Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Iran and Resolution 1737, in the Security Council Chamber

Susan E. Rice
United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
March 10, 2009


Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you, Ambassador Takasu, for your report as chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee. We’re grateful for the leadership you have already shown in the opening months of your term as chairman.

Today we mark the Security Council’s first session on Iran since the release of the IAEA Director General’s most recent report on Iran—a report that makes it clear that Iran is still not complying with its international nuclear obligations, including resolutions of this Council. Today’s meeting is also the first time that the Council has discussed Iran since the Sanctions Committee examined the case of a merchant vessel found shipping arms-related materiel from Iran to Syria.

Let me focus on three key issues:

First, the latest IAEA report contains troubling findings that deserve the Council’s sustained attention. As the United States and other members of a united P5+1 noted recently in Vienna, we echo the concerns expressed by the IAEA Director General’s report—including about remaining issues that give rise to concerns that Iran's nuclear program has military dimensions. Once again, the IAEA has documented Iran’s ongoing refusal to comply with the Security Council’s demands, including the clear requirement that Iran suspend its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities.

Iran also still refuses to respond constructively to IAEA questions about its past work to develop a nuclear-weapons capability. The United States urges its fellow Security Council members not only to take note of the IAEA’s serious findings, but also to vigorously support the IAEA in its continuing investigations of these critical matters.

Second, there is the question of a new violation of Security Council resolutions on Iran that was brought to the Committee’s attention last month. We’ve carefully studied the report of the inspection of the “M/V Monchegorsk,” which was transporting arms-related materiel from Iran to Syria. The Iran Sanctions Committee concluded that this transfer violated Security Council Resolution 1747. The United States supports the steps that the Committee has already taken to address this violation, and we hope that the Committee will take appropriate action under its mandate.

Finally, the United States believes the Iran Sanctions Committee has an essential role to play, even as we offer Iran a new opportunity to increase international confidence in its words and actions. But in light of Iran’s continued failure to comply with its obligations, the Iran Sanctions Committee should redouble its efforts to ensure full and robust implementation of Security Council resolutions 1737, 1747, and 1803.

Mr. President, as this Committee knows, the United States is currently engaged in a review of its policies toward Iran. As President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, I, and other leaders of my government have noted, the United States will not waver in its determination to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.

But the United States also sees an opportunity —a chance for the Iranian government to demonstrate that it is willing to unclench its fist and begin a serious, responsible discussion about a range of issues. President Obama has already said that we are prepared for principled engagement with Iran, and we will ensure that such engagement is consistent with the decisions of this body. Iran has very real responsibilities to fulfill. The international community must stand together, firm in ensuring that they are met.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.


PRN: 2009/044