7 September 2011 - Security Council - Iran - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I, too, should like to wish you, Sir, every success in your presidency, which is just beginning, and I should like also to thank Ambassador Puri and his team for their presidency during the month of August.
I should like to start by thanking Ambassador Osorio for his 90-day report. Iran remains at the core of our concerns. Currently the international community is focusing its attention more closely elsewhere — Syria and Libya — and Iran may believe that it can profit from that state of affairs. It has redoubled its efforts, it is increasing the number of centrifuges, and it is making ever more provocative statements. But we are not misled by all this, as was underscored by the President of the Republic last week. Iran’s military, nuclear and ballistic ambitions pose a growing threat.
For a number of years, Iran has pursued, in violation of international law, a policy of fait accompli. After having for 20 years carried out a clandestine nuclear programme, in violation of its safeguards agreement, Iran has refused to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and it continues, despite six Security Council resolutions, to enrich uranium, supposedly for peaceful purposes — in spite of the absence of any credible electronuclear programmes on its territory.
Alarming signs are increasing. The Iranian regime is releasing information in small doses so as to mitigate its impact and importance, but it is no less serious. Thus in February 2010 Iran began to enrich its uranium to 20 percent, thus bringing it even closer to the military threshold, supposedly with the sole goal of fuelling the Tehran Research Reactor. In June last, it stated that it planned to increase threefold its 20 per cent uranium production, and on 22 August it announced the establishment of the first centrifuges at the Qom facility — a facility whose existence was hidden and was only revealed by the international community in September 2009. Let us also recall that the site’s history and ultimate objectives remain unknown, as Iran refuses to provide the Agency with all of the clarifications that it is seeking.
Let us also recall that in 2009 Iran had announced that the Qom site was to produce low-enriched 3.5 per cent uranium. Now, however, we have been told that it will be used to produce 20 per cent enriched uranium. Finally, on 30 August, Iran declared that it was no longer interested in an offer concerning the Tehran Nuclear Reactor, because it had produced all of the 20 per cent uranium necessary to that reactor.
Fundamental questions therefore arise. Why is Iran continuing to produce 20 per cent uranium, given that the supply for the Tehran Research Reactor is already guaranteed? Why is it transferring production of 20 per cent enriched uranium to the Qom facility, a bunkerized installation designed for military use — an installation that was built secretly and that could be easily and quickly reconfigured so as to produce
uranium enriched at a rate higher than 20 per cent.
On all those issues, Iran owes the international community some answers. However, it has refused to tell the IAEA the full truth. In that context, the most recent report of the Agency, which we received on Friday, only intensifies our concerns. The Agency has indicated yet again that it is unable to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is being used for peaceful purposes. Above all, the Agency underscores the fact that it is increasingly concerned by the possible existence in Iran of secret activities, past or present — and I underscore the word "present" — related to a possible military aspect of the Iranian programme concerning the development of a nuclear payload for a ballistic missile. The Agency has indicated that it continues to receive data on that issue that are detailed and exhaustive. Furthermore, they are for the most part consistent and credible with regard to their technical precision, the time periods during which the activities took place, as well as the names of individuals and entities that were involved.
The serious and worrisome data on activities related to the design and fabrication of nuclear weapons are a serious concern for the international community. This is in addition to Iran’s continued undertaking of a ballistic and space programme, which jeopardizes the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We call on the Director General of the IAEA to continue ceaselessly his activities aimed at investigating this key issue.
In view of the challenge posed by the Iranian nuclear crisis, we have no choice but to remain unified and resolute. The sanctions that have been adopted by the international community have had an impact that we should not underestimate. They have already led to concrete results, as the final report of the Panel of Experts explains in detail. We must therefore continue rigorously to implement those sanctions in order to persuade the Iranian regime to negotiate and to return to the path of international law. That will require first of all a firm response to violations. These are multiple in nature and concern all categories of measures adopted by the Security Council. I am thinking in particular of the violations of the arms embargo. Iran is producing flows of arms, with, in particular, the active support of Syria, thus threatening the security of neighbouring countries as well as countries in already unstable regions.
Allow me to recall also that France, working together with the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, has already notified the Committee of the launching of the Rassad-1 satellite on 14 June last. That is a clear violation of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929 (2010). We must also enhance the implementation of sanctions when necessary. The Panel of Experts has issued several recommendations in that respect. We hope that the Committee will follow up and that in particular it will designate the individuals and entities involved in the violations. We therefore once again request that the final report of the Panel be published, in accordance with the ongoing practice of sanctions committees and for the legitimate reason of transparency with regard to other Member States.
As the heads of State and Government of the Group of Eight indicated in Deauville at the end of May, we will determine, on the basis of Iran’s conduct, the need to take additional measures, in keeping with the dual-track strategy that we have ceaselessly pursued jointly with our partners in the group of six States.
Iran affirms that its nuclear programme is civilian, but it produces uranium at levels that are increasingly near the military threshold in ever larger quantities and in bunkerized facilities. Iran affirms that its nuclear programme is civilian, but the IAEA itself affirms its growing concern about the possible military dimension of the Iranian programme.
In view of the serious facts pointed out by the Agency, we need specific actions, not empty words or promises that simply seek to gain time. Iran must demonstrate to us its resolve for sincere negotiations, to shed all possible light on the issues raised by the IAEA, and to respond to the repeated demands of the Council.
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