21 December 2011 - Security Council - Iran/Committee 1737
Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would first of all like to thank Ambassador Osorio for his quarterly report and for his efficient and dedicated chairmanship of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006).
The Security Council has been seized of an unprecedented report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The report (S/2011/695, annex), which was published on 8 November, has only deepened France’s concern about the Iranian nuclear programme.
It contains a remarkably detailed summary of all of the information made available to the Agency over the past decade on the possible military aspect of the Iranian nuclear programme. As the Agency has noted, its information derives from many sources, including more than 10 of its member States and information provided by Iran itself.
The IAEA notes its serious concern and details Iranian activities that are “specific to nuclear weapons” (S/2011/695, annex, para. 44).
Those activities cover all areas necessary for nuclear-weapon production; including the production of fissile material, work on uranium metal components, explosives, hydrodynamic experiments, modelling and calculations, neutron triggers, preparations for nuclear testing and integration into a ballistic missile.
Those activities occurred before the end of 2003 under the framework of a structured programme.
However, the Agency emphasizes that some of those activities may still be ongoing. The Agency also recalls that Iran has never really cooperated in responding to its concerns and that, in 2008, it broke off all dialogue with the Agency on that issue.
Other Iranian announcements reported by the IAEA have only worsened our concerns: the announcement, in June, of the threefold increase in enrichment capacity to 20 per cent and the installation, in August, of the first centrifuge in the Qom plant — an instillation now intended to produce enriched uranium at the level of 20 per cent U-235, rather than the 3.5 per cent Iran announced in 2009. In October, there was a transfer of the first fissile material at that same Qom facility — an installation that, I would recall, was built in secret and includes bunkers adapted for military use. It is a plant that could easily and swiftly be reconfigured to produce uranium at a rate higher than 20 per cent. In that context, we are also concerned by the Agency’s reports that several kilograms of natural uranium metal have inexplicably disappeared.
All of those activities, together with Iran’s intensive pursuit of a ballistic programme, paint an overall picture that leaves very little doubt as to its intentions.
As emphasized by Mr. Alain Juppé, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, all of that information shows that Iran has sought, and is very likely pursuing its efforts, to develop a nuclear weapon under the guise of a supposedly peaceful civilian nuclear programme.
The IAEA member States, the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and, beyond that, the entire international community must take action in response to the seriousness of the facts reported by the Agency.
In Vienna, on 18 November, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted, with an unprecedented majority, a resolution (GOV/2011/69) expressing its deep and increasing concern and urging Iran to shed light, as soon as possible, on all of its activities relative to a military programme by cooperating unreservedly with the IAEA. The Board requested the Director General of the Agency to report on the implementation of that resolution at its next meeting, in March 2012.
In that context, I welcome the fact that all members of the Council who are also present in Vienna voted in favour of the Board of Governors’ resolution. Once again, that action shows that the international community is united and determined not to tolerate abuse of the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as recognized under the NPT.
Moreover, we must continue to rigorously implement the sanctions adopted by the Security Council. In doing so we must first issue a firm response to the numerous reported violations.
We must also enhance the implementation of sanctions when necessary, pursuant to the mandate given by the Council. The Panel of Experts has issued several recommendations. The Committee must follow up on them and, in particular, designate the individuals and entities involved in any violations. Once again, we ask that the final report of the Panel be published in accordance with the ongoing practice of Sanctions Committees.
Should Iran persist in its refusal to comply with its international obligations and to cooperate seriously, we are prepared, together with all countries that agree to do so, to adopt sanctions of an unprecedented scope.
The Iranian regime is locking itself into a dangerous spiral from which there is no way out — one of isolation, of repression and of violating international law.
Apart from nuclear issues, the several serious events that have occurred in recent weeks, which have been denounced by the international community, only heighten our concerns. In particular, I am thinking of the Iranian plot to carry out an attack on United States soil, revealed in October, and the unacceptable attack on 29 November against the British Embassy in Tehran, in violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The seriousness of the situation and the Iranian regime’s deaf ear to the many negotiation offers made by the E3+3 obliges the international community to show unprecedented resolve and to mobilize as never before. Faced with that challenge, we have no choice but to remain united and firm. We urge Iran to heed the message of the IAEA and the international community and to at last concretely demonstrate its willingness to sincerely negotiate and as quickly as possible clarify all issues raised by the IAEA.