Ambassador Bukun Onemola
Nigeria Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Nigeria Mission to the UN
New York, NY
June 9, 2010
Our vote this morning was informed by respect for our unwavering commitment to the ideals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Adherence to the NPT does not preclude any country from optimizing its full use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes; rather, it guarantees the inalienable right of parties to the peaceful use of nuclear technology. The NPT also remains the best framework for achieving disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Indeed, Nigeria is pursuing a peaceful nuclear programme within the parameters of the NPT, including its safeguards agreement and additional protocol, in full cooperation and collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Thus, we recognize Iran’s right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme.
Where, however, questions arise and evidence suggests that a country’s nuclear programme and activities are inconsistent with the provisions of the NPT, it becomes a matter of great concern to us. Having followed very carefully the discussions on Iran’s nuclear activities, Nigeria, like other countries, has been unable to fully understand whether Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely and strictly for peaceful purposes. Therefore, it is incumbent on Iran dispel the
doubts that surround its nuclear activities. Specifically, we are convinced that Iran, as a State party to the NPT, has clearly violated its obligations under the Treaty. Furthermore, Nigeria does not understand Iran’s failure to cooperate with the IAEA. We are also troubled by Iran’s failure to fully implement its safeguards agreement, including the additional protocol.
These worrisome failures have been compounded by the lack of clarity on the sudden spike in the building of nuclear sites, some of which were shrouded in secrecy. Moreover, the decision by Iran to enrich uranium to a higher level of 20 per cent and its insistence on continuing its enrichment programme raise genuine doubt about the real direction of its nuclear activities.
Notwithstanding our misgivings, we believe that a dual-track approach that combines pressure with intense political and diplomatic activities is the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear conundrum. We are satisfied that the resolution that we have just adopted recognizes this and commits all countries to pursue a dual-track approach regarding Iran. We welcome the explicit reaffirmation that outstanding issues can best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme by Iran responding positively to all the calls that the Council and the IAEA Board of Governors have made on Iran.
The emphasis on the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes gives hope that all the doors are not closed on Iran. In that regard, we applaud Brazil and Turkey for their exemplary initiative in signing with Iran at the highest political levels the joint Tehran declaration of 17 May 2010. We hope that it will still be possible to follow through on the joint declaration as a concrete confidence-building measure. Cooperation with the IAEA and the resumption of early dialogue with Baroness Ashton will give further impetus to a political settlement of the dispute.
Finally, I would like to echo the accent placed in the resolution on the fact that nothing compels States to take measures or actions exceeding the scope of the resolution, including the use of force or the threat of use of force in responding to Iran. Satisfied with the intent of the resolution and the recognition of the need for continued political and diplomatic efforts, Nigeria voted in favour of resolution 1929 (2010).