UN Security Council Resolution 1696
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As concern mounted over the Iranian nuclear development program, EU countries and the US tried to engage Iran with a package of incentives to cease nuclear enrichment as well as implied and overt threats to impose sanctions. Iran had developed a uranium enrichment program without informing IAEA inspectors of the existence of that program. Centrifuges were manufactured in a "watch factory" in Natanz. Likewise had begun building a heavy water reactor at Arak that could be used as a breeder reactor to generate fissionable plutonium. Iran claimed that its nuclear program was intended to generate electricity in order to meet a critical shortage of fossil fuels, but Iranian proven oil and gas reserves are among the largest in the world and gasoline is heavily subsidized in Iran.
Iran refused to provide a straightforward reply to the the package of benefits proposed by the EU, saying it would reply August 22. The fear expressed by the US was that Iran would continue to delay and "negotiate," all the while continuing enrichment of uranium until it had sufficient quantities and purity to allow construction of nuclear weapons. Led by the US, the UN Security Council passed Security Council Resolution 1696, calling for Iran to cease nuclear enrichment activities by September 1, 2006. I Ominously, the IAEA also reported that Iran was denying inspectors access to some facilities. The resolution was passed under authority of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which deals with threats to world peace. Failure to comply with this resolution mandates action by the Security Council such as sanctions or even armed intervention. However, the deadline passed, Iran ignored the deadline and continued enrichment, and the UN appeared to be powerless to act. Iran might retaliate against sanctions by ceasing the export of oil, which would raise the already high price of that commodity. US calls for action were blocked by other security council members, particularly France, Russia and China, who insisted on further negotiations.
The resolution does not explicitly mention the breeder reactor at Arak.
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United Nations S/RES/1566 (2004)
31 July 2006
Resolution 1596 (2006)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 5500th meeting, on
31 July 2006
The Security Council,
Recalling the Statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March 2006,
Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,
"Noting with serious concern the many reports of the IAEA Director General and resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors related to Iran's nuclear programme, reported to it by the IAEA Director General, including IAEA Board Resolution GOV/2006/14,
Noting with serious concern that the IAEA Director General's report of
27 February 2006 (GOV/2006/15) lists a number of outstanding issues and concerns on Iran's nuclear programme, including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension, and that the IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,
Noting with serious concern the IAEA Director General's report of 28 April 2006 (GOV/2006/27) and its findings, including that, after more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran's nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern, and that the IAEA is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,
Noting with serious concern that, as confirmed by the IAEA Director General's report of 8 June 2006 (GOV/2006/38) Iran has not taken the steps required of it by the IAEA Board of Governors, reiterated by the Council in its statement of 29 March and which are essential to build confidence, and in particular Iran's decision to resume enrichment-related activities, including research and development, its recent expansion of and announcements about such activities, and its continued suspension of co-operation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol,
Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and noting that such a solution would benefit nuclear non-proliferation elsewhere,
Welcoming the statement by the Foreign Minister of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy, on behalf of the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, in Paris on 12 July 2006 (S/2006/573),
Concerned by the proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme, mindful of its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and being determined to prevent an aggravation of the situation,
Acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to make mandatory the suspension required by the IAEA,
1. Calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions,
2. Demands, in this context, that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA,
3. Expresses the conviction that such suspension as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the requirements set out by the IAEA Board of Governors, would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran's nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes, underlines the willingness of the international community to work positively for such a solution, encourages Iran, in conforming to the above provisions, to re-engage with the international community and with the IAEA, and stresses that such engagement will be beneficial to Iran,
4. Endorses, in this regard, the proposals of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union's High Representative, for a long-term comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme (S/2006/521),
5. Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programmes,
6. Expresses its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA process, strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors, commends and encourages the Director General of the IAEA and its Secretariat for their ongoing professional and impartial efforts to resolve all remaining outstanding issues in Iran within the framework of the Agency, underlines the necessity of the IAEA continuing its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme, and calls upon Iran to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations,
7. Requests by 31 August a report from the Director General of the IAEA primarily on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in this resolution, as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board and with the above provisions of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration,
8. Expresses its intention, in the event that Iran has not by that date complied with this resolution, then to adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with this resolution and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary,
9. Confirms that such additional measures will not be necessary in the event that Iran complies with this resolution,
10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
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