Briefing by the Chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee
Tomorrow afternoon (5 September) the chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), is scheduled to present his 90-day report to the Council on the work of the Committee. The last such briefing (S/PV.6999) was postponed from June to July due to divisions among Council members over the chair’s statement (for more background on this, please refer to our 12 July What’s in Blue story). Tomorrow’s report will therefore cover a relatively short period, but it seems the chair did not want the delay in June to impact the established reporting cycle.
The Committee appears to remain deadlocked over a number of outstanding issues. Since the last briefing, on 15 July, the Committee held two meetings to consider the recommendations of the latest report of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the Committee which was officially circulated on 5 June(S/2013/331). The report asserted that Iran was continuing to violate the sanctions regime both through illicit arms transfers and attempts to source prohibited items and technology for its nuclear programme and highlighted new methods used by Iran to circumvent the sanctions regime. It presented several recommendations for Committee action, including:
- designating an additional Iranian entity (Pentane Chemistry Industries);
- providing additional information and guidance to member states on a number of issues to improve implementation;
- issuing guidance regarding the timing and content of member states’ reports to the Committee;and
- addressing discrepancies between designated individuals and those who now hold the positions identified in those designations (this relates in particular to high-ranking members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps).
While several Council members support these recommendations, including the P3 and like-minded countries, others, led by Russia, argue that in light of the 4 August inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani, it is not the right time to impose additional measures and that the Council should first wait and see how the new government behaves.
The Committee also remains divided over how to react to the July 2012 Great Prophet exercise (which the PoE has concluded was a violation of Council resolution 1929) as well as the incident report relating to an arms shipment intercepted by Yemen in January. Some Council members have argued that the Committee should wait for Iran’s response to these allegations before taking any action. However, despite having been invited to do so, Iran has yet to present any response to the Committee.
There is also continuing disagreement over whether the Committee should react to statements made by Iranian officials on illegal weapons transfers to Gaza and Hezbollah as referred to in the chair’s most recent 90-day report. The PoE has presented additional information on this to the Committee based on information received from member states, but this has not contributed to resolving differences among Council members.
In addition, the Committee has been discussing whether to enter into an agreement with Interpol on the issuance of special notices for individuals and entities subject to sanctions. Most of the other sanctions committees collaborate with Interpol on such notices whose purpose is to alert national law enforcement authorities about targeted sanctions imposed by the Council. It appears, however, that Russia and possibly other Council members are opposed to establishing such cooperation with Interpol in the case of Iran.
The continuing divisions in the Committee are likely to be reflected in the statements made by Council members which normally follow the chair’s briefing. Members may also refer to the latest report on Iran from the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency which was submitted to the Council on 28 August (S/2013/513). The report states that no further talks with Iran have taken place since the previous report was issued in May and that there has been no progress with regard to clarifying unresolved issues. It also informs the Council that a new round of talks is planned for 27 September.
The Committee’s next meeting is expected to be held in October.