Arak – Heavy water plant
- The existence of a heavy water facility near the town of Arak first emerged with the publication of satellite images by the US-based Institute for Science and International Security in December 2002.
- Heavy water is used to moderate the nuclear fission chain reaction either in a certain type of reactor – albeit not the type that Iran is currently building – or produce plutonium for use in a nuclear bomb.
Iran has ignored several sanctions imposed by the Security Council from 2006-2008 on this matter.
Isfahan – Uranium conversion plant
- Iran is building a plant at a nuclear research facility to convert uranium ore into three forms: o Hexafluoride gas – used in gas centrifuges of Uranium oxide – used to fuel reactors, albeit not the type Iran is constructing of Metal – often used in the cores of nuclear bombs. The IAEA is concerned about the metal’s use, as Iran’s reactors do not require it as fuel.
Bushehr – Nuclear power station
- Iran’s nuclear programme began in 1974 with plans to build a nuclear power station at Bushehr with German assistance.
- The project was abandoned because of the Islamic revolution five years later, but revived in the 1990s when Tehran signed an agreement with Russia to resume work at the site.
- Moscow delayed completion on the project while the UN Security Council debated and then passed resolutions aimed at stopping uranium enrichment in Iran.
- In December 2007, Moscow started delivering the canisters of enriched uranium the plant needs.
The Security Council has long been committed to securing peace and stability in the Middle East. The threat posed by the possession of nuclear weapons and the secretive development of such weapons is a large component of the current and historical instability of the area. Thus, the Security Council has passed a number of resolutions on the topic of nuclear non-proliferation. There have been seven resolutions passed on the issue since 2006, the most recent being Resolution 2049 (2012), adopted by the Council on June 7th 2012. The resolution reaffirms resolution 1929 from 2010. Resolution 2049 extends until July 2013 the mandate of the Panel of Experts of its committee to monitor the implementation of the sanctions regime in Iran.
The Council has also forbidden Iran from constructing any new uranium enrichment or reprocessing facilities and has barred them from collaborating with another state on any project involving nuclear technology (such as uranium mining).
Resolution 1929 is in response to the IAEA’s resolution regarding Iran‘s nuclear program, which states that the nation has been unwilling to cooperate with the IAEA and its requests since 2006 to halt nuclear activity until an in-depth investigation can be completed. This is necessary in order to eliminate the possibility of nuclear development for military purposes. In addition, Iran has ignored several sanctions imposed by the Security Council from 2006-2008 on this matter. Resolution 1929, in an effort to ensure Iranian cooperation, imposes the strictest economic sanctions that have been seen against Iran in the nuclear non-proliferation issue.
Resolution 1929 reaffirms the commitment of the five permanent members of the Security Council to resolve the Iranian nuclear situation through negotiation and the use of sanctions where appropriate. The Council has called for Iran to ratify a Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty immediately, in accordance with the IAEA’s prior demands, and to co-operate with the IAEA on all matters pertaining to nuclear technology. The Council has also forbidden Iran from constructing any new uranium enrichment or reprocessing facilities and has barred them from collaborating with another state on any project involving nuclear technology (such as uranium mining).
In addition, the resolution called for all member states to restrict their trade relationships with Iran in regards to weaponry and military equipment. Prohibited goods include missiles or missile systems, combat aircraft, battle tanks, large calibre artillery systems, and related material such as spare parts. Travel of individuals or companies related to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is also strictly prohibited.
The Security Council, in partnership with the European Union, has acknowledged that it is willing to peacefully negotiate this issue with Iran providing that demands to stop all nuclear activities for the time being are heeded. Once an appropriate level of confidence in Iran‘s nuclear pro- gram is established, the Security Council and the IAEA are willing to re-extend the same treatment to Iran and its peaceful nuclear activities that other states enjoy. The Council is also willing, as terms of negotiation, to offer Iran political and economic support in the international community if an agreement can be reached. These terms of negotiation were originally presented to Iranian authorities on June 14th , 2008, to no avail.
Resolution 1929 received the support of 12 member states (including all five permanent members), but was voted against by Turkey and Brazil.
What went wrong?
While there is unanimous agreement among the members of the Security Council that action must be taken on the Iranian nuclear issue, states differ in their opinions of the best course of action. Resolution 1929 received the support of 12 member states (including all five permanent members), but was voted against by Turkey and Brazil. Lebanon abstained from voting on this resolution. While the five permanent members, and particularly the United States, are willing to pursue further methods of negotiation with Iran such as strict economic sanctions, Turkey and Brazil have been advocates of political and diplomatic strategies. In particular, the two states have focused a large amount of effort on reaching agreement with Iran regarding the Tehran Research Reactor, a nuclear facility in Tehran under immense investigation by the IAEA. An agreement on this issue would serve to increase confidence in Iran‘s nuclear program and its true purposes. While the Security Council applauds this effort, tension may arise with members pushing for stronger economic and political action towards Iran.
As outlined in Resolution 1929, several restrictions have been imposed on trade with Iran. These restrictions were agreed to by the European Union, which is one of Iran‘s largest trading partners. Other important trade relationships include the UAE, Germany (part of the EU), Japan, and China. Economic relationships are an aspect to be heavily considered by member states when debating further courses of action. Resolution 1929 also affirms the belief of the Security Council and the IAEA that co-operation with Iran could aid in the facilitation of a more stable environment in the Middle East. Many member states of the Security Council are heavily invested in increasing stability in the area, and achieving a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue may be in some states’ direct self-interest.