The Security Council,
Recalling the Statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March 2006,
Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,
Noting with serious concern the many reports of the IAEA Director General and resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors related to Iran’s nuclear programme, reported to it by the IAEA Director General, including IAEA Board resolution GOV/2006/14,
Noting with serious concern that the IAEA Director General’s report of 27 February 2006 (GOV/2006/15) lists a number of outstanding issues and concerns on Iran’s nuclear programme, including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension, and that the IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,
Noting with serious concern the IAEA Director General’s report of 28 April 2006 (GOV/2006/27) and its findings, including that, after more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern, and that the IAEA is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,
Noting with serious concern that, as confirmed by the IAEA Director General’s report of 8 June 2006 (GOV/2006/38) Iran has not taken the steps required of it by the IAEA Board of Governors, reiterated by the Council in its statement of 29 March and which are essential to build confidence, and in particular Iran’s decision to resume enrichment-related activities, including research and development, its recent expansion of and announcements about such activities, and its continued suspension of cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol,
Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and noting that such a solution would benefit nuclear non proliferation elsewhere,
Welcoming the statement by the Foreign Minister of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy, on behalf of the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, in Paris on 12 July 2006 (S/2006/573),
Concerned by the proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme, mindful of its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and being determined to prevent an aggravation of the situation,
Acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to make mandatory the suspension required by the IAEA,
1. Calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions;
2. Demands, in this context, that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA;
3. Expresses the conviction that such suspension as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the requirements set out by the IAEA Board of Governors, would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran’s nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes, underlines the willingness of the international community to work positively for such a solution, encourages Iran, in conforming to the above provisions, to re-engage with the international community and with the IAEA, and stresses that such engagement will be beneficial to Iran;
4. Endorses, in this regard, the proposals of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union’s High Representative, for a long-term comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme (S/2006/521);
5. Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programmes;
6. Expresses its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA process, strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors, commends and encourages the Director General of the IAEA and its secretariat for their ongoing professional and impartial efforts to resolve all remaining outstanding issues in Iran within the framework of the Agency, underlines the necessity of the IAEA continuing its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, and calls upon Iran to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations;
7. Requests by 31 August a report from the Director General of the IAEA primarily on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in this resolution, as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board and with the above provisions of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration;
8. Expresses its intention, in the event that Iran has not by that date complied with this resolution, then to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with this resolution and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary;
9. Confirms that such additional measures will not be necessary in the event that Iran complies with this resolution;
10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
The President, Mr De La Sablière (France) (spoke in French): I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which they request to be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the consideration of the item, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Zarif (Iran) took a seat at the Council table; Mr. von Ungern-Sternberg (Germany) took the seat reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
The President (spoke in French): The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them document S/2006/589, which contains a draft resolution submitted by France, Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I should like to draw the attention of members of the Council to two letters from the representative of France contained in documents S/2006/521 and S/2006/573.
I should like also to draw the attention of Council members to the reports of the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency dated 27 February and 28 April 2006, contained in documents S/2006/150 and S/2006/270, respectively.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
A vote was taken by show of hands.
Argentina, China, Congo, Denmark, France, Ghana, Greece, Japan, Peru, Russian Federation, Slovakia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America
The President (spoke in French): The result of the voting is as follows: 14 votes in favour and one against. The draft resolution has been adopted as resolution 1696 (2006).
I shall now give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.
Mr. Al-Nasser (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic): In life people behave in ways that best suit them. The results of their behaviour are sometimes beneficial, and sometimes negative — which can lead to destruction. The same thing can be said of natural phenomena. When circumstances oblige people to live in a volcanic area, where some volcanoes are actually erupting, some are active and might erupt at any moment, and some are dormant but might suddenly become active, uncertainty prevails because people do not know when such phenomena might occur. In difficult circumstances, therefore, one must act in a manner that takes fully into account the behaviour of human beings.
For more than two decades, our region has been surrounded by fires. No sooner does one die down than another breaks out. Troubles and sectarianism fan the flames of such fires.
Ever since the question of Iran’s nuclear programme was brought before the Council, we have repeatedly underscored the importance of finding a political solution to this problem and of giving diplomacy enough time to bring about a peaceful solution. Such a solution can be reached only if all parties concerned show flexibility, wisdom and a sense of responsibility.
We are grateful for the efforts made by the six States in order to reach a peaceful solution through offering Iran a comprehensive package. We deem this a bold and commendable step. However, we believe that Iran is also called upon seriously to address the concerns of the international community about the very nature of its nuclear programme, to ensure that it is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
There is no doubt that this is a legitimate demand that we all are making. However, we do not agree with the submission of this draft resolution at a time when our region is inflamed. We would have seen no harm in waiting a few days so as to exhaust all possible ways and means in order to determine Iran’s real intentions and the degree of its willingness to cooperate, particularly since Iran has not rejected the package that was offered to it; it has simply asked for a period of time in which to consider it. This prompts us to ask members of the Council to accede to this request. We have been patient, and, indeed, our Council has waited longer to act on much more burning issues.
The State of Qatar is fully committed to the unity of the Council, particularly when it comes to very sensitive issues. We have reiterated our intention to join in this unity. However, the fact that this draft resolution was submitted at this critical time serves to achieve neither the stability of the region nor the unity of the Council. On the contrary, whether we like it or not, it will only intensify the conflagration in our region. Do we really want to see another volcano erupting in this region?
My country, which is not very far away from this area — no more than 200 kilometres from the nuclear reactors — is fully committed to ensuring that the Middle East becomes a nuclear-weapon-free zone. But given the special circumstances surrounding our region, the failure to take on board our concerns and to take account of the issues to which I have just referred will not help us to achieve the unity of the Council to which we all aspire.
Mr. Bolton (United States of America): Four months have passed since the Security Council called upon Iran to fully and verifiably suspend its nuclear programmes, and nearly two months have passed since the European Union three (EU-3) plus three made its generous offer, inviting Iran to enter into negotiations and avoid further Security Council action. Let us not forget that this diplomatic activity was preceded by more than three years of Iranian non-compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement. Sadly, Iran has consistently and brazenly defied the international community by continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the continued intransigence and defiance of the Iranian leadership demands a strong response from the Council. The resolution adopted today does just that.
We are pleased that the Council has taken clear and firm action in adopting this resolution. The pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran constitutes a direct threat to international peace and security and demands a clear statement from the Council in the form of a binding resolution.
This resolution also demands action. It sends an unequivocal and unambiguous message to Tehran: Take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, including full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and suspend construction of your heavy-water reactor. It also calls upon Member States to prevent the transfer of resources to Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, and Iran should understand that the United States and others will ensure that the financial transactions associated with these proliferation activities will be subject to scrutiny as well. The United States expects that Iran and all other States Members of the United Nations will immediately act in accordance with the mandatory obligations of this resolution.
This is the first Security Council resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear weapons programme, reflecting the gravity of the situation and the determination of the Council. We hope the resolution will demonstrate to Iran that the best way to end its international isolation is to simply give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. We look forward to Iran’s full, unconditional and immediate compliance with the resolution. We hope that Iran makes the strategic decision that the pursuit of programmes of weapons of mass destruction makes it less, not more, secure. We need to be prepared, however, that Iran might choose a different path. That is why it is important that the United States and other member States have expressed their intention to adopt measures under Article 41 in the event that Iran does not comply with the resolution.
In closing, I would like to thank all members of the Council for their efforts in helping us to secure a strong resolution.
Sir Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom): Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the Security Council’s vital roles in carrying out its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Iran’s nuclear activities and its history of concealment raise pressing questions about whether Iran’s programme is, as it claims, solely for civil purposes. The United Kingdom commends the continuing investigation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is very deeply concerned about Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with the Agency. As today’s resolution notes, after more than three years, the Agency is still unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran. Important questions, including on activities with a possible military nuclear dimension, remain unanswered.
The international community has shown great patience. We have given Iran many opportunities to show that it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. Regrettably, Iran has not taken the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council that would help build confidence.
The United Kingdom remains fully committed to working for a negotiated solution. On 6 June, the European Union High Representative, Javier Solana, presented to Iran, on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, a new set of far-reaching and imaginative proposals for a comprehensive agreement that we would negotiate with Iran. The proposals offer Iran a way forward that would enable a solution based on mutual respect and cooperation. They would give Iran everything it needs to achieve its stated ambition of developing a modern, civil nuclear power industry, including active support in the building of light-water power reactors in Iran, participation in a uranium enrichment facility in Russia and legally binding assurances relating to the supply of nuclear material; address Iran’s concern that it should not depend on a single foreign supplier; and provide a substantive package of cooperation in less proliferation-sensitive nuclear research and development. In addition, the proposals would also offer Iran significant political and economic benefits, including a trade and cooperation agreement with the European Union.
When Javier Solana presented those proposals, he made clear that it was essential for Iran to take the steps required by the IAEA Board in its repeated resolutions and by the Security Council in its presidential statement of 29 March. Those include the full suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA. For our part, we said that if Iran suspended all enrichment activity, we would be prepared to suspend further action in the Security Council. Suspension will not hinder Iran’s development of a modern, civil nuclear power industry in any way, but the continuation of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, would allow Iran to develop the know-how to produce fissile material suitable for use in nuclear weapons. Given the concern about Iran’s ambitions, that is not a risk that we can afford to take. Our proposals suggest a procedure for reviewing the moratorium once international confidence in Iran’s intentions has been restored.
The United Kingdom is deeply disappointed that Iran has neither given any indication that it is ready to engage seriously on our proposals nor taken the steps needed to allow negotiations to begin. We concluded that there was no alternative but to seek today’s resolution, which creates a mandatory obligation on Iran to suspend fully all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA. A full suspension is required to help build confidence and to create the atmosphere of trust necessary for negotiations. Negotiations cannot succeed if Iran is continuing the activities that are the main source of international concern.
We have adopted a Security Council resolution that makes the IAEA-required suspension mandatory. Should Iran refuse to comply, we will work for the adoption of measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter. Should Iran implement the decisions of the IAEA and the Security Council and enter into negotiations, we would be ready to hold back from further action in the Security Council.
We reaffirm that the proposals that were conveyed to Iran by the six countries on 6 June 2006 remain valid. The choice is now for Iran to make. We urge and encourage Iran to take the positive path by implementing the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council and to return to talks on the basis of the ambitious package which we have put forward.
Mr. Churkin (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): The resolution just adopted reflects the view of the Security Council regarding the need for Iran to establish full, transparent cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so as to clarify outstanding questions regarding its nuclear activities and restore confidence in its nuclear programme. The main goal of the resolution is to support the efforts of the IAEA to resolve Iran’s nuclear problems. The Agency possesses all the necessary capacity to that end and should continue to play a central role in resolving non-proliferation issues in the context of Iran’s nuclear programme. We hope that, with the support of the Security Council in the form of today’s resolution, it will be easier for the IAEA to do that job.
By acting under Article 40 of the Charter, the resolution makes mandatory the demand of the IAEA regarding Tehran’s suspension of all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. If Iran does not comply with the provisions of the resolution, members of the Security Council have expressed the intention to take appropriate action under Article 41 of Chapter VII Charter. It is crucial that, as follows unambiguously from the resolution, any additional measures that could be required in the future in order to implement the resolution rule out the use of military force. The suspension by Iran of all enrichment and reprocessing activities, which is called for in the resolution, is not a goal in itself. It should help to clarify outstanding issues with regard to the nuclear activities of Iran and to restore trust in its nuclear programme. Thus, this measure, in accordance with Article 40 of the Charter, should be viewed as an interim measure during the period necessary for resolving the issue. If Iran, as we hope, complies with the Security Council resolution and the demands of the IAEA and enters into negotiations, members of the Security Council would be prepared to refrain from any further action in this context. We believe that, if negotiations yield a positive — solution to the problem in terms of the implementation of the demands of the IAEA, then no additional action against Iran would be taken in the Security Council.
It is important that the resolution has a provision that opens the door for Tehran’s establishment of broad international cooperation to meet Iran’s energy requirements on the basis of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We reaffirm the proposals that were transmitted to Iran by the six countries on 6 June 2006. We hope that Tehran will properly and seriously view the contents of this resolution and will take the necessary steps to redress the situation regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. We call upon Teheran to respond positively to the proposals of the six countries.
Mr. Liu Zhenmin (China) (spoke in Chinese): Since the beginning of this year, the Iran nuclear issue has attracted increasing international attention. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has conveyed to the Security Council a number of reports and resolutions related to the Iran nuclear issue.
China has all along indicated that purpose of the Security Council reviewing this issue is to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, strengthen the authority and role of the IAEA, support the endeavours of the IAEA Director General and his team to clarify the outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, promote diplomatic efforts and resolutely commit itself to finding an appropriate solution to this issue through political and diplomatic means.
In line with that purpose, the Security Council issued a Presidential statement on 29 March 2006 (S/PRST/2006/15) and has just adopted a resolution. Regrettably, the Iranian side has yet to respond positively to the requests of the IAEA Board of Governors and the calls of the Security Council. The resolution adopted today explicitly demands that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. It has expressed the intention that, in the event that Iran fails to comply with the resolution, the Security Council will work to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter to persuade Iran to comply with the resolution and the requirements of the IAEA. On the other hand, in the event that Iran fulfils the aforementioned obligation and returns to the negotiations table, it will not be necessary for the Security Council to adopt additional measures.
This resolution stresses in many of its paragraphs the importance of finding a negotiated solution through political and diplomatic efforts. It underlines the irreplaceable key role of the IAEA in handling this issue. It endorses the package of proposals put forward by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States in early June. It also emphasizes that these proposals constitute an important effort for a comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of bilateral relations and cooperation based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
The fact that an appropriate solution to the Iran nuclear issue is late in coming is due to lack of trust among the main parties involved. It needs to be emphasized that, whether it is now or in the future, the Security Council cannot handle this issue single-handedly. Dialogue and negotiations are the only way out. The IAEA should always be the main mechanism for dealing with this issue. The solution requires all-around diplomatic efforts; any measures adopted by the Security Council should serve the purpose of diplomatic efforts.
According to Article 25 of the United Nations Charter, all United Nations Member States are obliged to accept and carry out Security Council resolutions. In the current circumstances, China urges Iran to practice restraint, attach importance to the extensive appeals and expectations of the international community, earnestly implement the requirements of this resolution and make early response to the package of proposals, so as to create conditions for increasing trust and promoting dialogue and negotiations.
We also wish to call upon all the other parties to adopt a highly responsible attitude towards world peace, security and stability and the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, and to remain confident and calm, practice restraint, explore new ways of thinking and continue to creatively carry out diplomatic efforts for the settlement of the Iran nuclear issue. We welcome any ideas and efforts conducive to conducting talks, breaking the stalemate and reaching compromises.
During this sensitive period, it is essential for Iran and all the other parties concerned not to take any steps that will harm the aforementioned diplomatic efforts and that may lead to complications or even loss of control. We call upon all the parties to resume dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible for the proper solution of the Iran nuclear issue.
China will, as always, continue its efforts to help to maintain world and regional peace and stability, safeguard and strengthen the international non proliferation mechanism and enhance political and diplomatic efforts for the solution of the Iran nuclear issue.
Mr. Manongi (United Republic of Tanzania): The United Republic of Tanzania voted in favour of the resolution we have just adopted. We voted thus while regretting the failure of diplomatic efforts intended to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran and to achieve a suitable outcome that would have protected the right of Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear activities.
As a matter of principle, the United Republic of Tanzania is opposed to nuclear weapons, whether held by friend or by foe. We are therefore opposed to nuclear proliferation and strongly support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the non-proliferation regime it establishes under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to which the Islamic Republic of Iran also subscribes.
The United Republic of Tanzania firmly believes in the right of the people of Iran to civilian nuclear energy. This resolution does not in any way seek to constrain that right. However, it seeks to bring any such programme under a verifiable inspection regime of the IAEA. In our view, that is as it ought to be.
The United Republic of Tanzania is mindful that the Islamic Republic of Iran had offered to respond by 22 August 2006 to the package of proposals presented by the Permanent Five plus one. We regret that that Isranian offer was not accommodated. We hope, however, that the willingness for dialogue that was demonstrated by that offer can still be reciprocated. In our view, engaging the Islamic Republic of Iran needs to be continued by all the parties, including the IAEA.
The United Republic of Tanzania also voted in favour of the resolution essentially because it precludes the use of force as an option in engaging the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is our hope that, even in the resolution’s current form, additional measures will be unnecessary.
In conclusion, it is also the hope of the United Republic of Tanzania that the adoption of today’s resolution at this point in time will not serve to further complicate matters in an already volatile region.
Mr. Oshima (Japan): The Japanese delegation views the resolution just adopted as a balanced text. Its adoption represents endorsement by the broad international community of the efforts by France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the EU-3) and other partners to achieve non-proliferation in a vital region of the world. Japan appreciates the efforts of the EU-3 to work out the package that was presented to Iran in early June and to undertake the subsequent dialogue with the Iranian authorities.
Japan believes that the important issue of non-proliferation should be resolved through diplomatic and peaceful means. The adoption of today’s resolution constitutes, in our view, a path of such diplomatic efforts. Japan sincerely and earnestly hopes and expects that Iran will take seriously the message from the Security Council as formulated in the resolution and respond positively to it within the defined timeline.
Japan — as a country that has traditionally had a close, friendly, important and wide-ranging relationship with Iran, and as a country deeply committed to nuclear non-proliferation and to the non-proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery — has undertaken its own diplomatic initiative with the Iranian authorities towards the peaceful resolution of this issue. Japan is committed to continuing to make its own efforts to contribute to the resolution of the issue through continuous dialogue and engagement with Iran.
Mr. Mayoral (Argentina) (spoke in Spanish): Argentina voted in favour of today’s resolution bearing in mind that the text adopted reaffirms the right of every State signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in conformity with articles I and II of the Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.
Furthermore, my delegation earnestly hopes that a diplomatic solution negotiated with the Government of Iran will be achieved. That is why we call on the parties involved to resume the dialogue in order to find a solution within the framework of arrangement, with the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and by the Security Council with regard to the Iran nuclear issue.
The President (spoke in French): I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of France.
Resolution 1696 (2006), which the Security Council has just adopted, was made necessary by the fact that Iran, despite three meetings between Mr. Javier Solana and Mr. Ali Larijani, has shown no willingness to seriously discuss the substance of the proposals made on 6 June on behalf of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation and the United States. Under such conditions, the six countries had no choice but to resume the activity that had been suspended in the Security Council. We welcome the international community’s support, through this vote, for the efforts of our countries.
France — in a position shared by Germany, which co-sponsored the text — emphasizes the following elements.
The resolution that we have just adopted makes mandatory the suspension requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); it does not mean an end to negotiations. We reaffirm the proposals made to Iran on 6 June by our six countries. If Iran should refuse to comply with the resolution, we will then work to adopt measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. If Iran should implement the decisions of the IAEA and the Security Council and enter into negotiations, we will be prepared to abstain from further action in the Council.
Once again, we appeal to Iran to respond positively to the substantive proposals that we made last month.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
I give the floor to the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. Zarif (Islamic Republic of Iran): In my letter of 28 July 2006 addressed to the President of the Security Council, I requested an opportunity to speak before the Council took action so that the Council would be apprised — for the first time, I might add — of the views of the concerned party before it adopted a decision. Members may recall that my previous request to speak before the Council, when it adopted its presidential statement on 29 March, was also denied. It is indeed indicative of the degree of the Council’s transparency and fairness that it has adopted a presidential statement and a resolution without even allowing the views of the concerned party to be heard.
Be that as it may, I will make — for the record, I presume — the statement that was intended for presentation before action. Before I do so, however, allow me to express our profound appreciation to our neighbour Qatar for its negative vote based on its position of principle as well as its legitimate concern for the stability of our region.
This is not the first time that Iran’s endeavours to stand on its own feet and make technological advances have faced stiff resistance and concerted pressure from some Powers permanently represented in the Security Council. In fact, contemporary Iran has been subjected to numerous injustices and prejudicial approaches by those Powers. In a draft resolution submitted on 12 October 1951 by the United Kingdom and supported in the Council by the United States and France, the Iranian people’s struggle to nationalize their oil industry was touted as a threat to international peace and security. That draft resolution preceded a coup d’état organized by the United States and the United Kingdom in a less-veiled attempt to restore their short-sighted interests. The coup, which was obviously no longer disguisable in the language of the Charter or by diplomatic subterfuge, restored the brutal dictatorship. The people of Iran nevertheless succeeded in nationalizing the oil industry, thus pioneering a courageous movement in the developing world to demand their inalienable right to exercise sovereignty over their natural resources.
More recently, Saddam Hussein’s aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran on 22 September 1980 and his swift advance to occupy 30,000 square kilometres of Iranian territory did not trouble the same permanent members of the Security Council enough to make them consider it a threat to international peace and security or even to make the routine call for a ceasefire and withdrawal. I wonder if I can still call it a “routine call” these days. Nor did they find it necessary even to adopt a resolution for seven long days after the aggression, hoping that their generally held, utter miscalculation that Saddam could put an end to the Islamic Republic within a week would be realized.
Sounds familiar these days, does it not?
Even then, and for the following two long years, they did not deem fit to call for a withdrawal of the invading forces. The first Security Council resolution calling for withdrawal came in July 1982, only after the Iranian people had already single-handedly liberated their territory against all odds. Nor was this Council allowed for several long years, and in spite of mounting evidence and United Nations reports, to deal with the use of chemical weapons by the former Iraqi dictator against Iranian civilians and military personnel because, as a former United States Defense Intelligence Agency official told the New York Times, “The Pentagon was not so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas… It was just another way of killing people.” Just another way. Some 20 years later, tens of thousands of Iranians continue to suffer and die from that “just another way”.
Over the past several weeks, this body has been prevented from moving to stop the massive aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and the resulting terrible humanitarian crisis. Diplomatic words fail to describe the way the massacre in Qana was addressed yesterday. Nor is the Council given the slightest chance of addressing the aggressor’s nuclear arsenal, despite its compulsive propensity to engage in aggression and carnage.
Likewise, the Security Council has been prevented from reacting to the daily threats of resort to force against Iran, even threats of using nuclear weapons uttered at the highest levels by representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and the lawless Israeli regime, in violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter.
On the other hand, over the past few years, a few big Powers have spared no effort in turning the Security Council, or the threat of resorting to it, into a tool for attempting to prevent Iran from exercising its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, recognized explicitly under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The intention to use the Council only as a tool for that or even more dangerous ends could not have been made clearer than in the statement by the permanent representative of the United States at the meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on 5 March this year:
“It is critical that we use the Council to help mobilize international public opinion. Rest assured, though, we are not relying on the Security Council as the only tool in our toolbox to address this problem.”
The people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to exercise their inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and to build on their own scientific advances in developing various peaceful aspects of that technology. At the same time, as the only victims of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history, they reject the development and use of all those inhuman weapons on ideological as well as strategic grounds. The leader of the Islamic Republic has issued a public and categorical religious decree against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.
Iran has also clearly and continuously stressed that nuclear weapons have no place in its military doctrine. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in his statement before the General Assembly last September, also underlined Iran’s fundamental rejection of nuclear weapons, as well as the need to strengthen and revitalize the non-proliferation Treaty. He also stressed that “continued interaction and technical and legal cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency will be the centerpiece of our nuclear policy” (A/60/PV.10, p.8).
In order to dispel any doubt about our peaceful nuclear programme, we enabled the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out a series of inspections that amounts to the most robust inspection of any IAEA member State. It included more than 2,000 inspector-days of scrutiny over the past three years; the signing of the Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003 and its immediate implementation until 6 February 2006; the submission of more than 1,000 pages of declaration under the Additional Protocol; allowing over 53 instances of complementary access to different sites across the country; and permitting inspectors to investigate baseless allegations by taking the unprecedented step of providing repeated access to military sites.
Consequently, all reports of the IAEA since November 2003 have been indicative of the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. In November 2003 and in the wake of sensational media reports on the so-called 18-years of concealment by Iran, the Agency confirmed that “[t]o date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities… were related to a nuclear weapons programme” (GOV/2003/75, para. 52). We all remember how that statement was received by the United States Under-Secretary of State of the time.
The same conclusion can be found in other IAEA reports, even as recently as that of February 2006, which states that, “[a]s indicated to the Board in November 2004, and again in September 2005, all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for” (GOV/2006/15, para. 53). The Agency reaffirmed once again in paragraph 53 of the same report that it “has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (ibid.).
Much has been made, including in today’s resolution, of a statement by the IAEA that it is not yet in a position “to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran” (GOV/2005/67, para. 51). But the sponsors have conveniently ignored the repeated acknowledgment by the Director-General of the IAEA that “the process of drawing such a conclusion… is a time consuming process” (ibid.). They also ignored the addendum to the 2005 IAEA safeguards implementation report, released in June 2006, which indicates that 45 other countries are in the same category as Iran, including 14 Europeans and several members of this Council. I might add that, out of three sponsors of today’s resolution, two are obviously in the privileged class, self-immunized from any scrutiny, but the third is in the same category as Iran.
Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with that issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility. Far from reflecting, as advertised, the concerns of the international community, the approach of the sponsors flouts the stated position of the overwhelming majority of the international community, clearly reflected in the most recent statements by the foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and partly reflected in the June 2006 IAEA Board Chairman’s conclusion.
The 57 members of the OIC, in their recent ministerial meeting in Baku, expressed their “conviction that the only way to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue is to resume negotiations without preconditions” (A/60/915, annex, enclosure 2, para. 12). They welcomed “the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to settle all remaining outstanding issues peacefully”; recognized that “any attempt aimed at limiting the application of peaceful uses of nuclear energy would affect the sustainable development of developing countries”; rejected “discrimination and double standards in peaceful uses of nuclear energy”; and, finally, expresssed
“concern over any unwanted consequences on the peace and security of the region and beyond of threats and pressures on Iran by certain circles to renounce its inalienable right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.
The Non-Aligned Movement, comprising an overwhelming majority of the Members of the Organization, in the recent statement of its ministers, meeting in Putrajaya, “stressed that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency’s activities, especially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency” and that “nothing should be interpreted in a way as inhibiting or restricting this right of States to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes”. They also reaffirmed that “States’ choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel-cycle policies must be respected”.
But, claiming to represent the international community itself, the European Union three (EU-3), in their so-called package of incentives last August, asked Iran to “make a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities” (IAEA information circular INFCIRC/651, attachment, para. 34). A cursory look at the chronology of events since last August indicates that Iran’s rejection of that illegal and unwarranted demand has been, and continues to be, the sole reason for the imposition of resolutions and statements on the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency and on the Security Council. Today’s proposed action by the Council — which is the culmination of those efforts aimed at making the suspension of uranium enrichment mandatory — violates the fundamental principles of international law, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and IAEA Board resolutions. It also runs counter to the views of the majority of Member States, which the Security Council is obliged to represent.
The IAEA Board, in its November 2004 resolution, ironically drafted by the very same sponsors of today’s resolution, declared that suspension “is a voluntary, non-legally binding, confidence-building measure”. That was repeated as recently as 15 June 2006, in the IAEA Board Chairman’s conclusion.
The Non-Aligned Movement, in its recent ministerial statement referred to earlier, stressed “the fundamental distinction between the legal obligations of States to their respective safeguards agreements and any confidence-building measures voluntarily undertaken to resolve difficult issues” and “that such voluntary undertakings are not legal safeguards obligations”.
The sole reason for pushing the Council to take action, as highlighted in the resolution, is that Iran decided, after over two years of negotiations, to resume the exercise of its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes by partially reopening its fully safeguarded facilities and ending a voluntary suspension. Iran’s right to enrich uranium is recognized under the NPT. Upholding the rights of States parties to international treaties is as essential as ensuring respect for their obligations. Those regimes, including the NPT, are sustained by a balance between rights and obligations. Threats will not sustain the NPT or other international regimes; ensuring that members can draw rightful benefits from membership, and that non-members are not rewarded for their intransigence, will.
Yet, exactly the opposite is the trend today. Today we are witness to an extremely dangerous trend. While members of the NPT are denied their rights and are punished, those who defy the NPT, particularly the perpetrators of the current carnage in Lebanon and Palestine, are rewarded with generous nuclear cooperation agreements. This goes so far that, when it suits the United States, even the acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-NPT members becomes “legitimate”, to quote the United States Ambassador. That is one awkward way to strengthen the NPT or ensure its universality.
That trend has reached such a horrendous, and indeed ridiculous, state that the Israeli regime — a non-member of the NPT, whose nuclear arsenal, coupled with its expansionist, repressive and State-terror policies and behaviour are repeatedly recognized, including by NPT Review Conferences, as the single most serious threat to regional and international peace and security — finds the audacity to cry wolf about Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme and to lead a global campaign of threats, lies, deception, pressure, blackmail and outright extortion. Yet, in spite of the massive political and propaganda machine, no one in today’s world can accept the convoluted logic that it is okay for some to have nuclear weapons while others are prevented from developing nuclear energy.
Another destructive trend is the imposition of arbitrary thresholds, which are often a function of bilateral considerations rather than objective or technical criteria. It should be interesting to recall that the United States began by trying to deny Iran any kind of nuclear activity. Even as late as 31 January 2003, the State Department spokesman was saying that “we have consistently urged Russia to cease all such cooperation with Iran, including its assistance to the light water reactor at Bushehr”.
The new threshold regarding enrichment is as arbitrary as the previous ones, and is simply another excuse to begin a trend to prevent the realization of the rights of the members of the NPT to peaceful use while, according to the United States Ambassador, non members could legitimately continue producing nuclear bombs.
It has been argued that intervention by the Security Council is needed to ensure cooperation by Iran with the Agency and to bring Iran back to the negotiating table. I suggest that Security Council involvement is not needed to achieve that goal. In fact, involvement by the Council hinders rather than helps this ongoing process, because it is designed as an instrument of pressure.
As I indicated earlier, Iran’s cooperation with the Agency was far more extensive and comprehensive before action was imposed on the IAEA Board to engage the Security Council. That cooperation enabled the Agency to conclude, last September, that good progress had been made “in the Agency’s ability to confirm certain aspects of Iran’s current declarations, which will be followed up as a routine safeguards implementation matter” (IAEA document GOV/2005/67, para. 43).
As for returning to the negotiating table, Iran has always been ready for negotiations. For almost three years, Iran tried to sustain, and even to resuscitate, negotiations with the EU-3. Iran offered far-reaching proposals to address concerns as well as to usher in a new era of cooperation: in August 2004, in January 2005, in March 2005, in April 2005, in July 2005, in September 2005, in January 2006, in February 2006 and in March 2006. Throughout that period, Iran adopted extensive and extremely costly confidence-building measures, including the suspension of its rightful enrichment activities for two years, to ensure the success of those negotiations. All along, it has been the persistence of some in drawing arbitrary red lines and deadlines that has closed the door to any compromise. This tendency has single-handedly blocked success and in most cases killed proposals in their infancy. This has been Washington’s persistent strategy ever since Iran and the EU-3 started their negotiations in October 2003. Only the tactics have changed.
All along, the threats by some to bring this issue before the Council and to take it out of its proper technical and negotiated structure have loomed large over the negotiations and have impeded progress, derailed discussions and prevented focus on a mutually acceptable resolution. The manner in which negotiations over the recently proposed package have been conducted is a further indication of the same propensity to resort to threats and the lack of genuine will to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
Iran, publicly and in a show of good faith, reacted positively to this initiative and indicated its readiness to engage in fair, non-discriminatory and result-oriented negotiations about the package within a mutually agreed time frame and without preconditions. Yet, an arbitrary deadline was set, ex post facto, without any justification and only to serve the totally ulterior objective of maximizing pressure.
Indeed, it is informative to note that it took the EU-3 nearly five months, from March to August 2005, to consider a very serious proposal made by Iran last year. And even then the EU-3 came up with a response that did not address any elements of that proposal. And yet, while the Islamic Republic of Iran has clearly stated that it requires three more weeks to conclude its evaluation of the proposed package and come up with a substantive reaction, it is astonishing — and indeed telling — to see that the EU-3 and the United States are in such a rush to prematurely hamper the path of negotiations by imposing a destructive and totally unwarranted Security Council resolution. This rush becomes even more suspect if one takes into account repeated statements of the Director-General of the IAEA, numerous United States experts and even the United States intelligence community about the absence of any urgency.
Compare this rush to the fact that some of the very same Powers have for the past three weeks prevented any action — not even a 72-hour humanitarian truce — by the Security Council on the urgent situation in Lebanon, which has been officially and publicly interpreted by the aggressors as a green light to continue their onslaught, unfortunately including the recent carnage in Qana. Security Council members can be the judge of how much credibility this leaves for the Council. Millions of people around the world have already passed their judgement.
So, it is pertinent to ask: What is the motive behind this long-standing urge of some permanent members to bring Iran before the Security Council? And what is the current rush? Is it anything but pressure and coercion? I would suggest that this approach will not lead to any productive outcome and that in fact it can only exacerbate the situation. The people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not seeking confrontation and have always shown their readiness to engage in serious and result-oriented negotiations based on mutual respect and on an equal footing. They have also shown, time and again, their resilience in the face of pressure, threat, injustice and imposition.
The President (spoke in French): There are no further speakers on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.