Speech

'The UK remains committed to finding a negotiated and lasting solution to the Iran nuclear issue'

Statement by Ambassador Tatham of the UK Mission to the UN to the Iran 1737 Sanctions Committee Briefing

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Ambassador Tatham

Mr President,

I thank the 1737 Committee, under the leadership of Ambassador Quinlan, as well as the Panel of Experts for their continued work in supporting implementation of the Security Council’s Resolutions on Iran. The United Kingdom pays warm tribute to Ambassador Quinlan’s efforts during the period in which he has chaired this committee.

As is well known, following negotiations in Vienna in November between the E3+3 and Iran on a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, agreement was reached to continue negotiations and extend the terms of the interim nuclear deal until the end of June 2015. We aim to have a political framework for a final deal as soon as possible.

The recent Vienna talks were tough and intensive but progress was made. Both sides are committed to a deal, which we still believe is possible. Extension does not, and must not, mean a pause; we have momentum towards a deal and must capitalise on that. Further talks have also just concluded in Geneva to continue exploring with Iran ways to bridge some of the significant gaps which remain. Iran needs to show greater flexibility on its programme and take some tough decisions if we are to achieve a lasting deal. In return the E3+3 is willing to give substantial sanctions relief that would have a positive impact on Iran’s economy.

As this report reminds us, and as the Chair of the Committee has just reminded us in his remarks, while negotiations continue, the bulk of sanctions – including all UN sanctions and the obligations on UN member states arising from Security Council resolutions – remain in place and fully in force.

Mr President,

Turning to the work of the Committee, the United Kingdom remain concerned by breaches by Iran of its international obligations, and by Iran’s failure to respond to the concerns of the international community represented by this Committee.

We note in particular Iran’s continued failure to respond to previous requests for information on the interdiction on 31 March of a vessel carrying a cargo of conventional arms in the Red Sea. We urge Iran to reply to the Committee’s 9 July letter seeking comments on the incident. We also urge Iran to respond to the Committee’s 27 March letter in relation to a carbon fibre interdiction. We continue to call on Iran to engage with the Committee on such incidents.

This Committee must continue its work to implement and enforce the relevant Security Council sanctions measures on Iran robustly. We therefore welcome the Committee’s guidance and assistance to Member States and international organisations; and the range of activities and investigations carried out by the Panel of Experts. Notwithstanding the progress of nuclear negotiations, Member States should continue to be vigilant and willing to report any violations in accordance with the requirements set out in the Resolutions.

Mr President,

The United Kingdom remains committed to finding a negotiated and lasting solution to the Iran nuclear issue. A comprehensive deal with Iran is in all our interests and the ongoing discussions provide the best opportunity in years to achieve this. For the international community it would provide reassurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes as well as a safer region at a time of great unrest and instability. For Iran, it would mean the ability to trade freely with the world again and to reset relationships with the international community.

Thank you.

Published 18 December 2014