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15 July 2013 - Security Council - Iran/Sanctions Committee- Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I thank Ambassador Quinlan for the 90-day report of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) that he just presented. I also thank the Panel of Experts for its outstanding work, without which the Committee’s work would not be possible.

In that connection, we welcome the publication of the final report of the Panel of Experts (see S/2013/331, annex). That document is a valuable source of information with regard to the illegal programmes conducted by Iran and the means used by Tehran to evade sanctions. It also proposes operational recommendations that the Committee wishes to see implemented. We hope that all States Members of the United Nations will read the report and draw their own conclusions with regard to Iran’s actions.

I also commend the Chairman’s initiative in organizing a briefing of the 1737 Committee on 24 June, which was open to all Member States. The fact that many delegations attended, as well as the scope of the issues raised, serves to confirm the interest that exists with regard to the work of the Iran Sanctions Committee. We hope that this initiative will be repeated.

The Committee’s quarterly report shows that Iran continues to fail to respect its international obligations. In violation of Security Council resolutions, the country is continuing sensitive activities in the nuclear and ballistics spheres, as well as its illegal arms transfers.

France is particularly concerned about Iran’s ongoing violations of the arms embargo established by resolution 1747 (2007). Those violations fuel the spiral of violence in the Middle East. In that regard, the seizure off the coast of Yemen of a large quantity of arms from Iran in February is additional evidence of Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region. The Experts’ report on the incident is a particular cause of concern. The quantity and type of weapons seized by the Yemeni authorities — man-portable air defence systems, rocket launchers and explosives — have the capacity to undermine the political process in Yemen today. In addition, we previously received reports concering arms transfers by Iran to non-State groups in Gaza, as well as information with regard to the increased support by Iran in weapons and personnel to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, in violation of resolution 1747 (2007).

Iran is also continuing its ballistics programme, in violation of resolution 1929 (2010). In July 2012, Iran launched Shahab-1 and Shahab-3 ballistic missiles as part of the Great Prophet VII military exercise. The Panel of Experts carried out an investigation, and its report clearly shows a violation of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010). In a letter, the Committee requested explanations from Iran, to which its authorities have not responded. The Committee has waited long enough. It must now assume its responsibilities and take the necessary decisions.

All these incidents are part of a broader context of lack of cooperation by Iran with the international community. On 22 May, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submitted a report (GOV/2013/27) on the implementation of safeguards in Iran. The report shows that Tehran continues to favour the path of defiance over that of dialogue. The report confirms a total absence of progress on pending matters, as well as the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran has still not granted the Agency access to the Parchin site. Moreover, the Iranian authorities have decided to pave over a portion of the site, which seriously hampers the IAEA’s capacity to carry out verifications, if and when the Agency is given access to the site. Also, the fact that uranium enrichment is continuing — to 3.5 per cent and 20 per cent — at the Natanz and Fordow sites, with increasingly numerous and modern centrifuges, is another cause of concern. Finally, the report by the Director General confirms the continued rapid construction of a heavy-water reactor in Arak capable of producing plutonium, in violation Security Council resolutions.

At the IAEA Board of Governors meeting held barely a month ago, the Director General himself acknowledged that discussions went in circles because of the lack of cooperation by Iran. Together with our partners in the E3 +3, we expressed our serious concerns about the lack of progress in talks between the Agency and Iran. The situation cannot continue, and Tehran must promptly engage in substantive discussions with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues, including the possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

We are of course open to dialogue. The many meetings between the E3 +3 and Iran in 2012 and 2013 bear witness to that. But endless discussions serve no purpose. In April in Almaty, Iran failed to demonstrate its goodwill by providing a constructive response to the balanced proposals of the E3 +3 and the concerns of the international community.

We have taken note of the election of Mr. Rowhani, with whom we are ready to work. But words alone will not do when it comes to threats to international peace and security. Iran must make concrete efforts to establish confidence through the full implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions and those of the IAEA Board of Governors. That is the only way that Iran can emerge from the economic stagnation and international isolation in which its relentless nuclear policies have left it.

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