Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Briefing on Iran and the 1737 Committee, in the Security Council Chamber

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
March 4, 2010


Thank you, Mr. President. Allow me to begin by congratulating you on assuming the presidency of the Council and thanking Ambassador Araud and the delegation from France for their able leadership last month.  And thank you once again, Ambassador Takasu, for your comprehensive report and briefing today.  But unfortunately, since we last met on this issue, our concerns about Iran’s nuclear program have only deepened.

First, the IAEA Director General's latest report once again concludes that Iran is not complying with its IAEA and Security Council obligations—obligations that are essential to building confidence in Iran’s assertion that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

Specifically, the Director General confirmed that Iran has not suspended its enrichment- and heavy-water-related programs, as required by this Council.  Instead, Iran has declared that its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) has increased and that it is moving quickly to produce near 20 percent LEU.  Iran has also announced that it intends to build 10 new enrichment plants, but it has not offered the IAEA any information about their location or design, as required by Iran's safeguards agreement.  Moreover, Iran continues to make significant progress in its heavy-water-related activities, particularly with the continued construction of the IR-40 reactor, but Iran has denied the IAEA’s request to sample heavy water that the IAEA discovered in Iran.

The Director General also recounts several key issues and unanswered questions about a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program, and he provides troubling information about the timing of Iran's decision to begin work on its previously secret enrichment plant at Qom. Iran's actions fail to provide confidence in the nature of its nuclear program and, importantly, caused the Director General to declare that the IAEA cannot confirm that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” We particularly regret that Iran has not taken advantage of an IAEA proposal to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor in a one-time exchange for 1,200 metric kilograms of Iran’s low-enriched uranium.  By rejecting this generous deal, Iran is missing yet another opportunity to build the confidence of the international community in its assertions that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, and it has deprived the Iranian people of assured access to life-saving medical treatments. 

Unfortunately, these ongoing violations and this behavior show a continued pattern of disregard by the Government of Iran for the clear and serious concerns over its nuclear program expressed by the international community.

Second, Iran's continued refusal to provide meaningful responses to the 1737 Committee's requests for information is further evidence of Iran's disregard for the obligations imposed by this Council.  We commend the Committee's continued diligence in carrying out its important mandate, even in the face of repeated sanctions violations by certain UN member states.  We were pleased that the Committee issued a second implementation-assistance notice, urging all member states to be especially alert for additional violations involving similar circumstances, such as those involving the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines or transfers from Iran to Syria. That notice also reminded member states that the Committee has the authority to impose additional targeted sanctions on entities that facilitate sanctions violations or evasion.  And we encourage the Committee to continue to explore options for responding to violations—particularly on how to most effectively respond to repeated sanctions violations.

As my government has noted before, the effectiveness of Security Council resolutions depends on follow-up and enforcement by the Committee, the Security Council, and all member states. As such, it is our responsibility to be vigilant in ensuring that these sanctions are rigorously enforced and that thorough, comprehensive investigations are conducted when there is evidence of violations.

The United States remains firmly committed to a peaceful resolution to international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.  Over the past year and more, the United States has reached out to Iran in unprecedented ways, repeatedly demonstrating our commitment to work towards a diplomatic solution based on mutual respect.  And yet, Iran has yet to take steps to build confidence and honor the commitments it has made.

As Security Council members, we must all continue to stand firm in our conviction that Iran must comply with its international obligations. Four years, four years have passed since the IAEA referred this serious situation to the Security Council.  In that time, the P5+1 has dedicated itself to a dual-track approach to place a clear choice before Iran so that it can choose a better way forward.  And the United States remains committed to this strategy.

Mr. President, in light of Iran's continued noncompliance with its obligations, this Council must consider further measures to hold the Government of Iran accountable.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2010/035