I thank Ambassador Quinlan and his team for the quarterly activity report that has just been presented to us.
For over 10 years now, the Iranian nuclear programme and the uncertainties about its exclusively peaceful purposes have been a matter of concern to the international community and a threat to peace and international security. For 10 years, the Council has in vain called on Iran to negotiate. Each time, we have been confronted with their refusal to engage in dialogue and a jump forward in their nuclear and missile programmes. That led the Council to establish a sanctions regime while continuing to call on Iran to negotiate. That so-called dual approach and the new attitude of the authorities in Tehran finally brought about a substantive discussion with Iran on the nuclear issue.
The adoption of the joint action plan on 24 November 2013, the implementation of which began in January, was a step forward for peace and security. For the first time, the E3+3 got Iran to suspend the most sensitive activities of its nuclear programme for six months. The negotiations were thus given more time. The dialogue is just beginning. The joint action plan is only an interim agreement. The mandate that was given to the P5+1 by the Council is to find a long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear programme with a view to restoring confidence in its exclusively peaceful purpose. That is the direction and purpose of talks between Iran and the P5+1 that were just held in Vienna and will continue at the beginning of April. We approach them with an open mind, but also with vigilance.
Progress has finally been made in the dialogue between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Director General has stated, in his report of 20 February and in the report published just today in Vienna, that Iran has met its commitments under the joint action plan with the P5+1. He also stated that Iran has implemented the confidence-building measures contained in the former agreement with the Agency on 11 November. That is a positive development, but not all the issues have been resolved — far from it. To achieve a long-term solution, it remains essential that Iran clarify all outstanding issues related to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran knows that and will need to provide answers.
Finally, I would recall that the joint action plan does not in any way do away with the sanctions regime against Iran imposed by the Security Council, which must be fully implemented while awaiting a comprehensive settlement of the crisis. It is therefore with concern that we read the reports that, on 5 March, the Israeli navy intercepted a large shipment of arms, probably of Iranian origin, destined for Gaza. The Panel will have to confirm the origin of those weapons, but if that is indeed the case, it would be a violation of the arms embargo imposed under resolution 1747 (2007), which might call into question Iran’s good faith in its stated willingness to address the concerns of the Security Council. We hope that the Committee’s Panel of Experts will be able to quickly engage in a dialogue with Israel and Iran in order to shed light on this matter.
On the work of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), which Ambassador Quinlan has just briefed us on, I regret that the experts’ recommendations that are contained in last year’s final report (S/2013/331, annex) have not been fully implemented. They are nonetheless simple and operational recommendations aimed at making the sanctions system more effective. We will have to redouble our efforts so that, by our next meeting, progress can made in this area.
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