Thank you, Mr. President.
I would like to thank Ambassador Osorio for his briefing today and for his active and effective leadership of this critical Committee.
Mr. President, Iran’s nuclear program continues to threaten regional and international security. The latest news from Vienna on Iran's nuclear progress underscores this threat. According to the IAEA Director General, Iran completed installation of all centrifuges at the Fordow site, its previously-covert, hardened underground facility. This will significantly expand Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. Meanwhile, Iran continues its efforts to sanitize the Parchin site, which the IAEA has associated with high-explosives testing. Director-General Amano underscores that Iran's actions have "seriously undermined" the IAEA’s ability to conduct effective verification. He also has said that "no concrete results have been achieved in resolving the outstanding issues." Iran’s actions continue to contravene multiple resolutions by the Security Council and the IAEA, and demonstrate Iran’s ongoing defiance of the international community.
We welcome resumed dialogue between Iran and the IAEA, but these talks must produce results. IAEA officials are meeting today on a structured approach to resolving the outstanding questions regarding Iran’s nuclear program. We hope Iran will finally be forthcoming, but whether or not an agreement is reached, given Iran’s existing legal obligations, there are no excuses for Iran not to cooperate immediately with the IAEA on the substance of its concerns.
Iran cannot continue its approach of denial, deception and distraction. Now is the time to demand Iran's full cooperation, full compliance and full commitment to resolving outstanding questions about its nuclear program.
Given Iran’s ongoing breach of its obligations, the international community must make good on our commitment to fully and aggressively enforce the sanctions this Council has imposed. Full implementation of these measures will reduce Iran's ability to advance its nuclear program, support terrorism, and destabilize the region, thereby creating more time and space to pursue a comprehensive and negotiated solution through diplomacy.
We urge the Committee and the Panel of Experts to accelerate their critical work in 2013 and assist Member States as much as possible to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions. We further encourage the Committee and Panel to investigate thoroughly and respond vigorously to any report of sanctions violations. We also must all be mindful of our responsibility as Member States to share information with both the Committee and Panel to facilitate their work. Further, we reiterate that the Committee should implement recommendations contained in the Panel's May 2012 Final Report, including the imposition of targeted sanctions on individuals and companies that facilitate Iran's evasion of sanctions.
Mr. President, Iran's flagrant proliferation of conventional arms constitutes a growing threat and makes Committee's work all the more urgent. In recent weeks, Iranian officials have publicly acknowledged exporting military equipment, a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 1747’s prohibition on all arms exports from Iran. Despite the sanctions in place, Iran continues its well-documented pattern of arms exports to the Assad regime in Syria, which uses them to slaughter the Syrian people, and to militants in Gaza, who use them to terrorize Israeli civilians, as we saw just a few weeks ago.
The Committee and the Panel should intensify their focus on Iranian arms smuggling and find ways to stem this flow, and States in the region must also do their part. Two years ago, the Security Council included in resolution 1929 new provisions for states to inspect suspicious cargo in their territories and seize and dispose of banned items. Every state is obligated to stop Iran's arms smuggling across its territory, whether transshipment occurs by land, sea, or air. To comply with their international obligations, Iran's neighbors should increase the number of cargo inspections and deny overflight requests by aircraft suspected of carrying illicit cargo in violation of UN resolutions.
Iran's consistent refusal to meet its obligations and build international confidence in its nuclear activities constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security today. Our first priority remains to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The United States, working with our P-5+1 partners, is fully committed to achieving this goal through a comprehensive approach of pressure and engagement. We have not given up on diplomacy but Iran’s repeated obfuscations mean the international community will continue to apply increasing pressure aimed at changing the regime’s calculus.
A durable solution must roll back Iran's most alarming nuclear activities, including its enrichment and stockpiling of uranium to twenty percent and continued activity at the Fordow site. In exchange, the P-5+1 is willing to take reciprocal steps to address Iran's expressed concerns. We want, and are working toward, a negotiated solution, but the choice to engage constructively lies with the Iranian regime.
Its failure to respond to the P-5+1's offers would be a setback for Iran, the region, and the wider world. Working together, the international community must convince Iran to choose engagement, not isolation; transparency, not secrecy; and stability, not discord.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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