Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Questions (112, 113)

Gerard Murphy

Question:

164 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding negotiations between Iran and EU3 pertaining to nuclear proliferation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10408/07]

View answer

Joe Sherlock

Question:

174 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will comment on ongoing moves in Iran to develop nuclear capacity. [10500/07]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I propose taking Questions Nos. 164 and 174 together.

As I indicated in response to questions last month, there are currently no negotiations underway between the EU3 and Iran. However, High Representative Solana did meet informally with lead Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani on 11 February last during the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy. This was their first meeting since discussions in September 2006, which failed to agree an acceptable formula for commencing negotiations on the package of incentives presented to Tehran in June 2006, on behalf of the EU3, the United States, the Russian Federation and China. While the tone of the meeting was positive, no indication was given that Iran was willing to move from its previously stated position, which has brought the issue onto the agenda of the UN Security Council.

On 23 December 2006, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737, which required Iran to, inter alia, suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and requested a compliance report from the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within 60 days of the Resolution's adoption. It also obliged Member States to impose sanctions on Iran's nuclear and missile programmes.

On 22 February, the Director General issued the report as required, confirming that Iran had failed to comply with the terms of Security Council Resolution 1737. The report also confirmed that, while no declared nuclear material had been diverted to non-peaceful uses inside Iran, the IAEA remained unable to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The report concluded by stating the need for maximum cooperation and transparency on the part of Iran if the IAEA is to be in a position to provide assurances to the international community about the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Discussions are currently under way in New York on the substance of a follow-up to Resolution 1737, and it is anticipated that the Security Council will adopt a new resolution in the near future.

The question of Iran's nuclear programme is kept under constant review within the European Union at official level and is also the subject of regular discussions at Ministerial level. The most recent such discussion was at the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting of 5-6 March 2007 in Brussels. At this meeting, the Council deplored Iran's non-compliance with UNSCR 1737, in particular Iran's failure to suspend all enrichment and enrichment-related activities, underlined the Security Council's expression of intent to adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and reaffirmed the EU's continuing support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Question No. 165 answered with QuestionNo. 107.
Question No. 166 answered with QuestionNo. 100.
Question No. 167 answered with QuestionNo. 87.
Question No. 168 answered with QuestionNo. 96.
Question No. 169 answered with QuestionNo. 100.