"The UK is committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear issue"

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

Statement by Ambassador Tatham of the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council Briefing from the Iran 1737 Sanctions Committee

Madam President,

I thank the 1737 Committee, under the Chairmanship 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.

Negotiations between the E3+3 and Iran on a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear programme are reaching a decisive moment. The E3+3 remain strongly committed to agreement of a comprehensive settlement before 24 November and talks will continue here in New York over the coming days.

Some progress has been made, and we believe a deal is possible. But it is now imperative that Iran show greater flexibility on the future scope of its nuclear programme, in particular on enrichment. Iran must also engage more actively with the IAEA to address concerns over the possible military dimensions of its nuclear activities.

In parallel, the United States and European Union have continued to deliver the sanctions relief set out in the Joint Plan of Action.

But, whilst negotiations continue, we should be clear: the bulk of sanctions, including all UN sanctions and the obligations on UN member states that arise from the relevant Security Council resolutions, remain in place and must continue to be enforced in full. This acts as an incentive for Iran to negotiate seriously towards a comprehensive agreement. We must continue to implement and enforce these sanctions robustly.

Madam President,

Turning to the work of the Committee, we remain concerned by Iran’s clear breaches of its international obligations, as well as its continued failure to respond to the concerns of the international community represented by this Committee.

The interdiction on 31 March of a vessel carrying a cargo of conventional arms in the Red Sea remains a matter of concern. The Panel of Experts, after a thorough investigation, concluded that this shipment was, and I quote “a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of Resolution 1747”. We urge Iran to reply to the Committee’s 9 July letter seeking comments on the incident. We also note Iran’s continued failure to respond to previous requests for information, on a carbon fibre interdiction, ballistic missile launches, and an intercepted arms shipment to Yemen. We call on Iran to engage with the Committee in earnest on such incidents.

This Committee must remain active and diligent in its work to enforce the sanctions on Iran. We therefore welcome the Committee’s provision of guidance to Member States and international organisations on the current sanctions regime, and the outreach work carried out by the Panel.

Madam President,

The United Kingdom is committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear issue. The ongoing discussions on a comprehensive agreement are the best opportunity in recent years to achieve this. We will continue to make every effort to find a comprehensive agreement and we look to Iran to do the same.

Thank you.