Jun 9, 2010

Remarks by the President on UN Security Council Resolution on Iran Sanctions

Following this morning's vote on the UN Security Council Resolution on Iran sanctions, we thought you might be interested in reading the President's remarks and this fact sheet. You can also read an explanation of the vote by U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice here.




Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                          June 9, 2010







Diplomatic Reception Room


12:44 P.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Today, the United Nations Security Council voted overwhelmingly to sanction Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligations.  This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community's commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.


For years, the Iranian government has failed to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It has violated its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency.  It has ignored U.N. Security Council resolutions.  And while Iran's leaders hide behind outlandish rhetoric, their actions have been deeply troubling.  Indeed, when I took office just over 16 months ago, Iranian intransigence was well-established.  Iran had gone from zero centrifuges spinning to several thousand, and the international community was divided about how to move forward.


Yet this day was not inevitable.  We made clear from the beginning of my administration that the United States was prepared to pursue diplomatic solutions to address the concerns over Iranian nuclear programs.  I extended the offer of engagement on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect.  And together with the United Kingdom, with Russia, China, and Germany, we sat down with our Iranian counterparts.  We offered the opportunity of a better relationship between Iran and the international community –- one that reduced Iran's political isolation, and increased its economic integration with the rest of the world.  In short, we offered the Iranian government the prospect of a better future for its people, if -– and only if –- it lives up to its international obligations.


     So there is no double standard at play here.  We've made it clear, time and again, that we respect Iran's right, like all countries, to access peaceful nuclear energy.  That is a right embedded in the NPT -– a treaty that has to serve as the safeguard against a world in which more nations acquire the world's most deadly weapons, and international law is treated as an empty promise.  That NPT treaty was signed by all the parties involved, and it is a treaty that the United States has sought to strengthen from the day I took office, including through our own commitments to reduce America's nuclear arsenal.


So let me repeat:  We recognize Iran's rights.  But with those rights come responsibilities.  And time and again, the Iranian government has failed to meet those responsibilities.  Iran concealed a nuclear enrichment facility in Qom that raised serious questions about the nature of its program.  Iran further violated its own obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment.  Instead, they're enriching up to 20 percent.  It has failed to comply fully with IAEA's requirements.  Indeed, Iran is the only NPT signatory in the world -- the only one -- that cannot convince the IAEA that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes.


That's why the international community was compelled to impose these serious consequences.  These are the most comprehensive sanctions that the Iranian government has faced.  They will impose restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and, for the first time, its conventional military.  They will put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling, and crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.  They target individuals, entities, and institutions -– including those associated with the Revolutionary Guard –- that have supported Iran's nuclear program and prospered from illicit activities at the expense of the Iranian people.  And we will ensure that these sanctions are vigorously enforced, just as we continue to refine and enforce our own sanctions on Iran alongside our friends and our allies.


The strong resolution that was passed today benefited from strong international support.  In voting for it, we were joined by nations from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America -– including Russia and China.  And these sanctions show the united view of the international community that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is in nobody's interest, and that nations must be held accountable for challenging the global non-proliferation regime.  The Iranian government must understand that true security will not come through the pursuit of nuclear weapons.  True security will come through adherence to international law and the demonstration of its peaceful intent.


We know that the Iranian government will not change its behavior overnight, but today's vote demonstrates the growing costs that will come with Iranian intransigence.  And I want to be clear:  These sanctions do not close the door on diplomacy.  Iran continues to have the opportunity to take a different and better path.  I would like nothing more than to reach the day when the Iranian government fulfills its international obligations -– a day when these sanctions are lifted, previous sanctions are lifted, and the Iranian people can finally fulfill the greatness of the Iranian nation.


Indeed, these sanctions are not directed at the Iranian people.  As I said in Cairo, for decades the Iranian government has defined itself in opposition to my country.  But faced with the opportunity to find a new way forward –- one that would benefit its own people -- the Iranian government has chosen instead to remain a prisoner of the past.


Saturday will mark one year from the day that an election captivated the attention of the world -– an event that should have been remembered for how the Iranian people participated with remarkable enthusiasm, but will instead be remembered for how the Iranian government brutally suppressed dissent and murdered the innocent, including a young woman left to die in the street.


Actions do have consequences, and today the Iranian government will face some of those consequences.  Because whether it is threatening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, or the human rights of its own citizens, or the stability of its own neighbors by supporting terrorism, the Iranian government continues to demonstrate that its own unjust actions are a threat to justice everywhere.


I want and hope for the people of Iran that the government of Iran will make a different choice.  It can make a different choice and pursue a course that will reaffirm the NPT as the basis of global non-proliferation and disarmament -– a course that will advance Iran's own security and prosperity, and the peace of the wider world.  Today's sanctions are yet another signal that if the Iranian government continues to undermine the NPT and the peace that it protects, then Iran will find itself more isolated, less prosperous and less secure.


Thank you.


END             12:53 P.M. EDT





Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                                                                                               June 9, 2010


Fact Sheet on the new UN Security Council Sanctions on Iran


Earlier today, in response to Iran's continued refusal to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1929, imposing a strong, broad-based new set of sanctions on Iran.


Resolution 1929 increases the cost to Iran's leadership of their continued defiance of the international community, and aims to persuade Iran that it is in its interest to peacefully resolve concerns about its nuclear program. The Resolution builds on three previous rounds of UN sanctions on Iran by strengthening and expanding existing measures and breaking ground in several new areas.  It is a clear and strong response to Iran's refusal to address international concerns over its nuclear program. 


This resolution complements our diplomatic efforts to engage Iran.  We will continue to work with our international partners to forge a peaceful solution.  The United States remains open to dialogue, but Iran must live up to its obligations and clearly demonstrate to the international community the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.


These sanctions have been carefully designed to target those individuals and entities that are most responsible for Iran's nuclear program.  They are not intended to hurt the people of Iran.   


What does the resolution do?


The resolution restates the Security Council's longstanding demand that Iran's suspend its enrichment program and other proscribed nuclear activities.  It also highlights and clarifies Iran's existing obligations to accept and facilitate the implementation of rigorous international safeguards on its nuclear program. 


The resolution imposes a series of new sanctions that will increase the cost to Iran's leaders of their current irresponsible policies.  These measures include:


1.      Ban on Iranian certain nuclear and missile investment abroad. Iran is prohibited from investing in sensitive nuclear activities abroad, like uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, where it could acquire nuclear technology and know-how, as well as activities involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.  The ban also applies to investment in uranium mining. 


2.      Conventional arms ban.  States are prohibited from selling or in any way transferring to Iran eight broad categories of heavy weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems).  States are similarly prohibited from providing technical or financial assistance for such systems, or spare parts.  States are also to exercise vigilance and restraint in supplying any other arms or related materiel to Iran.


3.      Ban on ballistic missile activities.  Iran is prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons and States are required to take all necessary measure to prevent the transfer of related technology or technical assistance.


4.      Additional items banned for transfer.  The resolution updates and adds to the list of technical items related to nuclear and missile proliferation that are banned for transfer to and from Iran.


5.      New cargo inspection framework. Iran is subject to a new regime for inspection of suspicious cargo to detect and stop Iran's smuggling.  States should inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items.  States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas. 


6.      New procedures to deal with contraband items.  Once prohibited items are found, States are now obligated to seize and dispose of the items. 


7.      Ban on bunkering services.  States are required not to provide critical support services (e.g., fuel, water) to ships suspected of carrying prohibited cargo. 


8.      Measures to restrict the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and Iran Air's cargo division.  States must require their nationals to exercise vigilance over IRISL, a known sanctions violator.  Three IRISL-related companies will have their assets frozen.  States are requested to report any information on activities by IRISL and Iran's Air's cargo division to evade sanctions, including by renaming vessels. 


9.      New tools to block proliferation finance.  States are called upon to prevent any financial service -- including insurance or reinsurance -- and freeze any asset that could contribute to Iran's proliferation.  This broad language will help states take action when there are suspected financial links to Iran's banned nuclear activities. 


10.  Vigilance over all Iran's companies.  States are required to ensure their nationals exercise vigilance when doing business with any Iranian firm, including IRGC and IRISL, to make sure such business does not contribute to Iran's proliferation. 


11.  New banking measures.  States are called upon to prohibit on their territories new banking relationships with Iran, including the opening of any new branches of Iranian banks, joint ventures and correspondent banking relationships, if there is a suspected link to proliferation.  States also should prohibit their own financial institutions from opening branches in Iran if there is a suspected link to proliferation. 


12.  New measures to limit the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).   The resolution highlights the IRGC's role in proliferation and requires states to mandate that businesses exercise vigilance over all transactions involving the IRGC.  Fifteen IRGC-related companies linked to proliferation will have their assets frozen. 


13.  Targeted sanctions on specific individuals and entities.  Forty Iranian companies and one individual will be subject to an asset freeze.  The individual -- the head of a critical nuclear research program -- will also be subject to a travel ban.  Thirty-five additional individuals previously subject to "travel vigilance" will now be subject to a travel ban. 


14.  Appointment of a UN sanctions monitoring panel.  A UN "Panel of Experts" will be established to monitor states' implementation of the sanctions, report on sanctions violations and recommend ways to continually improve enforcement.


In addition to imposing these sanctions, the resolution highlights the potential linkage between Iran's energy sector revenues and procurement and its nuclear activities and proliferation.  It also stresses the need to exercise vigilance over all Iranian banks -- specifically including the Central Bank of Iran -- to prevent proliferation-related transactions. 


The resolution reaffirms the international community's willingness to resolve international concerns over Iran's nuclear program through negotiations, while laying out the steps that Iran must take to restore international confidence in its nuclear program, thereby allowing for the suspension or termination of these sanctions.