I thank the 1737 Committee, under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Gary Quinlan, as well as the Panel of Experts for their continued work in supporting implementation of the Security Council’s Resolutions on Iran. The report may be dry but the work that the Committee does is very important.
On the 24 November, the E3+3 and Iran reached an important and encouraging milestone when a first stage agreement was reached on the nuclear issue. Since then, the first round of talks on a comprehensive agreement was held in Vienna in February where there was a willingness and a commitment from all sides to negotiate in good faith. Those talks continued in a positive atmosphere earlier this week.
The interim agreement was a significant step forward, and allows for time to negotiate a comprehensive solution. In January, the United States and European Union delivered the sanctions relief; and we welcome the latest IAEA report of 20 February which confirms that Iran has continued to implement the nuclear measures agreed under the Joint Plan of Action.
Meanwhile, and importantly, the bulk of sanctions remain in place, including all UN sanctions. We should continue to enforce these sanctions robustly to ensure that economic pressure continues to act as a peaceful incentive for Iran to negotiate a comprehensive solution.
Turning to the work of the Committee, we are concerned by breaches and possible breaches by Iran of its international obligations.
Reports that a cargo ship, the ‘Klos-C’, was found to have dozens of Iranian supplied rockets onboard in hidden containers is deeply worrying, including the fact that the final destination appears to have been the Gaza Strip. This is not the first time that we have seen reports of potential arms transfers to Gaza involving Iran. We would like to see the Panel of Experts investigate the circumstances of this case, identify individuals and entities responsible and make recommendations to the Committee as appropriate.
In January 2013 the Panel of Experts report clearly and unanimously concluded that Iran’s ballistic missile launched last year constituted a violation of Resolution 1929. The Committee contacted Iran twice on this issue but Iran has yet to respond. And, as this report recalls, Iran has also not replied to the Committee regarding a request for information on an intercepted arms shipment to Yemen. We call on Iran to engage with the Committee on such incidents.
We are concerned that Iran continues to provide substantial military and financial support to Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in contravention of the UN embargo on the export of weapons by Iran. We urge Member States to continue to enforce the sanctions regime and encourage Member States to act on and report all suspected violations of these sanctions.
We look forward to the Panel of Experts’ final report in May.
The United Kingdom is committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution with Iran on the nuclear issue. This will be a long term process. We do not expect instant results. But we remain fully committed to finding a diplomatic solution. The Geneva agreement and ongoing negotiations are the best opportunity we have for real and sustainable progress. All sides must continue to make every effort to succeed.