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10 December 2009 - Iran - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Following the briefing to the Security Council by the Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737

We had today a meeting of the Security Council to examine the report of the Committee about the implementation of resolution 1737, the resolution of sanctions against Iran, the first resolution of sanctions against Iran - because the Security Council, as you know, has voted three resolutions of sanctions: 1737, 1747, 1803, resolutions of sanctions which have been confirmed by resolution 1835.

The sanctions committee has confirmed that we are facing a pattern of violation of the UN resolutions by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Several ships carrying weapons have been intercepted by States and we are now convinced that there is a deliberate attempt by the Islamic Republic of Iran to violate the UN resolutions.

It is all the more serious because in parallel all our efforts to engage negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, all our efforts have failed. Since 2003 we have tried to open a negotiation with Iran. And, as you know, President Obama has made a new proposal of engagement with Iran, we have made several very concrete proposals which would allow Iran to develop peaceful use of nuclear energy. Iran has never entered into a negotiation. Iran has not accepted our proposals. The clock is ticking. Iran is enriching uranium and we don’t have any, any explanation for the use of this enriched uranium since Iran does not have a nuclear power plant.

So we make a last call to the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to our offer of negotiation. If Iran does not do it in the short term, France will propose a new resolution of sanctions. We won’t make this choice in a light way, for us it would be a heavy decision. We want a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. And we do regret that, so far, Iran has not entered into the negotiation.

I think you have read the last resolution of the Board of Governors of the International Agency for Atomic Energy. This resolution is showing that Iran is not respecting its obligations. This resolution is showing that Iran has not responded to the request presented by the Agency. So we have all the evidence on the table.

We want to solve this issue. But again, we are following a dual track policy: on one side asking for negotiation, on the other side increasing the pressure on Iran, and we consider that the time has come to increase this pressure. France considers that the time has come to increase this pressure.

Q: Ambassador, what is the timing? You say that if Iran won’t respond soon, you will propose…what’s the timing?

A: It’s not up to my country to decide the timing; it will be negotiated between the members of the Security Council. We, the French side, we are ready to work as soon as possible. And as for the sanctions it will be the negotiation of the Security Council.

Q: How would you respond, M. Ambassador, to what the Libyan envoy said about the fact that you have double standards and totally ignoring the Israeli nuclear arsenal, they refuse to join the NPT, etc…they never came here so why is this?

A: The Security Council is in charge of international law. What is the law? The law is the Treaty on Non-Proliferation. Iran has signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation. Iran has signed a safeguards agreement with the International Agency of Atomic Energy. What we are seeing is simply that Iran is violating the obligations that it has taken. We have never obliged Iran to sign the NPT. We have never obliged Iran to sign a safeguards agreement with the Agency. It is simple: Iran is violating its international commitments.

Q: What about Israel? It’s not violating anything?

A: We are talking about the NPT and the agreement with the IAEA. If you show me that the State of Israel is violating the NPT we’ll consider the issue.

Q: But there are resolutions that the Middle East should be a nuclear-free zone.

A: There is no text demanding the establishment of nuclear-free zone. It is a goal that we have to fulfil. It is a goal with conditions, and France is favourable to going in this direction.

Q: Quelle est l’atmosphère au sein du Conseil? On sait que parfois c’est très difficile d’obtenir un consensus sur ce sujet là en particulier. Comment ça se passe ?

A : On verra. Nous verrons naturellement, mais il y a quand même le sentiment général au sein du Conseil de sécurité, à la lecture du rapport que nous a présenté l’ambassadeur du Japon, que l’Iran est en violation délibérée, organisée, des résolutions du Conseil de sécurité, qu’il y a un véritable flot d’armes qui provient de l’Iran en direction de zones fragiles, en direction de zones de conflit. Nous devons agir et nous devons évidemment discuter à quinze. Tout ceci résultera d’un accord du Conseil de sécurité

Q : Qu’est ce que la France veut ?

A : La France veut une solution négociée du problème nucléaire iranien. Nous voulons une solution négociée. Mais pour négocier, c’est comme danser le tango, on doit être deux

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU