I thank the representative of Australia for presenting the briefing on the activity of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006).
For over a decade now, the Iranian nuclear programme has been a source of concern for the international community, given that country’s inability to prove its exclusively civilian nature. That situation is a threat to international peace and security and has led the Council to put in place a sanctions regime through the adoption of five resolutions imposing sanctions, while calling on Iran to negotiate on those issues. From 2005 to 2013, in spite of all of our efforts, Iran refused to enter into negotiations, despite all the efforts and the open and firm approach of the E3+3 Government, as mandated by the Security Council. An apparent change in attitude since the presidential election in Tehran has at last made it possible to engage in the first substantial discussion on the nuclear issue.
The interim agreement reached in that context between Iran and the E3+3 on 24 November is an unquestionable step forward for peace and security in the Middle East and beyond, but we must remain vigilant. For the first time for almost 10 years, the E3+3 has obtained from Iran a suspension of the most sensitive aspects of its nuclear programme. It is a solid and credible agreement that respects the necessary requirements set by the E3+3 to halt uranium enrichment to 20 per cent, to neutralize the stock of enriched uranium at 20 per cent, and to freeze the main activities linked to the Arak heavy water reactor. By halting the most sensitive aspects of its nuclear programme for six months, Iran provides more time for the diplomatic track, which France has always favoured.
Moreover, the mechanism agreed provides for a close monitoring of the commitments undertaken. We, together with our partners, will remain very vigilant regarding the scrupulous implementation of the agreement. The agreement, however, is only an interim agreement and not a lasting settlement of the nuclear crisis. We, together with our partners of the E3+3, therefore remain mobilized in order to reach a long-term agreement with Iran.
In parallel, the dialogue between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has made progress. Not all issues have been resolved — far from it. The adoption of a joint statement on 11 November providing for the strengthening of cooperation with the E3+3 was, however, a step in the right direction. The transparency measures provided for in that statement, in particular with regard to the Gachin uranium mine, the heavy-water production facility at Arak and the heavy-water research reactor projects are positive. It remains no less crucial to shed full light on the issues linked to the possible military dimension of the Iranian nuclear programme, on which the IAEA still awaits answers from Tehran.
The core of international sanctions, in particular those of the Security Council, will remain in place until a comprehensive settlement of the crisis has been found. We must therefore pursue our efforts to prevent their possible circumvention. In that context, the report of the 1737 (2006) Committee that has been transmitted to us (S/2013/331, annex) reminds us that, during the reporting period, Iran continued to conduct nuclear and ballistic activities in violation of the resolutions of the Council.
We therefore studied with great care and attention the report of the Panel of Experts regarding the seizure in December 2012 of a shipment of high-quality carbon fibre bound for Iran that could be used in the context of a nuclear programme. In the report, the experts unaminously and unambiguously conclude that Iran has repeatedly violated the Security Council’s resolutions, thereby affirming concern about a nuclear programme that has no identifiable civilian justification.
In that regard, I wish to pay tribute to the remarkable work of the Panel of Experts, which has made an essential contribution to the functioning of the Committee. I hope that the Committee will be able to promptly implement the recommendations contained in the Panel’s final report seeking to make the sanctions regime more effective.
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