AP: Less than half of the United Nations’ member states have filed mandatory reports on how they are complying with sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the monitoring committee’s chairman said.
The Associated Press
By EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS (AP) Less than half of the United Nations’ member states have filed mandatory reports on how they are complying with sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the monitoring committee’s chairman said Thursday.
Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke told the Security Council that just 88 of the 192 nations have reported on compliance with the initial sanctions imposed Dec. 23, 2006, and only 72 on observance of a second round imposed March 24, 2007.
The council imposed a third round of sanctions March 3 to step up pressure on Iran to stop enrichment.
Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff urged all countries to submit the reports as soon as possible, saying that “the international community has good reason to be concerned about Iran’s activities to acquire nuclear weapons capability.”
“Iran is continuing with enrichment and heavy water related activities, is dramatically expanding the number of operating centrifuges and has even begun developing a new generation of centrifuges, testing one of them with nuclear fuel,” Wolff said.
He said a report last month from Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, a technical briefing by the ElBaradei’s International Atomic Energy Agency and an IAEA board meeting “presented troubling indications of Iran’s weaponization efforts.”
Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, saying its enrichment work is aimed only at producing fuel for nuclear reactors that would generate electricity and not at making more concentrated uranium usable in atomic warheads. It has refused to suspend enrichment.
Verbeke said only two new sanctions report had been filed with his committee in the last 90 days, one covering the first set of sanctions and the other the second round.
“We see that much still needs to be done,” said Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso, vice chairman of the sanctions committee.
He suggested the committee prepare a questionnaire that member states could fill out to help them fulfill their reporting requirements.
The sanctions include an asset freeze on 65 companies and individuals linked to Iran’s nuclear program, a travel ban on five people and bans on Iranian arms exports. They also bar supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs as well as goods that have both civilian and military uses.
The Security Council also authorized inspection of cargo carried by two Iranian companies if it is suspected of containing banned items, ordered financial monitoring of two banks with purported links to suspect Iranian nuclear activities, and urged all countries “to exercise vigilance” in granting new export credits or guarantees to Iran.
Wolff said the council must ensure “the most robust and comprehensive implementation possible of these resolutions.”
“We call on Iran to engage in constructive negotiations over the future of its nuclear program. Such negotiations, if successful, would have profound benefits for Iran and the Iranian people,” he said.
Wolff warned that if Iran refuses to cooperate, the council will “increase pressure.”