Question No 19
?19. Mr M P Sibande (ANC-Mpumalanga) to ask the Deputy President:
Whether current sanctions on nuclear matters against Iran which South Africa supported are justified; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
As a country that remains firmly committed to the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and to their non-proliferation, South Africa does not wish to see any other country possessing or acquiring nuclear weapons, including Iran. South Africa’s position is informed by our own national experience as the only country to have voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons and related programmes.
In this regard South Africa acts on the basis of the principle and in full support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency where we are active as a member of its Board of Governors and act consistently to promote consensus.
During South Africa’s membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2007 and 2008, we focused our efforts on trying to de-escalate tensions, promote dialogue to establish confidence in Iran’s nuclear programme, ensure that International Atomic Energu Agency processes were supported and Iran remained part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Security Council resolution framework on Iran is aimed at a negotiated solution. The Security Council is pursuing a dual-track approach of incentives and pressure, but in both instances the stated objective is a comprehensive negotiated solution.
While recognising that the Security Council could be called upon to impose coercive measures such as sanctions, South Africa called for these measures to be exercised with great caution, and only to support the resumption of political dialogue and negotiations to achieve a peaceful solution.
We reminded members of the Security Council that by voting in favour of sanctions measures, they had a special obligation to the Iranian people and had to exercise the highest degree of scrutiny and oversight on the implementation of the sanctions to ensure that there were no unintended consequences and that the sole focus remained on the nuclear programme.
In conclusion, South Africa upholds the right of all countries, including Iran, to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, subject to appropriate safeguards. For South Africa, it is important to ensure that the international community’s response to the Iranian situation does not deny any signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to exploit the peaceful application of nuclear technology.
I thank you