Update Report

Posted 8 June 2010
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Update Report No. 2: Iran

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Expected Council Action
The Council seems likely to adopt very shortly a resolution that would impose additional sanctions on Iran. However, a vote seems probable since unanimous support appears unlikely.

At time of writing it seemed likely that Council members would hold a private meeting to debate the final text with adoption perhaps likely on Wednesday, 9 June.

Key Recent Developments
Negotiations among the P5 were ongoing for several months. In late May the P5 shared the draft with the full Council. (See our June Monthly Forecast for additional background information.) Further negotiations followed and it seems that a number of amendments to the draft were agreed. However, several delegations seem to have resisted being drawn into the negotiations—an indication that they would be unlikely to vote in favour. The draft resolution was “put into blue” by the cosponsors on 4 June and is expected to come to a vote soon.

On 31 May, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Iran’s implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement and relevant Council resolutions. As many expected, the report confirmed Iran’s continued noncompliance with Council resolutions related to the country’s nuclear programme.

The report said Iran has not suspended its enrichment activities and that a total of 2,427 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) has been produced. (An IAEA inventory established that a total of 1,808 kilograms of LEU had been produced as of 22 November 2009, with an additional 619 kilograms produced by 1 May.) This is more than double the 1,200 kilograms of LEU that Iran apparently agreed to ship out of the country in a fuel swap plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey on 17 May. According to the report, the IAEA also remains concerned about possible undisclosed nuclear activities including some related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. In addition the report says that Iran has continued enriching uranium to a higher level of about 20 percent at one of its facilities and has announced that the construction of new nuclear sites is underway, but has not provided the IAEA with necessary information on the new facilities.

Key Issues
It seems at this stage that the only issue is whether Brazil and Turkey (and perhaps Lebanon) will maintain their opposition to imposing new sanctions on Iran. Brazil and Turkey made considerable efforts to obtain agreement on a fuel swap plan and believe that it is a mistake to impose additional sanctions on Iran after Iran demonstrated willingness to negotiate on this matter.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • adopting a resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran that includes amendments proposed by elected members; or
  • some compromise involving the adoption of a new sanctions resolution but in a manner which would allow some additional time to see if the fuel swap plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey might lead to substantive negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme (at this stage this looks like a much less likely option).

Council and Broader Dynamics
It appears that Council members are ready to proceed to a vote on a new sanctions resolution. The elements of the draft seem to be largely in line with the text agreed to earlier by the E3+3.

The annexes of the resolution (which will identify additional individuals and entities subject to travel bans and asset freezes) were not finally attached to the draft at time of writing. However, members seem to anticipate that the resolution will now be brought to a vote quickly.

While some elected members initially seemed to be cautious, it now seems Brazil and Turkey continue to be actively opposed to the resolution. (It is unclear whether Lebanon, with its unique domestic situation, will support or oppose the resolution.) Most Council members appear prepared to adopt the resolution without further delay. The three previous sanctions resolutions against Iran (S/RES/1803 of 3 March 2008, S/RES/1747 of 24 March 2007 and S/RES/1737 of 23 December 2006) were approved with no opposing votes. However, in the case of resolution 1803 in 2008 Indonesia abstained.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • 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.
  • 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.

Selected Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6280 (4 March 2010) was the last briefing by the chair of the 1737 Sanctions Committee.

Latest IAEA Report

Other Relevant Facts

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Yukio Takasu (Japan)