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Security Council to Review Iran Nuclear Case

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:56 am    Post subject: Security Council to Review Iran Nuclear Case Reply with quote

Security Council to Review Iran Nuclear Case


By Anne Gearan
The Associated Press
Monday, January 30, 2006; 10:33 PM

LONDON -- The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council reached surprising agreement Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

China and Russia, longtime allies and trading partners of Iran, signed on to a statement that calls on the U.N. nuclear watchdog to transfer the Iran dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions or take other harsh action.

Foreign ministers from those nations, plus the United States, Britain and France, also said the Security Council should wait until March to take up the Iran case, after a formal report on Tehran's activities from the watchdog agency.

Foreign ministers from Germany and the European Union also attended the dinner and agreed to what amounted to a compromise _ take the case to the Security Council but allow a short breather before the council undertakes what could be a divisive debate.

Any of the five permanent members of the Security Council, all nuclear powers themselves, can veto an action voted by the full council membership.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other foreign ministers discussed Iran at a private dinner at the home of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. After the four-hour meeting, which spilled over into the early hours Tuesday, a joint statement called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to report the Iran case when it meets in Vienna on Thursday.

The group agreed that the IAEA "should report to the Security Council its decision on the steps required of Iran, and should also report to the Security Council all IAEA reports as resolutions as adopted relating to this issue," a statement from the group said.

The IAEA has already found Iran in violation of nuclear obligations and issued a stern warning to Tehran in September. Thursday's vote would be the next step, one long sought by the United States.

Iran insists its nuclear program is intended only to produce electricity. The United States and some allies say Iran is hiding ambitions to build a nuclear bomb, but the Security Council members have been divided about how strong a line to take.

It is still not clear how Russia and China would vote if the questions of sanctions came before the Security Council. It is also not clear that the United States will win the broad international consensus it seeks when the IAEA votes.

The IAEA "will report on the situation in Iran and the way the Iranian authorities are not cooperating with the international agency," said a French government official, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity.

He said the Russian and Chinese ministers had initially been reluctant to agree to refer Iran to the Security Council, but were persuaded of the need for the council members to show a united front.

"It was very important to make sure they are all together on this issue and all agree on the same position."

"This is in the hands of the IAEA," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said of the agreement. "We're not going to say anything at this point."

There was no immediate comment from Chinese officials in Beijing.

On Monday, Rice said the world agreed that Iran should not have the means of developing a nuclear weapon, and she criticized Iran's response to Russian attempts to mediate in the standoff.

"We believe that there is a lot of life left in the diplomacy," Rice said. "After all, going to the Security Council is not the end of diplomacy. It's just diplomacy in a different, more robust context."

Iran broke U.N. seals at a uranium enrichment plant Jan. 10 and said it would resume nuclear fuel research after a two-year freeze. Tehran said the research would involve what it called limited uranium enrichment, but the action raised fears Tehran was using its pursuit of atomic power as a front for a nuclear weapons program.

European foreign ministers met with Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator in Brussels on Monday but said they failed to make progress.

The EU said a Russian proposal to enrich uranium and send the fuel back to Iran, allowing more oversight of the process, could be the solution, but Rice has questioned the drawn out negotiations over the offer.

"This has now been several months. So when the Iranians now evince interest in the Russian proposal, one has to wonder if that isn't because they now face the prospect of referral to the Security Council," Rice said before the dinner meeting.

In Vienna, a diplomat familiar with the Iran probe said IAEA inspectors were allowed access to the Lavizan-Shian site _ believed to be the repository of equipment bought by the Iranian military that could be used in a nuclear weapons program. The diplomat demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing confidential information about the status of the IAEA probe.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran on Sunday that IAEA inspectors trying to gain access to the site for more than a year had been given the information they sought.

The United States alleges Iran had conducted high-explosive tests that could have a bearing on developing nuclear weapons at the site.

The State Department said in 2004 that Lavizan's buildings had been dismantled and topsoil had been removed in attempts to hide nuclear weapons-related experiments.


Associated Press writers Constant Brand in Brussels and David Stringer in London contributed to this report.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Iran nuclear file 'will go to UN'

Western powers suspect Iran's nuclear ambitions are not peaceful
Key powers have agreed to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme at a UN nuclear watchdog board meeting on Thursday.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announced the decision after a meeting of the five permanent council members and Germany in London.

Talks with Iran earlier in the day failed to produce a breakthrough.

President George W Bush earlier said the US and its allies would remain united in their dealings with Iran.

The permanent five - the UK, US, France, China and Russia - plus Germany, met in London on Monday night to co-ordinate their position ahead of an emergency board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday.


If the board agrees to refer it to the Security Council, Iran may face sanctions.

But Mr Straw said the foreign ministers decided the council would take no action until March, after it has received a formal report on Iran from the IAEA.

The timetable represents a compromise, with the Europeans and the United States having wanted Iran to be referred to the Security Council as soon as possible, while Russia and China argued for more time, says the BBC's UN correspondent Susannah Price.

But a US diplomat expressed himself pleased with the decision, telling Reuters: "This is the most powerful message we could have hoped for."

Washington and the EU have accused Iran of aiming to produce nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian energy use only.

The foreign ministers' statement called for "an extensive period of confidence-building" by Tehran, following its recent decision to break IAEA seals on its nuclear facilities.


Mr Bush, previewing his State of the Union speech to be delivered later on Tuesday, said he would have separate messages for the Iranian people and their government.

"And in speaking to the people, my message is this: 'You know, we're not going to tell you how to live your life, but we would like you to be free'," he said.

"But to the government, our message is that if you want to be a part of the family of nations, give up your nuclear weapons ambitions."

He added: "We're united in our goal to keep the Iranians from having a weapon, and we're working on the tactics necessary to continue putting a united front out."

Separate talks in Brussels on Monday were requested by Tehran in the hope of averting moves towards referral.

"To be frank, we didn't detect anything new in their approach," said John Sawers, a senior British diplomat at the talks.

However Javad Vaeedi, deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said: "As far as we are concerned, it has been a positive outcome."

Iran insists it should be allowed to develop its own nuclear technology, but other key powers do not want it to produce its own enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons as well as power plants.
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