September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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Expected Council Action
In September, the Council is expecting a regular 90-day briefing from Ambassador Néstor Osorio (Colombia), the chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee (1737 Committee). At press time, no Council decision was expected.

Key Recent Developments
On 24 May, the IAEA issued its most recent report on Iran’s implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement and relevant Council resolutions. (A new quarterly report is expected prior to the briefing in September.) The report said that an October 2010 IAEA inventory, taken together with Iran’s estimate of material produced through 13 May, indicates that Iran has produced 4,105 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU). A similar estimate, combined with an IAEA inventory of uranium enriched to 20 percent, indicates that as of 21 May, 56.7 kilograms have been produced.

The report notes a number of other issues of concern, including:

  • Iran has continued to ignore requests for access to additional locations related to the manufacture of centrifuges and research and development activities, thereby limiting IAEA’s knowledge of the country’s enrichment activities;
  • Iran has still not provided a substantive response to requests for further information regarding the announced addition of ten new uranium-enrichment facilities (the construction of the first of these was apparently scheduled to begin around March of this year); and
  • the IAEA remains concerned about the possibility of past or current nuclear-related activities involving organisations related to the Iranian military, “including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”  

On 9 June, the Council adopted resolution 1984 and extended the mandate of the panel of experts of the 1737 Committee for one year. The resolution requested that the panel submit a midterm report to the Council by 9 December 2011, with a final report upon termination of its mandate. (The panel was also requested to provide the latter report a month in advance to the Committee in order to allow for a discussion.)

On 23 June, the chair of the Committee last briefed the Council. Osorio reported that in the 8 June consultations, the coordinator of the panel of experts provided the Committee with an overview of the main findings contained in its most recent report, submitted on 7 May. He also noted that on 16 June, the Committee discussed the panel’s recommendations in more detail, but that it continued to work toward finding consensus on how to implement the recommendations. (The report was leaked to the media in mid-May and reportedly states that Iran has violated the sanctions regime by repeatedly engaging in multiple conventional arms transfers to Syria. The Committee has not been able to reach agreement on when, or whether, the report should be published.)

In addition, Osorio acknowledged the Committee had been notified of three additional alleged violations of the ban on the procurement by Iran of arms and related materiel. The cases were still being investigated by the panel and considered by the Committee.

Human Rights-Related Developments
The new UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, began his duties on 1 August. Shaheed, the former foreign minister of the Maldives, appealed to the Iranian government to fully cooperate with his mandate as required by the UN Human Rights Council. He expressed the hope that Iran “will view my mandate as a secure and legitimate space in which to take steps to comply with its international human rights obligations, as well as an opportunity to address the areas of concern communicated to Iran during its interactions with the international community on human rights issues.” His first report will be submitted to the General Assembly this fall.

Key Issues
A key issue is whether by taking action of some kind the Council might be able to encourage improved Iranian engagement in substantive talks on its nuclear programme.

Underlying Problems
Key underlying problems are Iran’s refusal to abide by existing Council resolutions related to halting its nuclear enrichment programme and significant distrust by many in the international community about its aims.

Options for the Council include:

  • issuing a statement expressing concern over Iran’s continued lack of cooperation with the IAEA, as well as its disregard of previous Council decisions;
  • requesting the Committee to make additional designations of individuals or entities subject to the sanctions regime; or
  • taking no action at the present time.

Council and Broader Dynamics
Most Council members remain concerned about the continuation and possible acceleration of Iran’s nuclear programme. However, as has been the case for some months, even members willing to consider additional action against Iran do not view any new measures as likely in the near future. It appears most members are not eager to push for additional Council action at this time.

It is unclear how quickly the Committee may be able to reach consensus on implementing some or all of the recommendations contained in the last report of the panel of experts. Committee members likewise seem uncertain when agreement might be reached to publish the panel’s report.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1984 (9 June 2011) extended the mandate of the panel of experts that supports the Iran Sanctions Committee for one year.
  • S/RES/1929 (9 June 2010) imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran. The resolution reaffirmed past Council decisions, imposed new measures on Iran and established a panel of experts to assist the Iran Sanctions Committee in carrying out its work.
  • S/RES/1887 (24 September 2009) reaffirmed previous resolutions related to Iran’s nuclear activities.
  • S/RES/1835 (27 September 2008) reaffirmed commitment to a negotiated solution within the E3+3 dual-track framework and called upon Iran to comply with previous Council resolutions. (The E3+3 consists of China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US.)
  • S/RES/1803 (3 March 2008) reiterated existing measures against Iran and imposed additional ones.
  • S/RES/1747 (24 March 2007) established a ban on Iran’s arms exports and added names to the list of people and entities subject to assets freeze.
  • S/RES/1737 (23 December 2006) banned trade with Iran of certain items related to nuclear activities and weapon-delivery systems, imposed an asset freeze on certain persons and entities and established a sanctions committee.
  • S/RES/1696 (31 July 2006) demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA.

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6563 (23 June 2011) was the most recent briefing by the chair of the 1737 Committee.

Latest IAEA Report

Other Relevant Facts

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Ambassador Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

full forecast


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