely grave threat to regional and international peace and security.  The reversal of the hypocritical policy of "strategic ambiguity" had removed any excuse, if ever there had been one, for continued inaction by the Council.

To put it into perspective, he said that today's resolution could only remind the Iranian people of the historic injustices the Council had done to them in the past six decades.  It was reminiscent of the attempt made by the Council to punish the Iranian people for their nationalization of their oil industry, described as a threat to peace.  It was also a reminder of the Council's indifference in the face of a military coup, organized by two permanent members, which had restored the dictatorship.  It refreshed the memory of the time when the Council did not consider the massive invasion of Iran by the former Iraqi regime as a threat to international peace and security, and refused to even call on the invading army to withdraw from Iranian territory.  It also brought back the horrors of the long years when the Council had turned a blind eye to the extensive and brutal use of chemical weapons against Iranian civilians and soldiers and, by so doing, shouldered responsibility for tens of thousands of Iranians who continued to suffer and perish as a result.

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 or negotiations.  Their stated objective had always been to use the Council as an instrument of pressure and intimidation to compel Iran to abandon its rights.  Reviewing the motivation behind the presentation of the so-called package of incentives given to Iran, he said that the United States and the "EU-3" had never even taken the trouble of studying various Iranian proposals, as those negotiating partners were, from the very beginning, bent on abusing the Council with the threat of sanctions as an instrument to pressure and compel Iran to abandon the exercise of its right under the NPT to peaceful nuclear technology.  It was now an "open secret" that their objective from the negotiations had never been to find a solution, but to impose and then prolong, perpetuate and suspended Iran's rights.

Suspension was not a solution, he stressed.  At best, it was a temporary stop-gap measure to allow time to find a real solution.  Such a suspension had been in place for two years, andIAEA had repeatedly verified in each and every report, from November 2003 to February 2006, that Iran had fully suspended what it had agreed to suspend.  So, Iran had a suspension for two years, and on-and-off negotiations for three.  Reviewing all of the proposals ignored by the United States and the "EU-3" in the negotiations, he said that what they had wanted, despite what they had told Iran, was -- "and still is" -- that Iran should undertake a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities.  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 their so-called proliferation concerns, in spite of the fact that we all know they are no more than unfounded and self-serving sheer excuses", he said.

To the point that the sponsors said they did not trust Iran's "intentions", he said the problem was that their "intention-o-meter" had a rather abysmal record of chronic malfunction.  The former United States Director of Central Intelligence, Robert Gates, had claimed before Congress in 1992 that Iran was trying to acquire a nuclear-weapon capability, and had added that that goal was unlikely to be achieved before the year 2000.  Later, in November 1992, a draft national intelligence estimate by the CIA had concluded that Iran was making progress on a nuclear-arms programme and could develop a nuclear weapon by 2000.  Now, the same intelligence establishment was saying not before 2015.  Accusing Iran of having "the intention" to acquire nuclear weapons had, since the early 1980s, been a tool used to deprive Iran of any nuclear technology, even a light water reactor or fuel for the United States-built research reactor.

He said he wondered which "Iranian intention" or "proliferation concern" had prompted the main proponents of today's resolution to prevent Iran, over the past 27 years, from buying civilian aircraft or even their spare parts, thereby jeopardizing the lives and safety of Iranian civilians, whom they hypocritically tried to court now, to no avail.  He told delegations to read "the dangerous divisive statement by the UK Prime Minister" or the 23 August report by the Intelligence Committee of the United States House of Representatives on Iran's nuclear programme, if they wanted to understand the intention of the proponents of the resolution.

Iran firmly believed that the days of weapons of mass murder had long passed; that those inhumane instruments of indiscriminate slaughter had not brought internal stability or external security for anyone, and that they would not be able to do so in the future, he said.  Unlike some who despised the Non-Proliferation Treaty and international law in general, Iran had a high stake in preserving, fully implementing, strengthening and universalizing the NPT.  Today's decision did exactly the opposite, because it was championed by a non-member of the Treaty, coupled with its main benefactor, which made no secret of its contempt for that and other disarmament instruments.  No one had forgotten last year's World Summit, at which even the word "disarmament" had been struck from the Outcome text by the famous "red pen".  The days of bullying, pressure and intimidation by some nuclear-weapon holders were gone.  Iran was told it needed to build confidence, but confidence could only be built through respect for and non-discriminatory application of law.  International law and international treaties could not be the subject of arbitrary, fluctuating and self-serving reinterpretations, even if they were imposed through resolutions.  Such a precedent was dangerous for everyone.