|Date||3 March 2008|
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|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Guangya
|Sir John Sawers
|Mr. Le Luong Minh
Adoption of the agenda
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran in which they request to be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the Council's agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the consideration of the item without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in the course of its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them document S/2008/141, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by France, Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I wish to draw the attention of the members of the Council to document S/2008/116, which contains the text of identical letters dated 22 February 2008 from the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council.
I give the floor to the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The international community is once again witnessing the credibility of the Security Council, whose primary responsibility is to maintain international peace and security, being readily downgraded to a mere tool of the national foreign policy of just a few countries. The Council once more has been pushed to take unlawful action against a proud and resolute nation merely because that nation is defending its legal rights enshrined in international instruments. Today's action by some members of the Security Council against Iran's peaceful nuclear programme, along with the measures taken in this regard in the past, do not meet the minimum standards of legitimacy and legality for the following reasons.
First, Iran's peaceful nuclear programme was brought to the Security Council in violation of the Agency's Statute. Iran had not violated, and therefore had not been in non-compliance with, its comprehensive safeguards agreement under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Iran signed the additional protocol in 2003, and began its voluntary implementation. That continued for two and a half years. Iran was therefore not obliged to implement its provisions prior to 2003. Our country accepted the modified Code 3.1 of the subsidiary arrangement in 2003 and had no obligation to implement it prior to that date. Therefore, Iran was only obliged, according to the comprehensive safeguards agreement, to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 180 days prior to feeding nuclear material into its facilities. We informed the IAEA about the uranium conversion facility by inviting the Agency's Director General to visit in the year 2000 -- that is, four years prior to its operation in 2004 and four years before Iran was obliged to do so.
Secondly, Iran's nuclear programme has been, is and will remain absolutely peaceful and in no way poses any threat to international peace and security, and therefore does not fall within the purview of the Security Council. There is solid evidence and concrete arguments attesting to the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. In that regard, I would like to draw the Council's attention to the following three points.
The peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme has been confirmed by each and every IAEA report in the past several years, including the most recent one, which clearly stresses that
"The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports".
As the latest example, the IAEA report of 22 February 2008 clearly attests to the exclusively peaceful nature of the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran, both in the past and at present, and serves to strongly and unambiguously support our country's long-standing position that the allegations raised by a few States against the peaceful nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been entirely groundless. In the work plan concluded between Iran and the IAEA in August 2007, it was also emphasized that
"The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use." (GOV/2007/48, attachment, IV, para. 4)
On the basis of ideological and strategic grounds, Iran categorically rejects the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, as well as all other weapons of mass destruction. That fundamental position has been reiterated by every senior Iranian official on numerous occasions. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly stressed that position before through a religious verdict -- a fatwa -- and once again reiterated the same principled position during Mr. ElBaradei's recent visit to Tehran. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran has emphasized repeatedly that Iran's nuclear programme has been and will remain absolutely peaceful, and that Iran is a leading country in international efforts to oppose nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
The IAEA Director General has stressed in his various statements that "the Agency does not have any data or evidence indicating that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons". He has also said that "there is no evidence Iran's enrichment of uranium is intended for a military nuclear programme". In the wake of the national intelligence estimate report of the United States, which reversed many of its previous baseless allegations against Iran's nuclear programme, the IAEA Director General stressed that Iran had been "vindicated in saying it has not been working on a weapons programme".
Thirdly, in addition, the actions of the Security Council are unjustifiable because of the main pretext on the basis of which consideration of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme was imposed on the Security Council -- namely, the outstanding issues -- is now resolved and closed. The sponsors of today's resolution have argued in the past that Iran's peaceful nuclear programme should be dealt with by the Security Council due to unresolved outstanding questions. In order not to leave any stone unturned in its cooperation with the IAEA and to remove the much ballyhooed yet baseless pretext, Iran agreed to work with the Agency on a work plan to address and resolve the outstanding issues. In that regard, the text of the "Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues" was negotiated and finally concluded in August 2007.
The conclusion of the work plan, which has been described as a significant step forward by the IAEA Director General, was an essential turning point in our cooperation with the Agency. The same sponsors of today's resolution first tried cynically to overshadow the importance of the initiative, and when they failed to do so, they spared no effort to create all kinds of problems to hamper its successful implementation and, not least, strived to politicize the trend to the extent possible. The statement of the IAEA officials, who had rightly complained that "the US is mounting a deliberate campaign to derail Iranian-IAEA rapprochement", was noteworthy in this regard.
Those few countries have pursued their politically motivated agenda regardless of Iran's cooperation with the IAEA and the latter's report on such cooperation. Indeed, their warranted efforts to put the Agency and its officials under pressure and to influence its reports are well known and need no elaboration.
Despite all these negative policies and practices on the part of those countries, we resolutely implemented the work plan in a sincere and serious manner. Certain outstanding issues were addressed and resolved by Iran even while negotiations on the contents of the work plan were still ongoing. For instance, on 20 August 2007, well before the conclusion of the work plan, the Agency stated in regard to the plutonium issue that "earlier statements made by Iran are consistent with the Agency's findings, and thus this matter is resolved". Moreover, the Agency's report of 15 November 2007 stressed the resolution of most of the outstanding issues.
Finally, the latest report by the Agency, circulated on 22 February 2008, clearly declared the resolution and closure of all outstanding issues and emphasized in its paragraph 53 that "The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran, in accordance to the work plan, are consistent with its findings" and "considers those questions no longer outstanding". Additionally, the IAEA Director General declared the resolution of all outstanding issues in his remarks after the release of the report and said, "We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran's enrichment programme".
While it was estimated that at least 18 months would be needed for the work plan to be implemented, Iran's unwavering and full cooperation with the Agency made it possible for the work plan to be implemented in less than six months.
It is worth mentioning that, based on the initial agreement with the Agency, we were only supposed to address the past remaining issues. Nevertheless, as a sign of good will and in line with its robust cooperation with the IAEA, the Islamic Republic of Iran considered the present issues as well. As a result, two important legal documents -- the "Safeguards Approach Document" and "Facility Attachment" for Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz -- were negotiated, concluded and finally put into force on 30 September 2007. Accordingly, the implementation of those documents has provided necessary assurances for the verification of enrichment activities in Iran for the present time and in the future.
By resolving the outstanding issues with regard to its past activities, on the one hand, and, on the other, by conducting all its present activities, including enrichment, under the full and continuous monitoring of the Agency on the basis of the IAEA Statute, the NPT and the comprehensive safeguards agreement, the Islamic Republic of Iran has removed any so-called concerns or ambiguities with regard to its peaceful nuclear activities in the past and present.
Now that the work plan has been fully implemented and the outstanding issues have been resolved, there exists no justification for the continuation of the politically motivated and misleading call of "lack of confidence" by a few countries, countries whose number hardly amounts to four among 192 Member States of the United Nations but who always mischievously proclaim themselves to be speaking on behalf of the international community or the whole world.
The IAEA Director General said 10 September 2007 that "Resolving all outstanding verification issues ... would go a long way towards building the confidence of the international community in the peaceful nature of Iran's past nuclear programme."
Indeed, those who did not want to allow the Agency to discharge its technical duties spared no efforts to undermine the momentum generated by the conclusion and implementation of the work plan and resorted to a systematic and relentless campaign of false claims, propaganda, intimidation and pressure aimed at the Agency, its Director General, some members of the Security Council and the work plan. This unhealthy and ill-intended campaign prompted a senior official of the IAEA to stress that "Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us [from the US] has proved to be wrong". The so-called alleged-studies issue is an example of such a fabrication and misinformation campaign.
While those baseless allegations -- the alleged study -- had not been an outstanding issue between Iran and the IAEA, a very organized and pre-planned propaganda campaign began even before the release of the latest IAEA report in order to eclipse the landmark accomplishment that Iran has made in its cooperation with the Agency in resolving the outstanding issues.
As stressed in the work plan, "Iran reiterated that it considers the ... alleged studies as politically motivated and baseless allegations ... [but] as a sign of good will and cooperation with the Agency, [stated that] upon receiving all related documents [Iran] will review and inform the Agency of its assessment."
The IAEA reports, particularly the most recent one, together with the statements of the Agency's officials, clearly indicate that the Iranian nation is committed to its international obligations and, at the same time, persistent in pursuing and exercising its legal rights.
The recent IAEA report clearly stresses that Iran's cooperation with the IAEA has been far beyond its treaty obligation and has been proactive. It points out in paragraph 55 that
"The Agency has recently received from Iran additional information similar to that which Iran had previously provided pursuant to the Additional Protocol, as well as updated design information. As a result, the Agency's knowledge about Iran's current declared nuclear programme has become clearer".
The IAEA Director-General yet again stressed Iran's robust cooperation with the Agency in his remarks after the release of the report by saying that
"Iran, in the past few months, has provided us with visits to many places that enable us to have a clearer picture of Iran's current programme".
In its latest report, the Agency has also stressed in several instances, including in paragraphs 11, 18, 24, 34 and 53, the conclusion that "Iran's statements are consistent with other information available to the Agency" or "are not inconsistent with its findings".
Undoubtedly, the full implementation of the work plan, and thus the resolution and closure of the outstanding issues, have eliminated the most basic pretexts and allegations on the basis of which Iran's peaceful nuclear programme was referred to the Security Council. The Security Council's involvement and the actions it has taken so far in that regard have been unwarranted and unconstructive, and have only damaged the credibility of the IAEA.
Iran's peaceful nuclear programme should be dealt with solely by the Agency. I wish to draw the Security Council's attention to the very important point that, based on the very last paragraph of the work plan,
"[t]he Agency and Iran agreed that after the implementation of the above work plan and the agreed modalities for resolving the outstanding issues, the implementation of safeguards in Iran will be conducted in a routine manner".
Therefore, the consideration of Iran's peaceful nuclear programme in no way falls within the purview of the Security Council. In fact, based on the IAEA reports and as a result of Iran's cooperation and the closure of the outstanding questions, not only does there remain no single reason or shred of legality for any new action by the Council, but also the illegality of the previous actions of the Council have become more abundantly clear.
Much has been said about suspension. Iran cannot and will not accept a requirement which is legally defective and politically coercive. History tells us that no amount of pressure, intimidation and threat will be able to coerce our nation into giving up its basic and legal rights. We have never attempted to impose our will on others; equally, we will never allow others to impose their unjust demands on us. We do not consider the call for suspension legitimate for, among others, the following reasons.
First, as we have stressed over and over again, no Government has the desire or the authority to suspend the exercise of the legal rights of its nation. Any demand from a nation to do so would be politically incorrect and legally flawed.
Second, neither in the IAEA's Statute, nor in the NPT safeguards, nor even in the Additional Protocol are enrichment and reprocessing prohibited or restricted. There is even no limit for the level of enrichment in the said documents.
Third, in all resolutions of the Board of Governors of the IAEA, suspension was considered to be a non-legally binding, voluntary and confidence-building measure.
Fourth, suspension was in place for more than two years and the IAEA, in each and every report from November 2003 to February 2006, repeatedly verified that Iran had fully suspended what it had agreed to suspend. During that period, it became clear that those insisting on suspension were indeed aiming to prolong and ultimately perpetuate it, and consequently to prevent the Iranian nation from exercising its legal rights.
Fifth, the attempt to make the suspension mandatory through the Security Council has been, from the outset, against the fundamental principles of international law, the non- proliferation Treaty and IAEA Board resolutions. The Security Council's resolutions that made the suspension mandatory also flout the stated position of the overwhelming majority of the international community.
Sixth, unquestionably, with the resolution of the outstanding issues related to the IAEA-reported conclusion of non-diversion in Iran's nuclear activities and with Iran's nuclear activities under the full and continuous monitoring of the Agency, there remains no pretext for the illegal request for suspension.
Seventh, the Security Council's decision to coerce Iran into suspension of its peaceful nuclear programme is also a gross violation of Article 25 of the Charter. While Member States have agreed, in accordance with the said Article, to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter, the Security Council cannot coerce countries into submitting either to its decisions taken in bad faith or to its demands negating the fundamental purposes and principles of the Charter.
Eighth, we need to enrich uranium to provide fuel for the tens of nuclear reactors that we are building or planning to build in order to meet the growing needs of our country for energy. There has never been nor will there ever be guarantees that our needs for fuel will be completely provided for by foreign sources. It is worth mentioning that there is no single document that serves as a legally binding international instrument for the assurance of nuclear supplies to guarantee fuel for nuclear power plants.
The Security Council today is about to make an unjust and irrational decision on Iran's peaceful nuclear programme. History will ultimately render its judgment over the behaviour of the Council. Even disregarding the Council's unfair actions towards Iran today, as the representative of a founding Member of this Organization I wish to express our grave concern and dismay regarding the path that the Security Council has chosen and pursued. We all know that the United Nations is expected to be an institution for addressing international problems and defending the rights of its Member States in this shrinking world. The Security Council should be inherently and meaningfully a Council for security -- a body that is entrusted with the important task of maintaining international peace and security. It should be a secure and safe place where the rights of nations are not violated and are fully respected. Can one claim that the Council has performed its immense duty in good faith and as requested by the Charter? The answer is not definitely affirmative. Surely the overwhelming majority of the Members of this Organization are seriously concerned about the behaviour of the Council, which has extensively undermined its integrity and credibility.
A question to ponder is: how will nations remember the behaviour of this important organ? A question arises as to why, after all the crimes of the Zionist regime in the Palestinian territories, which have shocked the whole world and have been described, inter alia, as ethnic cleansing, genocide and war crimes by the international community, the Council has failed to take any effective measures to put an end to those crimes? Why has the Council failed to issue a simple press statement or been able to pay even lip service to the issue of Palestinian suffering in view of the daily Israeli atrocities in the Palestinian territories, particularly in Gaza, that have led to the killing and wounding of hundreds of innocent Palestinian people in the past several weeks? Undoubtedly, the Security Council's previous inaction and silence regarding the abhorrent crimes of the Israeli regime have resulted in the current holocaust that is being carried out in the Gaza Strip by the Zionist regime.
The people of Iran will never forget the inaction of the Security Council with regard to Saddam Hussein's attack against Iran on 22 September 1980, the invasion that resulted in an eight-year-long war waged against Iran, with unspeakable suffering and losses for our nation. That act of aggression did not trouble the same permanent members of the Council who have sought the adoption of the resolution against Iran today, nor did they consider it a threat against international peace and security. Nor did the Security Council, for several years, bother to deal with the use of chemical weapons by the former Iraqi dictator against Iranian civilians and military personnel and Iraqi Kurds, particularly in Halabcheh, chemical weapons that were provided to Saddam Hussein by some of the sponsors and supporters of today's draft resolution. No amount of explanation could describe the disastrous consequences of that unacceptable behaviour by the Security Council.
Indeed, those are not the only examples of the Council, due to its inherent deficiencies and due to its structure and voting mechanism, being unable to discharge its responsibilities. That is why the overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States believe that this Council must be overhauled.
Today, the Council's credibility will be further damaged because of the political motives of a few countries, political motives that have prevented the Council from heeding the judgement of a technical body of the United Nations, namely, the IAEA, while the IAEA clearly acknowledges that Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful. Some countries deliberately undermine the work of that Agency, which is part of the United Nations. It therefore appears that the Security Council attaches no value even to other United Nations institutions and bodies. It is no wonder that the Security Council, which has repeatedly encroached on the mandates and authorities of other United Nations bodies, cannot be trusted to respect the views and judgements of other United Nations agencies.
The Council's behaviour in undermining the credibility and integrity of the Agency will only serve the interests of those who prefer to ignore the IAEA, such as the Israeli regime, which, with hundreds of nuclear warheads in its possession, poses the most serious threat to international and regional peace and security. It will also serve the interests of those who have never wished for a strong, independent and impartial Agency.
That is truly a serious question. Is it not time for the Council to respect the judgement of an institution that is part of the United Nations system, or to respect the legitimate rights of a great nation with a long history of civilization and peaceful coexistence with other nations? That right has been recognized by international law, and its exercise poses no threat to international peace and security.
What the Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing is the exercise of its rights in accordance with the NPT and under the supervision of the IAEA, and nothing more. Is that an illegitimate demand? Is it justice, to punish a nation that behaves according to the rules and regulations?
Finally, the future security of the world depends on how the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, will function in a just and impartial manner.
In reality, people across the globe have now lost their trust in the Security Council and consider the actions of the Council as the results of political pressure exerted by a few Powers to advance their own agendas. That is a compelling issue, which the Council must address in order to restore its credibility.
In view of all of those facts and realities, the following legitimate question arises: can the Security Council still be known as a "council for security"? Can it be regarded as a just, impartial and credible organ of the United Nations? I leave that judgment to the esteemed Members of the United Nations and all fair-minded people around the world.
I now give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to speak before the vote.
South Africa regrets that the sponsors of the draft resolution have persisted with the same substantive text that they had tabled before the latest report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was even issued and hence, the draft resolution appears not to adequately take into account the progress made on the basis of the work plan agreed between the IAEA and Iran.
Moreover, the adoption of the new draft resolution, which imposes further punitive sanctions, could apparently not even be postponed until the IAEA Board of Governors had a full opportunity to consider the matter and take account of the verbal update of the Director General of the IAEA. That gives the international community the impression that the verification work and important progress made by the Agency is virtually irrelevant to the sponsors of this draft resolution.
The rationale for bringing the Iran issue to the Security Council in the first place was, we were told, to reinforce the decisions of the IAEA and to enhance its authority, and yet the current draft resolution does not accurately reflect what is happening at the IAEA. We are seriously concerned about the implications of this situation for the credibility of the Security Council, and the only reason we will vote in favour of the resolution is to preserve the previous decisions of the Council that Iran has not fully implemented.
The IAEA is the only international authority that can verify and provide the necessary assurances as to the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. It is therefore unfortunate that the Security Council gives the impression that it is in such great haste to decide on a series of further punitive sanctions that it does not wish even to consider the significant progress being made through the IAEA to provide the international community with important factual information on the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards in Iran.
The report by the IAEA Director General issued on 22 February 2008 clearly shows that all outstanding safeguards issues, which are also included in the work plan between the IAEA and Iran, have been clarified due to the cooperation between Iran and the IAEA. The IAEA has thus far not found any evidence of diversion, and all material has been accounted for. Furthermore, those issues that originally gave rise to serious concern resulting in the demand for the confidence-building measures, including suspending the uranium enrichment programme, have now also been clarified.
On the basis of the factual situation available to us we also have to recognize that since the adoption of resolution 1747 (2007) in March of last year, which South Africa supported, the situation has further changed following the release of the United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that Iran does not have a current nuclear weapons programme. The NIE seems consistent with the IAEA's findings to date.
To the extent that all the outstanding issues have now been clarified, at least there ought to be increased confidence in the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. It is important to allow the verification process to proceed on its current course.
Also, given the context of the recent allegations of weaponization activities, the need for continued factual and reliable information about Iran's current nuclear activities, based on increased access by and cooperation with the IAEA, can be said to be all the more important.
It is important not to jeopardize any of the gains made. Rather, we should seek to build on the progress made through systematic and continued verification work by the IAEA. This approach will help to establish the facts and encourage negotiations among concerned parties with a view to reducing tension and further escalation. Given the confidence deficit that existed earlier, we need to move forward in a responsible and balanced manner because we are dealing with a highly sensitive matter that can have serious implications in a volatile region.
As a country that is firmly committed to the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and to non-proliferation, South Africa does not wish to see a nuclear-weaponized Iran or the denial of the right of any signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to exploit the peaceful applications of nuclear technology with appropriate safeguards. Also, South Africa does not want to see a war break out over the nuclear programme in Iran.
The suspension of enrichment activities may under no circumstances become a goal in itself. In addition, it is incumbent on the Council to assure Iran that the call for suspension is not a smokescreen for any indefinite suspension or termination. In this regard, it would also be important to terminate the sanctions once the IAEA has addressed the remaining issues.
We would have preferred that the resolution not contain the controversial provision that allows for searches of certain Iranian vessels and aircraft, even subject to very strict limitations, as this could spark confrontation and further threaten international peace and security. Furthermore, the restrictions on dual-use goods and on loans and credits must not be allowed to have a negative impact on the civilian population of Iran. Members of the Security Council that will vote in favour of the current resolution, including South Africa, have a special obligation to the Iranian people and must exercise the highest degree of scrutiny and oversight of the implementation of sanctions to ensure that there are no unintended consequences and that the focus remains solely on the nuclear programme.
Whilst we have decided to vote for this resolution, it is imperative that we should now work creatively to defuse the confrontation in order to allow for a resumption of negotiations towards a sustainable, peaceful solution of this issue.
Finally, South Africa wishes to reaffirm the principle that once the peaceful nature of the Iran nuclear programme has been establish, Iran will enjoy the rights and responsibilities that any member of the NPT also enjoys.
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya attaches great importance to the issue of non-proliferation, the subject that we are considering today. As all members of the Council know, Libya has voluntarily renounced its facilities and programmes related to weapons of mass destruction. We are certain that the only guarantee of non-use of these weapons is their total elimination.
In this context, we are in favour of the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world, including in the Middle East region. We have supported all relevant resolutions adopted in this area, including the resolutions of the 1995 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) adopted with respect to the Middle East, as well as pertinent resolutions of the General Assembly, including resolution 62/18 of 2007.
Non-proliferation and disarmament together form a single comprehensive issue which should be dealt with without selectivity. All States without exception must submit their nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards regime. We deplore the fact that the Security Council has not attached adequate importance to the issue of Israel's nuclear weapons, in spite of the fact that the Israelis are refusing to accede to the NPT or to submit their facilities to the IAEA safeguards regime.
Moreover, Israel has declared that it possesses nuclear weapons but has not respected repeated international calls to disarm. This attitude could have terrible effects on the region and on the world, especially since it, together with the massacres that are being committed in the occupied Palestinian territories right now, demonstrates that the Israeli regime is terrorist and irresponsible and does not take into consideration international law or ethics.
Libya believes that it is extremely important that the Security Council address this subject in a comprehensive way in order to convince all States in the region to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That could enhance the Security Council's legitimacy, especially with regard to the procedures it can adopt. The Council's selectivity has given rise to questions about the Council's true objectives.
Our commitment to nuclear non-proliferation must not make us forget the right of all States parties to the NPT -- including the Islamic Republic of Iran -- to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to acquire and develop related technology. The 22 February 2008 report of the IAEA Director General shows that essential progress has been made on the Iranian nuclear issue and that the majority of pending issues have been resolved. It also shows that there is now greater clarity with regard to Iran's declared nuclear programme. It was our hope that those positive developments would be taken into account and that negotiations and diplomatic contacts would be continuing with a view to resolving contentious issues and with a view to reinforcing the status of the IAEA as the appropriate body to deal with this problem.
For our part, we did not agree with other Council members about the usefulness of a resolution imposing additional sanctions on Iran, or that this would help us achieve a solution; it might instead cause the situation to deteriorate. We had asked that the text reflect the content of the latest report of the IAEA Director General and that the draft resolution address the Iranian nuclear programme in the context of concerns related to the Middle East in general.
Because the countries that formulated the text of the draft resolution before us have taken into consideration some of the concerns we share with other members -- and while, although the majority of Council members consider that it is useful to adopt a draft resolution of this kind, we do not share that view -- we have decided to join the unanimous opinion in the Council and to vote in favour of the draft resolution, so that the Security Council can speak with a single voice.
As a responsible party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Viet Nam attaches great importance to all three major pillars of the NPT: non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; respect for the rights of all parties to development, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and the pursuit by every party of negotiations on measures relating to ending the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. We hold that the parties' full implementation of their obligations under the NPT and their full enjoyment of the benefits that the Treaty brings will contribute effectively to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the social and economic development of States parties to the Treaty.
Keeping in mind the importance it attaches to those three major pillars of the NPT, Viet Nam has followed the Iran nuclear issue closely and with great interest in seeing it resolved by peaceful means and through dialogue. Viet Nam has always welcomed and supported the efforts of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as those of concerned countries or groups of countries to that end. At international forums including the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the IAEA and in its bilateral dealings with other countries, Viet Nam has consistently affirmed the aforementioned position and has contributed to the promotion of international dialogue and cooperation aimed at settling the outstanding issues in this connection.
Viet Nam actively participated in the process of negotiating the text of the draft resolution contained in document S/2008/141 and, on the basis of its initial elements, proposed changes to the following effect: that Iran's cooperation with the IAEA and the progress in the implementation of the IAEA-Iran work plan be more positively recognized; that the authority and role of the IAEA as the body mandated to resolve the non-proliferation issues within the framework of the NPT be more adequately reflected; that the right of States to carry out normal international trade activities be respected; and that implementation by States of provisions of the draft resolution must be in accordance with their national legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements.
With the incorporation of such changes that we and other Council members proposed, and given the following facts -- the fact that both the draft resolution and the statement to be issued by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States advocate a diplomatic and negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear issue; the fact that the 22 February 2008 report of the Director General of the IAEA, while recognizing progress in Iran's cooperation with the IAEA, indicates that Iran still needs to respond to requests by the Security Council and the IAEA; the fact that the scope of implementation envisaged in this draft resolution is basically the same as that in the previous resolutions, namely resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007), adopted by consensus by the Council -- Viet Nam will vote in favour of the draft resolution contained in document S/2008/141.
Having decided to vote in favour of the draft resolution, we are strongly convinced that favourable conditions must be created for the peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue, including cessation of hostile policies against Iran, assurance of Iran's legitimate security interests and respect for the right of Iran to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We also believe that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East, in accordance with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and the adherence by all States in the region to the NPT would be positive steps in this direction.
Finally, while hailing the new progress in cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, we are desirous to see Iran's efforts positively matched in the coming period.
I should like to begin by thanking the co-sponsors for their efforts in consulting with the Council's member States on the draft resolution before us today. Before I proceed, permit me to reiterate Indonesia's principled position with regard to the issue before the Council.
First, Indonesia underscores the imperative to find a peaceful solution to any question related to nuclear non-proliferation. Secondly, any solution must be guided by the need to protect the integrity of multilateral arrangements, particularly the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is fundamentally based upon three main pillars, namely, non-proliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear disarmament. Finally, it is a matter of fact that a State's effort to exercise its inalienable right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy borders on the proliferation aspect. In that regard, Indonesia has full confidence in the credibility, independence and efficiency of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the sole competent authority for the verification of the respective safeguards obligations of Member States.
In determining the right course of action with regard to the issue under discussion, Indonesia has been guided by the important information contained in the latest report of the Director General of IAEA, issued on 22 February 2008, which revealed several key findings.
Indonesia appreciates Iran's efforts to show greater cooperation and, at the same time, more transparency to the Agency. The Agency has thus been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. In addition, the report stated that the Agency's knowledge about Iran's current declared nuclear programme has become clearer due to Iran's provision of information similar to which it had provided pursuant to the additional protocol. Furthermore, Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities.
We have carefully considered both the report and the draft resolution before the Council today. With regard to the outstanding issues, we note that the Agency considered that all remaining outstanding issues contained in the work plan, with the exception of one issue, have been resolved. The report stated that, contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities and, in addition, has started the development of new-generation centrifuges and continued its construction of the IR-40 reactor and its operation of the heavy water production plant. For the remaining issue -- that is, the alleged weaponization studies -- the report of the IAEA clearly noted that the Agency has not detected the use of nuclear material. However, the report also stated that the Agency is not yet in a position to determine the full nature of Iran's nuclear programme. It implies, therefore, that some specific demands stipulated in resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) have not been met. However, it is important to note that notable progress has been made in resolving the outstanding issues between Iran and the IAEA, as demanded by those resolutions.
We have been keen to ensure that there is synergy and complementarity between the report and the IAEA's efforts generally, on the one hand, and the letter and spirit of the draft resolution, on the other. We cannot fail to note the well-calibrated nature of the report -- recognizing important progress in its cooperation with the Agency as well as the facts of Iran's lack of compliance with Security Council resolutions. It depicts well the complexity and the mixed picture of the issue. It had been our expectation that the draft resolution would reflect those complex dynamics and mixed findings and not succumb to an overly one-dimensional characterization of where we are today.
We note that the additional sanctions in the present draft resolution have been described as being incremental, targeted at non-proliferation areas and reversible, and that the Council would suspend its implementation should Iran curtail all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, as verified by the IAEA.
However, Indonesia remains to be convinced of the efficacy of adopting additional sanctions at this juncture. Essentially, we are not convinced that more sanctions -- however incremental, well-targeted and reversible -- would move us forward in resolving the question of Iran's nuclear programme. Will they instead have a potential negative impact at a time when progress is being made? We wonder, therefore, whether imposing more sanctions at this juncture is the most sensible approach. We need to pose the question whether imposing more sanctions is the most sensible course of action to instil confidence and trust and engender cooperation between all the parties concerned. It is our belief that, ultimately, lack of confidence and trust lies at the heart of the matter. We must avoid more of the same.
It is our expectation that Iran will continue to engage actively with the Agency in order to build confidence about the scope and nature of its nuclear programme. Such a development is not without relevance to our deliberations today. After all, the Iran dossier was referred to the Council to encourage that country to resolve outstanding verification issues with the IAEA and to restore the international community's confidence in its nuclear programme. While yet to be completed, that has begun and is making progress.
The suspension of enrichment-related activities is an instrument. It is a means to an end. It is not, as we understand it, an end by itself, isolated from developments in Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. The IAEA-Iran work plan constitutes a platform to restore the confidence of the international community. Any interruption of that confidence-building process will only threaten to unravel the important gains that have been made.
The NPT guarantees the inalienable right of all States parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in accordance with the Treaty. Nonetheless, we are often trapped in a vicious cycle, as there is no guarantee given to non-nuclear States regarding the security of supply of nuclear technology and materials for peaceful purposes. They remain prone to suspicion in their attempts to exercise their rights.
In order to put an end to that cycle, it is imperative for all of us to move forward and in a more creative and constructive manner. We must revive and renew the initiative to establish a multilateral arrangement, as part and parcel of the NPT, to guarantee the security of supply of nuclear technology and materials, including highly enriched uranium. Such an arrangement would provide certainty, as well as assurances, to Iran, and eventually put an end to the existing suspicions -- thereby removing any reason for anyone to question the peaceful nature of Iran's current enrichment process.
As a faithful State party to the NPT, Indonesia is always of the view that the three pillars of the NPT should be pursued in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner. We have consistently expressed our view that we should not only emphasize the non-proliferation obligations of non-nuclear-weapon States, but that we must also require nuclear-weapon States to comply fully with their nuclear disarmament obligations under article VI of the NPT, on which there has barely been any progress so far.
We are aware that resolution 1747 (2007) provides for the possibility of further appropriate measures in the event of Iranian non-compliance. There is, however, nothing automatic about such measures. Further decisions will be needed -- hence our deliberations today. Above all, it is important to recognize that the conditions prevailing today are different than those on the eve of the adoption of resolution 1747 (2007). The strategic goals of resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) are being achieved. Iran is cooperating with the IAEA. At this juncture, more sanctions are not the best course.
For those considerations and reasons, Indonesia will abstain on the draft resolution before us today.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it (S/2008/141). Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
favour=14 against=0 abstain=1 absent=0
Belgium, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Panama, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam
The result of the voting is as follows: 14 votes in favour, none against and 1 abstention. The draft resolution has been adopted as resolution 1803 (2008).
I shall now give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.
I would like to begin by reading out the text of a statement which has been agreed by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union (EU). The statement reads as follows:
"Today the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1803 (2008), reflecting the international community's ongoing serious concerns about the proliferation risks of the Iranian nuclear programme. This is the third time that the United Nations Security Council has sent a strong message of international resolve to Iran by adopting a sanctions resolution under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations on Iran's nuclear programme. We deplore Iran's continued failure to comply with its United Nations Security Council and IAEA Board requirements, in particular by expanding its enrichment-related activities. We note the progress made in implementing the IAEA-Iran work plan and the IAEA's serious concerns about the 'alleged studies', which are critical to an assessment of a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear programme. We call upon Iran to heed the requirement of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA, including the suspension of its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
"We remain committed to an early negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and reaffirm our commitment to a dual-track approach. We reconfirm the proposals we presented to Iran in June 2006 and are prepared to further develop them. Our proposals will offer substantial opportunities for political, security and economic benefits to Iran and to the region. We urge Iran to take this opportunity to engage with us all and to find a negotiated way forward. We reiterate our recognition of the right of Iran to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with its NPT obligations. We reconfirm that once the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme is restored it will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear-weapon State party to the NPT. We remain ready to negotiate future arrangements, modalities and timing in this respect once the conditions for negotiations have been established.
"This will require further diplomatic efforts and innovative approaches. To that end, we have asked Dr. Javier Solana, the High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy, to meet with Dr. Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, and to address the interests and concerns of both sides in a manner which can gradually create the conditions for the opening of negotiations."
That concludes the statement on behalf of the six Foreign Ministers.
I should like now to make some remarks in my national capacity.
First, I welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of Iran. Many points he has made in his statement are open to clarification, argument and correction, but that would take a long time. Let me confine myself to the following points.
The British Government welcomes the very broad support for this Security Council resolution. Its adoption sends a clear message to the Government and the people of Iran. It underlines yet again that the international community is profoundly concerned that Iran might be intending to use its nuclear programme for military purposes. The United Kingdom does not have confidence that Iran's programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. On the contrary, to us their nuclear programme only makes sense as part of plan to develop, at the least, a nuclear weapons capability.
This resolution is a necessary response to Iran's continued failure to comply with the requirements of the IAEA Board and the Security Council that, while we try to build confidence in Iran's nuclear intentions, Iran has to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activity and work on all heavy-water-related projects; has to resolve all outstanding questions; and has to implement and ratify the Additional Protocol.
The progress that Iran has made with the IAEA addresses only one of those issues, and then only partially. Iran has refused to answer the most difficult questions about its past programme or to meet IAEA requests to interview named Iranian officials. And, as the IAEA reports, far from suspending its enrichment activities, Iran has intensified its efforts, including by trying to develop a new generation of centrifuges. Overall, Iran has clearly failed to abide by its legal obligations under successive Security Council resolutions.
The political statement agreed by the Foreign Ministers of the European Three (E3) plus Three, with the support of the EU High Representative, makes clear that we remain committed to a negotiated solution on the basis of the far-reaching proposals that the six countries agreed in Vienna in June 2006 and which, since that time, we have consistently urged Iran to accept.
Our offer would give Iran everything it needs to develop a modern civil nuclear power programme, including legally guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel. The offer provides Iran with a basis for a transformed relationship with all members of the international community, including with the United States. It is a matter of great regret that for the past 20 months Iran has ignored our offer.
Iran's leaders should listen to what the international community is saying rather than misleading their people by misrepresenting our actions and misrepresenting the reports of the IAEA on their nuclear programme. I commend the efforts of the Director General and the officials of the IAEA, but Iran's failure to do what is required of them, as clearly stated by the IAEA, left us no option but to seek further measures in the Security Council.
These further measures today strengthen the restrictions on individuals and entities closely associated with Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities and with its ballistic missile programme. They increase vigilance over the activities of Iranian banks, particularly Banks Melli and Saderat, which we believe are engaged in proliferation-sensitive activities; they introduce a provision for careful scrutiny of new commitments for export credits and guarantees to Iran; and they encourage Member States to inspect cargo to and from Iran where there are grounds to believe that prohibited items are being transported.
By adopting this resolution, the Security Council has continued its incremental and proportionate approach, gradually increasing the pressure on Iran to address the widely shared concerns about its nuclear programme. Despite Iran's refusal to engage thus far, the British Government urges Iran's leaders to take the opportunity to suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and to cooperate fully with the IAEA, paving the way for the suspension of sanctions and for the start of negotiations which would bring far-reaching benefits to the Iranian people and greater stability to the Middle East. If Iran does not take this opportunity, then, as the resolution makes clear, the Security Council is committed to implementing further additional measures.
With this new resolution, the Security Council is reaffirming the clear choice confronting Iran's leaders: to cooperate with the international community and enjoy the benefits of normal relations with the rest of the world or to pursue their nuclear programme in disregard of international concerns and worsen still further their international isolation. The choice is for Iran's leaders to make. The British Government hopes they take the positive path. The Iranian people deserve no less.
France welcomes the adoption by a very large majority -- indeed, by near unanimity -- of resolution 1803 (2008). The resolution is the outcome of a collective approach that led its three authors -- France, the United Kingdom and Germany -- as well as China, the Russian Federation, the United States and ultimately the Council as a whole, to deem it necessary to send a clear and firm message to Iran.
Why are we here? The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) establishes a regime based on confidence, to which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the keystone. That confidence is necessary to guarantee our security. It is also the condition allowing all to enjoy the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is not arbitrary, but based on concrete facts.
Iran concealed a clandestine nuclear programme for 20 years, in violation of its Safeguards Agreement and without a credible civilian use. It developed that programme through a network that serviced military programmes throughout the world. It has revealed no information on its own initiative, and has cooperated with the Agency only sporadically since it was exposed. While the enrichment to make fissile material was being undertaken, Iran was working on various techniques that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. In 1987, Iran also received and preserved a document on the conversion of uranium hexafluoride gas into metallic uranium and on the melding of enriched metallic uranium into hemispherical forms, which has no use other than the manufacture of a nuclear weapon. Iran is also actively developing long-range missiles.
Given that disturbing situation, the international community's requests to restore confidence -- requests iterated by the Board of Governors of the IAEA and the Security Council in its resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) -- are simple and understandable to all. Iran must suspend its sensitive activities, offer full transparency under the Additional Protocol to the IAEA, and shed full light on the outstanding issues.
Bearing in mind the future of the NPT, if anyone can violate its safeguards agreements, refuse to implement the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the Security Council, and engage in dangerous activities on that basis, the entire regime will be under threat. We cannot afford that while the demand for nuclear energy is greater than ever because global development requires it.
Of course, there is no question of refusing Iran the right to use nuclear energy peacefully when it meets its international obligations. France, which is committed to distributing such energy, is particularly sensitive to that matter, but we must bear in mind the dangers that would arise with respect to Iran's implementation of a policy of fait accompli. In that volatile region, it would raise the risk of confrontation, and that is what we wish to avoid above all else.
The Security Council is meeting today for the fourth time on this issue because it has noted that Iran has yet to respect its obligations. The most recent report of the IAEA Director General has once again sharpened our concern. The Director General has concluded that the IAEA cannot yet take a position on the nature and scope of the Iranian nuclear programme, and has called on Iran once again to build confidence in the peaceful nature of its programme and to act on the Security Council's requests.
A new and disturbing aspect that is developed at length in the report is that of Iran's presumed militarization activities. The Director General calls them a matter of serious concern. If we are to maintain confidence in the NPT, we have no choice but to adopt sanctions against that country. In that respect, I express the position of the Federal Republic of Germany as well.
Today's resolution adds names to the list of people or entities subject to assets freezes due to their connection with Iran's proliferation activities. It imposes a travel ban on those most closely involved and prevents the provision to Iran of dual-use material. It calls for vigilance in transactions with Iranian banks, in particular the Mali and Sadat banks. For the same reason, it calls for limiting the granting of export credits to Iran. Lastly, it encourages States to ensure that air or maritime cargo transported by two Iranian companies involved in trafficking does not include prohibited material.
Despite all this, our approach is not punitive. The sanctions aim at ensuring the credibility of our approach, but our priority is to find a diplomatic solution. The Security Council has indicated that sanctions will be suspended if Iran suspends its sensitive activities, and repealed if Iran fully respects its obligations. In June 2006, along with our German, British, American, Russian and Chinese partners, we offered Iran a proposal for political, economic and nuclear cooperation. Iran did not wish to consider that offer. We urgently ask it once again to do so. That is also the message sent to Iran by the ministers for foreign affairs of Germany, China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, which was read out earlier by the Ambassador of the United Kingdom.
We therefore once again extend a hand to the Iranian people in the hope that its leaders will accept it.
The United States welcomes the adoption of resolution 1803 (2008). Iran's violations of Security Council resolutions not only continue, but are deepening. Instead of suspending its enrichment and reprocessing activities as required by the Council, Iran chose to expand dramatically its number of operating centrifuges and to develop a new generation of centrifuges, testing one of them with nuclear fuel. Iran continues to construct its heavy water research reactor at Arak, a potential source of weapons-useable plutonium, and still has not implemented the Additional Protocol.
Once again, Iran has not made the choice the world had hoped for; once again, the Security Council has no choice but to act. At stake is the security of a vital region of the world and the credibility of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as they seek to hold Iran to its nuclear non-proliferation commitments.
The latest IAEA report states that Iran has not met its obligation to fully disclose its past nuclear weapons programme. On the core issue of whether Iran's nuclear programme is strictly peaceful, the report showed no serious progress. The IAEA presented Iran with documents assembled over a period of years from multiple Member States and the Agency's own investigations. The documents detailed Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear warhead, including designs for a missile re-entry vehicle, and showed other possible undeclared activities with nuclear material. Iran dismissed these documents as baseless and fabricated, but the IAEA does not share that conclusion.
Instead of slogans and obfuscations, the international community needs answers from Iran. For our part, I want to ask the Iranian authorities: "Why were you secretly working on designs for a nuclear warhead and its miniaturization to fit on a missile -- all in violation of your obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)? Why not tell the IAEA what happened and why?" On a matter of such global importance, the international community must be able to believe Iran's declarations that its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. Iranian leaders must, as a first step, cease enrichment and reprocessing activities and make a full disclosure of all Iran's weapons-related work. We agree with the IAEA that, until Iran declares all of its nuclear activities and ceases its weapons-related work, Iran's nuclear activities cannot be verified as peaceful.
Iran has still not fully implemented the Additional Protocol, which the IAEA requires to determine what other undeclared activities are taking place. I want to ask the Iranian leaders: why are you not fully implementing the additional safeguards? What are you hiding? As long as the Iranian Government continues to be secretive about its nuclear activities, refusing to implement the Additional Protocol, we must inevitably conclude that Iran is hiding weapons work and thereby preserving or establishing options for a nuclear weapons programme. Iran wants us to believe that its nuclear programme is peaceful, but it must be transparent with IAEA inspectors. It should implement the Additional Protocol, as the Council and the IAEA have repeatedly called for.
The latest IAEA report states that Iran is not suspending its sensitive nuclear activities. For almost two years now, this Council has required Iran to suspend all of its enrichment-related, reprocessing and heavy-water-related activities. To increase Iran's incentives to cooperate with the Council, we have imposed sanctions, to which the Council has added once again today. I want to ask the Iranian leaders: if your goal is to generate nuclear power for peaceful purposes, why do you court increasing international isolation, economic pressure and more, for a purported goal more easily and inexpensively obtained with the diplomatic solution we and others offer?
The Iranian ambassador did not answer the questions I have raised. He devoted his remarks to distorting the official record of the IAEA. He stated explicitly that Iran will not comply with the Council's demand to suspend enrichment. Iran continues to make the wrong choice, to choose the path of defiance and to divert attention from its nuclear programme by exploiting the plight of innocent Palestinians and bashing Israel.
I want the Iranian people and others around the world to know that the United States recognizes Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. They should know that the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany have offered to help Iran develop civil nuclear power, if it complies with the Security Council's demand -- a very reasonable demand -- to suspend enrichment. They should know that the so-called P5+1 package of incentives includes active international support to build state-of-the-art light-water reactors and reliable access to nuclear fuel.
The United States also supports Russia's supply of fuel for Iran's nuclear power plant in Bushehr. The delivery of that fuel exposes Iran's false claim that it needs to enrich uranium for civil nuclear power. A total of 17 countries generating nuclear power today purchase their fuel on the international market rather than enrich uranium themselves. The Russian offer would provide fuel to Iran in a reliable way and would not contribute to proliferation.
Iran should do what other States have done to eliminate any doubts that their nuclear programme is peaceful. Many States have made the decision to abandon programmes to produce a nuclear weapon; two of them sit on the Security Council today as my colleagues: South Africa and Libya. Other countries that have stepped away from past nuclear weapon aspirations include Brazil, Argentina, Romania, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Those countries did not see their security diminished as a result of their decisions -- indeed, one could easily say that their security has been enhanced -- nor did they lose their right to develop nuclear energy. We urge Iran to take the same path that those countries have chosen.
The international community has good reason to be concerned about Iran's activities to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. The present Iranian regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose a greater potential danger to the region and to the world. The Iranian Government has been a destabilizing force in the broader Middle East and beyond. Contrary to its statements, Iran has been funding and supporting terrorists and militants for operations in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. Its assistance has killed countless innocent civilians. The President of Iran has made many reprehensible statements embracing the objective of destroying a Member State of the United Nations.
Because of those factors, the international community cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. If Iran continues down its current path, it would likely fuel proliferation activities in the region, which, in turn, could cause the demise of the NPT regime itself.
The ministerial statement agreed to by the permanent five members of the Council and Germany shows that we remain committed to a diplomatic solution. If Iran shares that commitment, it will suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities and allow diplomacy to succeed. It gives us no pleasure, but rather regret, to have to pass another sanctions resolution. But our vote today demonstrates that the Council will act when countries violate their international obligations. We hope Iran will engage in constructive negotiations over the future of its nuclear programme. Such negotiations, if successful, would have profound benefits for Iran and the Iranian people.
I want to close with a message to the people of Iran. America respects you and your great country. We want your country to be a full partner in the international community. As President Bush has said, if Iran respects its international obligations, it will have no better partner than the United States of America.
The Security Council has just adopted a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue. This is the fourth Security Council resolution on the issue since July 2006. It reflects not only the international concern over the issue, but also the expectations of all parties for an early, peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic negotiations.
At present, developments regarding the Iranian nuclear issue are mixed. On the one hand, the latest report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Agency can verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran and has no concrete information about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Iran has clarified a series of outstanding issues such as uranium contamination, polonium experiments and the uranium metal document and provided information similar to that which it had previously provided pursuant to the Additional Protocol. China welcomes the previously mentioned cooperation between Iran and the IAEA. On the other hand, the report also points out that Iran has not suspended uranium enrichment activities, as required by the Security Council resolutions, has started the development of new-generation centrifuges and continues construction of its heavy-water reactor and production of heavy water, while issues relevant to the possible dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme remain outstanding.
As the impasse on the Iranian nuclear issue is not yet broken, the international community is increasingly calling for greater diplomatic efforts, in the hopes that the parties concerned can find a breakthrough point soon and bring the issue back onto the track of settlement.
It is against that background that the Security Council once again adopted a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue. Like the previous three resolutions, it is not aimed at punishing Iran, but is aimed at urging Iran's return to the negotiating table and thus reactivating a new round of diplomatic efforts. The sanctions measures are not targeted at the Iranian people and will not affect normal economic and financial activities between Iran and other countries. All the sanctions measures are reversible. That is to say, if Iran suspends uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and complies with the relevant IAEA and Security Council resolutions, the sanctions will be suspended and even terminated.
China wishes to reiterate that sanctions can never fundamentally resolve the issue. They can only serve as a means to promote reconciliation and negotiations. The best way to resolve the issue remains diplomatic negotiations. We call upon all parties concerned to adopt a highly responsible and constructive attitude, show the necessary flexibility as appropriate, give full play to initiative and creativity and demonstrate determination and sincerity in resuming negotiations.
We call upon the parties to make unremitting efforts to enhance all-round diplomatic endeavours, seek a solution that will not only ensure Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy but also address the international concern over nuclear non-proliferation, and strive to achieve an early, long-term, comprehensive and proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. We call upon Iran to fully comply with the IAEA and Security Council resolutions as soon as possible.
The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the six countries have issued a joint statement, in which they reiterate their commitment to resolving the issue through diplomatic negotiations and express their readiness to strengthen diplomatic efforts and adopt creative approaches to vigorously facilitate the resumption of negotiations. China hopes that all parties concerned will seize the opportunity, engage in closer contacts and dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect, increase mutual trust and reduce misperceptions, address on another's concerns and seek an approach that is acceptable to all for the resumption of negotiations.
China is ready to work with all parties to make a contribution to the peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
My delegation understands the position of Iran with respect to the resolution that the Security Council has just adopted, but we deeply regret the adjectives that were used by its Permanent Representative. We cannot accept that, on this case, he accuses the Security Council of being a mere tool of some countries and says that the action that it is taking is illegal or illegitimate.
While we acknowledge and value the progress that has been made with respect to confidence-building, in our opinion, there are still areas of non-compliance on the part of Iran with respect to the Council's resolutions. Costa Rica is convinced that the present resolution is a necessary consequence of non-compliance with previous resolutions of this Council.
For Costa Rica, a Council meeting on non-proliferation is an opportunity to offer some comments on issues of disarmament. The strategic approach to preventing proliferation is based on two fundamental commitments: the willingness of non-nuclear-weapon States not to acquire such weapons; and the decision of the nuclear-weapon States to gradually reduce their arsenals.
A greater number of States would probably possess nuclear weapons if a system intended to prevent proliferation did not exist. But that system has been unable to completely halt such proliferation. Some countries that are not parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are developing nuclear weapons programmes with total impunity, and true criminal networks have become involved in the black market for nuclear designs, technology and material with the same impunity, and even with the indulgence of some States.
In the area of disarmament, what we have is a history of missed opportunities for the reduction of nuclear threats. The window of opportunity that opened up with the end of the cold war was only partially exploited. Some studies estimate that more than one third of the nuclear destructive power that existed at the end of the cold war will remain in 2012. Furthermore, very little has been done to limit future arms races and the concept of deterrent force still holds all of its strategic value for the nuclear-weapon States.
If we want real progress in the area of disarmament tomorrow, it is imperative to begin today to create effective conditions for the prevention of proliferation. We are not referring only to stopping horizontal proliferation, meaning the rise of new nuclear-weapon States. It is also necessary to prevent and stop vertical proliferation, meaning the continuous development of new technologies that only encourage competition, mistrust and fear among States.
For that reason, we also cannot endorse the behaviour of some States that demand that others comply with their obligations stemming from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, while disregarding some of their own responsibilities. Both treaties form part of an intricate architecture of mutual trust that does not admit differential obligations. It is necessary to prevent both horizontal and vertical proliferation, to encourage the fulfilment of all obligations pursuant to those treaties, and to condemn any attempt to breach this mutual trust.
We believe it is necessary also to make progress on disarmament in order to create an environment conducive to non-proliferation, because there is very little incentive for non-proliferation in an international environment in which there is little progress in disarmament and weak guarantees that existing nuclear weapons will not be used.
In this sense, we share the belief that there is a need for a transparent, sustainable and credible plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament, as was suggested by British Secretary of State for Defence Desmond Browne when he addressed the Conference on Disarmament last month. We agree with him on the need to create a virtuous cycle where progress in disarmament and in non-proliferation can mutually reinforce each other.
Perhaps in this way it will be possible to stop the logic of recent decades, in which despite so many efforts, there has been vertical and horizontal proliferation but little progress in nuclear disarmament.
In this situation, the international community has an obligation to demand advances in disarmament, to improve norms and verification systems, and to take drastic action in the face of any threat of proliferation in the future. In the area of nuclear weapons, it is better to err on the side of caution; otherwise, we could be witnesses to an unprecedented holocaust.
Today, as in the past, Costa Rica respects the right of every State to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. But we consider this right to be contingent on the fulfilment of all international obligations in this matter. In this respect, the right to enrich uranium is a legitimate activity if its scope and objectives are subject to complete international supervision through absolutely transparent processes. We believe that that is still not the case of the Iranian nuclear programme and for this reason we are obligated to support the resolution that we have voted on today. Despite this context which is we hardly find pleasant, we are very pleased with Iran's stated intentions to continue working with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to meet its requirements. We hope that we will soon see the day in which we can verify that Iran has met all of its obligations, and in which the international community can cooperate with Iran to promote the well-being of its people.
I would like to conclude by regretting the fact that they were invoking the delicate situation in Gaza and in southern Israel as a spearhead in a completely unrelated subject. Costa Rica spoke out in this Council to express its concern over the terrible humanitarian situation in the region and has also condemned attacks on territories in the south of Israel. Costa Rica has criticized the Council's silence on that matter, and we reject anew today's invocation of that situation with the intention of attacking the Council.
As members will recall, Burkina Faso, since the beginning of the Council's consideration of this matter, has stated its reservations about considering a draft resolution before the publication of the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's nuclear programme, because, as a matter of principle, my country, as a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), recognizes every country's right to acquire nuclear technology for civilian purposes. It follows that we cannot support any activity of nuclear proliferation.
Having considered the report of the Director General of the IAEA, we note that, in the absence of full and complete cooperation by Iran, the Agency has been unable to clearly determine the precise nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. We deeply regret Iran's position, because all States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty are bound to fully disclose such information. Our doubts are deepened by the fact that the report describes activities linked to uranium enrichment and the development of new-generation centrifuges. Moreover, the Agency has noted Iran's refusal to implement the provisions of its Additional Protocol relating to the speedy provision of descriptive information.
In view of all those facts, and with the sole purpose of encouraging Tehran to make a greater effort to cooperate fully with the IAEA, including by providing specific information on its nuclear programme, Burkina Faso voted in favour of the resolution. For my delegation, the purpose of these additional measures is not to choke or harm Iran -- much less to outlaw it -- but simply to encourage it to be more cooperative with the IAEA and to show transparency in its nuclear programme.
In spite of having endorsed this option, we remain convinced that dialogue with Iran must continue in order to persuade it, through negotiations, that its duty -- and its interests -- lie in full compliance with the NPT safeguards system with a view to regaining the trust of the international community.
In that spirit, we endorse the statement of the six countries, confirming their desire to promote further dialogue and cooperation with Iran. We find that initiative satisfactory and we fully support it, because we remain convinced that only through negotiation can the Iranian question be fully resolved.
Belgium voted in favour of resolution 1803 (2008), and we welcome its adoption by a very large majority. Belgium took note with great interest of the statement issued by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union High Representative.
Belgium regrets that Iran has still not complied with the decisions of the Security Council aimed at the suspension of uranium-enrichment activities and projects linked to heavy water, or with measures set out by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Belgium notes that in his report of 22 February the Director General of the IAEA concludes again that he is not able to provide assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, or regarding the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.
Belgium considers that this new resolution is part of a gradual approach of adopting sanctions that are proportionate, targeted and reversible; above all, we seek to urge the Iranian authorities to adopt a more cooperative and transparent position in order to restore trust. Belgium stresses that the path of good-faith negotiations remains open to Iran on the basis of the proposals made to it in June 2006.
Panama regrets that we have had once again to face the decision to impose sanctions on Iran. As we stated during prior negotiations, we hold that the imposition of coercive measures reflects a failure of diplomacy on this issue. I stress that this is a failure by all parties, not only those of us seeking clarity about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme with a view to making substantive progress towards the resolution of this disturbing situation.
Our decision to vote in favour of today's resolution was based on the following reasoning. Iran has been a State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1970, and as such it must adhere to restrictions on the production, development and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Panama recognizes that, under the NPT, Iran has the right to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes and to carry out processes that are indispensable to that end, such as uranium enrichment. But the exercise of that right involves equally important obligations, in particular open and transparent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of activities and processes linked to the peaceful use of atomic energy.
In that connection, it is timely to echo the words of the most recent report of the IAEA:
"With regard to its current programme, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about its scope and nature. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally importantly, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran".
The report goes on to say that
"Although Iran has provided some additional detailed information about its current activities on an ad hoc basis, the Agency will not be in a position to make progress towards providing credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran before reaching some clarity about the nature of the alleged [green salt] studies, and without implementation of the Additional Protocol".
In short, as the report notes, "the Agency is not yet in a position to determine the full nature of Iran's nuclear programme".
Despite the noteworthy and commendable progress in the process, Panama believes that until we have comprehensive clarity about the present scope of its nuclear programme, Iran will not have fully met its obligations.
In conclusion, the Security Council unanimously required Iran to suspend its activities related to uranium enrichment. The IAEA report acknowledges that, "Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities". The report goes on to enumerate the activities now being carried out by Iran in contravention of what has been stipulated.
Iran has not complied and continues to be in non-compliance with the mandate of the Security Council, thereby flouting the obligations that the Charter of the United Nations imposes on each and every Member State. It does not help Iran to say, as it did today, that it suspended the activities that it agreed to suspend. As stated in the report from which I have quoted today, Iran has not suspended the activities that it must suspend in fulfilment of its obligations under the Charter.
For the foregoing reasons, Panama decided to vote in favour of the draft resolution that was before us today. Nevertheless, we hope that this worrisome situation will be resolved soon. Nothing could make us happier than to avoid having Iran face the difficult consequences flowing from sanctions, thus sparing the rest of the world the unfortunate task of imposing new coercive measures.
Croatia is a responsible member of all international organizations dealing with issues of international security cooperation, relating to both global and comparative security. For instance, as an active member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, Croatia attaches the greatest importance to the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In that context, we are following closely the developments in connection with the Iranian nuclear programme. We fully share the concerns of the wider international community in that regard. With regard to the resolution adopted a short time ago, we had several points as guiding principles.
Every State has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but it must abide by international obligations. While some of the findings of the IAEA report are satisfactory, taken as a whole, the report does not paint a positive picture. On the contrary, the report is critical in that it clearly states that Tehran had avoided key questions regarding indications of a possible military dimension of its nuclear activities. As the Agency has stated, the failure of Iran to provide a clear response leaves no confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the programme. The IAEA has also stated that these are matters of serious concern that are critical to an assessment of a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear programme. Moreover, Iran has also failed to implement the relevant provisions of resolution 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007), and it has not suspended its enrichment-related activities and has started to develop new-generation centrifuges and related projects.
Therefore, in the light of the foregoing, the delegation of Croatia voted in favour of the draft resolution. We welcome its adoption. In addition, Croatia also welcomes the commitment of the Foreign Ministers of the six countries to continue all diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of the Russian Federation.
Russia supported the resolution just adopted. We are pleased to note that the serious work of the six countries and the incorporation of the opinions and proposals of a number of non-permanent members of the Council, led us to a text that is balanced and meets the tasks at hand.
The resolution is in fact a political signal to Iran of the need to cooperate with the international community by implementing the decisions of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Security Council. That signal should be understood in conjunction with the statement issued by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the six countries. It is important that the six countries be prepared to formulate additional proposals for talks, something from which Iran and the entire region can only benefit -- economically, politically and in terms of security.
We note the recognition by the Council and the six countries of Iran's legitimate rights under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We confirm that, once confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme is restored, that programme will be treated in the same way as that of any non-nuclear State party.
Another point of principle is that today's decision by the Council, like resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007), was taken under Chapter VII, Article 41, of the Charter of the United Nations. It therefore calls for no use of force whatsoever. There is a provision in the resolution that says that, if necessary, the Council will adopt further measures on an exclusively peaceful basis. We remain convinced that an effective solution to the Iranian nuclear problem can only be found in the political and diplomatic spheres.
Russia favours a search for fresh approaches to the talks. Together with partners from the six countries, we are prepared to facilitate a serious and concrete dialogue with Iran in order that all pending issues can be effectively resolved. We hope that Iran's leadership will carefully analyse the content of the present resolution and of the statement issued by the six Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and will choose to meet the requirements of the IAEA and the Security Council, continue active interaction with the Agency and help launch a negotiations process conducive to the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem.
It is important that the members of the group of six countries show a consistent willingness to engage in constructive cooperation with Iran. The need for that approach has been borne out by the content of our discussion today in the Council and by the results of the vote on the resolution.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council will remain seized of the matter.