U.N. Security Council member nations on Tuesday called for stricter implementation of punitive measures adopted in an effort to pressure Iran to abandon its disputed nuclear activities, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, March 21).
Iran has not adequately addressed suspicions that its nuclear program is geared toward weapons development, and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano recently said he could still not confirm Tehran's contention that its atomic activities are strictly peaceful in nature, U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Rosemary DiCarlo said (see GSN, March 7).
"This conclusion is cause for grave concern for this council and for the international community at large," the official said. The Security Council's sanctions panel "should be prepared to act quickly ... to take additional steps in line with its program of work to tighten sanctions enforcement," she said.
"Our goal remains to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We remain committed to working closely with our partners in this council and the international community toward that goal," DiCarlo said.
French Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Martin Briens said Iran has continued to breach Security Council sanctions resolutions imposed over the Middle Eastern nation's atomic efforts. The body has adopted four such measures to date.
German Ambassador Peter Wittig said implementation "could be improved" by providing governments with more detailed information on existing penalties and their enforcement.
"Iran continues to pursue (uranium) enrichment activities and is, once again, in violation of its international obligations," he said.
"We remain committed to finding a long-lasting peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear program," Wittig said. "We call on Iran to reconsider its intransigent attitude to return to the negotiation table in good faith."
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his nation carries out "all elements of the sanctions regime and we think all the members of the international community need to strictly implement Security Council resolutions to that respect" (Agence France-Presse/Spacedaily.com, March 22).
The head of the Security Council's Iran sanctions panel on Tuesday declared two more purported breaches of the sanctions. The cases related to the body's ban on transfers of enrichment-, reprocessing and heavy-water components to Iran.
“While the increase in the number of reported sanctions violations is a matter of serious concern, member states’ continuing readiness to report these violations is positive and should be encouraged,” Turkish Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan said in an update provided by the committee every 90 days. “Reports of sanctions violations by member states represent an important source of information regarding patterns of procurement and means of circumventing sanctions.”
Panel specialists have looked into each of the new alleged violations and verified the situation "with the exemplary cooperation of the reporting state," Apakan said (U.N. release, March 22).
China on Wednesday called for further discussions aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Iran, Reuters reported.
"China believes as long as all sides remain patient, flexible and pragmatic and take proactive measures to enhance mutual confidence, dialogue and negotiation will make headway," the Xinhua News Agency quoted Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Li Baodong as saying (Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters, March 22).
Meanwhile, an Iranian aircraft stopped in Turkey on Sunday as it flew to Syria was transferring various conventional weapons in violation of U.N. sanctions, RIA Novosti reported. Contraband turned up in a search of the plane included launchers, mortars, rifles and explosives, according to the Turkish newspaper Milliyet (RIA Novosti, March 22).
Turkey confiscated the materials and the aircraft flew back to Iran, the Associated Press reported (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, March 23).
The Obama administration should impose penalties against Chinese entities and other firms dealing with Iran under a law enacted last year, Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a letter on Tuesday (see GSN, July 2, 2010; U.S. Senator Pat Toomey release, March 22).