EU-3 call for special session of IAEA board
18 January 2006, Iran's leaders said Wednesday that the world could not stop Tehran from pursuing its controversial nuclear programme, but said it would not seek confrontation over the issue - while Israel was reported to be urging preparation of a concrete set of sanctions against Iran.
18 January 2006
Iran's leaders said Wednesday that the world could not stop Tehran from pursuing its controversial nuclear programme, but said it would not seek confrontation over the issue - while Israel was reported to be urging preparation of a concrete set of sanctions against Iran.
European Union officials in Vienna meanwhile reaffirmed that Britain, France and Germany - the so-called E3 - had urged a special session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member Board of Governors for February 2 and 3.
The aim, however, was not so much directly to urge sanctions against Iran as to strengthen the hand of IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei, by urging UN Security Council backing for him in any efforts by him to report Iranian violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the West against any "global militarization" in connection with the ongoing dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"We have observed all relevant international regulations and want no confrontation, either, but the (nuclear) issue is being politicised but the world cannot be militarized," Ahmadinjead told reporters in Tehran.
Ahmadinejad again accused Europe and the US of planning to deprive Iran of science and technology: "They (the West) want to be the masters of the world and own everything and the rest of the world nothing," he said. "This makes us seriously doubt the sincerity of the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the world could not stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme.
State television network IRIB quoted Khamenei as saying that whatever decision is reached on Iran, "the world cannot influence the will of the Iranian nation of continuing its nuclear programme."
Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki likewise warned Europe to beware of hasty decisions, saying such steps "would just complicate the situation for both sides."
Iran last week broke international seals at nuclear research facilities, effectively ending a two-year effort by the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany to negotiate curbs on the programme to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, and raising the possibility of the case being brought before the UN Security Council.
Russia and China have said they oppose such a move.
Meanwhile Israel is holding "advanced" talks with the US and EU member states on a package of sanctions against Iran should it continue its nuclear programme, the Ha'aretz newspaper reported.
The goal is to have the package ready the moment a political decision is made to impose sanctions, it said.
Under the guidance of an inter-ministerial committee on Iran's nuclear programme headed by Mossad intelligence agency head Meir Dagan, Israeli defence and civilian agencies have prepared proposals for diplomatic and economic sanctions against Iran.
These proposals have been presented to American and European officials over the past two months, Ha'aretz said.
They include an oil embargo, a ban on Iran's football team from participating in this summer's football World Cup, a denial of entry visas to Iranian President Ahmadinejad and officials involved in Iran's nuclear programme, a halt to the IAEA's technical cooperation with Iran on nuclear issues and a restriction on Iranian civilian aircraft landings.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes calls to ban Iran's team from the World Cup to be hosted by Germany this summer, an official said Wednesday.
"She personally does not think much of the idea of keeping Iran out of the games," said Merkel's chief spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm after being asked about media reports that an Israeli politician had written a letter to the German government calling for a ban.
Wilhelm said such a move would only impact on sports and Iranian football fans. The World Cup, which runs June 9 to July 9, will see 32 nations competing in 12 German cities.
The French government on Wednesday rejected a proposal by Iran to resume negotiations unless it suspends its current nuclear activities.
"The unilateral resumption of sensitive (nuclear) activities announced by Iran on January 9 makes it impossible for us to meet under satisfactory conditions to pursue negotiations," said Denis Simonneau, a spokesman for the foreign ministry.
"Iran must first return to a complete suspension of its sensitive (nuclear) activities," he said.
Britain has also rejected Iran's proposal about maintaining a round of talks which had originally been scheduled for Wednesday in Vienna.
Top Israeli security officials held talks in Moscow Wednesday about the Iran crisis. A group led by Israeli Security Council Secretary Gior Eyland consulted with the chief of the Russian nuclear authority Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, the Interfax news agency reported. No details of the Moscow talks were immediately available.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the Iranian issue by telephone Wednesday.
Subject: German news