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4 March 2010 - Security Council - Iran - Committee 1737 : Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

First of all, I too would like to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. I would also like to thank Ambassador Takasu for his 90-day report, as well as for his management of the Committee and the professionalism of his team. His briefing has described the Iranian efforts to circumvent the Security Council sanctions, along with the exemplary behaviour of States in seeking to address this.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has just issued a damning report concerning the Iranian nuclear dossier, and I would like to highlight a number of points that are of particular concern.

Iran continues to energetically pursue its enrichment programme, which it was under the obligation to suspend. It has now produced almost two tons of low-enriched uranium; this would be, after re-enrichment, more than enough to manufacture a nuclear device. But there is no nuclear plant in Iran that would be able to use it.

Iran has already started to enrich uranium to 20 per cent, without having notified the Agency in due time. Thus, the Agency was unable to take the measures necessary to monitor this progression to a level that brings Iran dangerously close to the military threshold. As we know, 20 per cent is more than 90 percent of the way towards the enrichment of military-grade uranium.

Iran also continues to pursue its heavy water activities in Arak and its work on a 40-megawatt plutonium reactor, which is far too powerful for the research and development or medical isotopes activities alleged by Iran. Nor did Iran authorize the Agency to take samples from several thousands of litres of heavy water recently discovered at Isfahan.

Iran has constructed a clandestine enrichment factory in Qom, announced last November. This site remained undeclared for some years, in violation of Iran’s safeguards agreement. Iran claims that this site’s nuclear purpose was decided only in the second half of 2007, while the Agency states that it has information revealing that the design of the installation dates back to 2006. Iran did not respond to the Agency’s request for access to the companies involved in the construction of the site. The Agency had asked Iran to confirm in writing that there were no further hidden sites in preparation, and Iran did not do so.

There is no credible civilian application for this site. The Agency has confirmed that this installation could harbour around 3,000 centrifuges. That is sufficient to construct an atomic bomb but not nearly enough for a reactor. Nearly 45 years would be required for it to produce a single annual refuelling for a reactor similar to that of Bushehr.

We cannot underestimate the gravity of these facts. How can we have trust? How many hidden sites remain?

For two years now, the Agency has been investigating the alleged military studies, namely on conversion activities, work on coordinated high-power explosives and, finally, work on a Shahab missile to carry a nuclear warhead. It is these studies that give rise to the fear that not only has Iran worked in the field of fuel and modes of delivery, but also on the missing link: the development of a device and its delivery by missile.

The Agency has confirmed that it has credible information from multiple sources covering a long period of time, information that is consistent in terms of the technical detail, timetables, individuals and entities concerned.

Iran itself has corroborated some of the information, such as the identification of certain workshops or the designation of certain projects. According to the Agency, these activities apparently continued after 2004.

For nearly two years now, however, Iran has denied access to any of the documents, sites, individuals or entities involved. As time passes, the Agency is concerned that it will become harder and harder to obtain information. Without this information, it will be impossible to rule out the possibility of a military nuclear programme.

In terms of transparency, Iran has — completely illegally — ceased to apply modified Code 3.1. It is also is not applying the Additional Protocol.

Concerning the research reactor in Tehran, Iran has rejected the agreement proposed by the Director General of the IAEA. That agreement, which was accepted by all the other parties, had proposed a transparent and balanced supply strategy aimed at meeting Iranian needs in terms of medical radioisotopes. It would have restored some trust while ensuring that, for a number of months at least, there would not be a sufficient quantity of low-enriched uranium in Iran to build a bomb.

Iran, however, has merely re-proposed options that were categorically ruled out by Mohamed ElBaradei during the negotiations in Vienna. These were ruled out with good reason: they all would have enabled Iran to construct an atomic bomb at any moment.

Lastly, while this is not reflected in the report, Iran has rejected all of the E3+3 offers to hold a meeting on its nuclear programme.

If we take all of these facts together, we see a country that is producing nuclear fuel without having a nuclear plant, which is secretly developing enrichment sites without any credible civilian application, which is underhandedly making progress towards the necessary enrichment level to construct a bomb, which has developed a ballistic missiles programme and which categorically refuses to comment on the militarization of its programme even though there is a wealth of information on this work that the Agency considers credible.

My country is determined to support the broadest possible dissemination of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We have undertaken extensive cooperative efforts in the Gulf and elsewhere. In Paris next week, we will hold a high-level conference on this subject. But how can we maintain confidence in nuclear energy if it is possible to completely reject transparency without being called to account? How can we guarantee the integrity of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on the eve of this year’s Review Conference if it is possible to violate all of its rules without consequences?

Within the E3+3, we remain deeply committed to finding a diplomatic solution to this question. However, we cannot sit idly by. We cannot allow the Iranian programme to progress while our offers for dialogue and cooperation are turned down one after the other and while the work of the IAEA is hampered in such a provocative manner. Furthermore, the Security Council cannot allow a State to flout five consecutive resolutions.

Lastly, we cannot allow ourselves to continue to be taken advantage of by the range of dilatory overtures being made by the regime. Every moment counts. Given this situation, along with our partners we have today no other choice but to seek the Security Council’s adoption of new measures in the coming weeks, in line with the dual-track approach that has been consistently promoted by the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany.

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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