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Ambassador Rice at U.N. Security Council on Iran

Ambassador Rice at U.N. Security Council on Iran, Resolution 1737

December 10, 2010

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Briefing on Iran and Resolution 1737, December 10, 2010

Let me begin by also thanking Ambassador Nishida for his briefing today and for his own and Japan's exemplary leadership of the 1737 Committee over the past two years. The Committee has accomplished a great deal, and you have set a very high standard for your successor to live up to.

Six months ago, almost to the day, this Council adopted Resolution 1929 in response to Iran's continued refusal to comply with its international nuclear obligations. Since then, Iran's noncompliance with its obligations to the Security Council and under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has persisted. So has its lack of full cooperation with the IAEA. And so, as we have just heard, have its numerous violations of Security Council resolutions.

Allow me to make three brief points on the current situation and appropriate next steps.

First, unfortunately, when it comes to Iran's actions, not much has changed since we last met. Iran continues to violate its obligations to the IAEA and the Security Council.

The IAEA Director-General's latest report on Iran, released just a few weeks ago, again underscores Iran's continued refusal to comply with its international nuclear obligations and to cooperate fully with the IAEA. Most notably, the report underscores Iran's ongoing uranium enrichment at 3.5 percent and near-20 percent levels. The report also details Iran's continued construction of a heavy-water research reactor, its refusal to permit the IAEA the access it needs to answer longstanding questions about the Qom enrichment facility, and its non-response to the questions around a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. In sum, the IAEA's latest report records Iran's continued defiance of its international obligations and shows that Iran has yet to take meaningful steps required by this Council and called for by the IAEA Board of Governors.

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Second, we must continue to maintain the pressure on Iran to change course. All member states have an obligation to fully implement Security Council obligations. We urge those that have not yet done so to report to the Committee on their national implementation efforts as soon as possible. These Security Council resolutions affirm obligations on Iran with a clear objective: to resolve the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear activities.

The 1737 Committee and the recently constituted Panel of Experts will help maintain the pressure on Iran by monitoring and improving the implementation and enforcement of the Iran sanctions regime. In particular, we urge the Committee, with the Panel's support, to investigate thoroughly all reported sanctions violations. We commend Nigeria for having seized Iranian arms exported in violation of UN sanctions. We also commend Italy for seizing items that Syria was attempting to procure illicitly from Iran. Investigations into these incidents can help us better understand and to halt Iran's arms smuggling and proliferation networks in violation of this Council's resolutions.

We are pleased that the Panel of Experts is now operational. The Panel is an exceptionally well-qualified team, and we expect that it will significantly improve our ability to monitor and tighten enforcement.

Finally, let me reiterate my government's commitment to a dual-track strategy of both pressure and engagement to convince Iran's leadership to change course. Earlier this week, we held frank discussions and dialogue between Iran and our E3+3 partners. We aim to continue the careful, phased process of building confidence between Iran and the international community. As we have said before, we recognize Iran's rights, but we insist that Iran fulfill the obligations that come along with those rights. Iran's choice remains clear: if it builds international confidence and respects its obligations, we will reciprocate. But if Iran refuses, its isolation will only grow. We will base our actions on Iran's degree of cooperation. We look forward to continued talks in late January to discuss practical ideas for a way forward to resolve our core concerns.

We remain committed to working closely with our partners in this Council and the international community to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Thank you.


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