EU-3 want to refer Iran nuke row to Security Council

12th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2006, BERLIN - The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany called Thursday for Iran to be brought before the U.N. Security Council where Tehran could face possible sanctions for its nuclear programme.

12 January 2006

BERLIN - The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany called Thursday for Iran to be brought before the U.N. Security Council where Tehran could face possible sanctions for its nuclear programme.

The three ministers and E.U. chief diplomat Javier Solana called for an emergency session of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to vote on referring Tehran to the U.N.'s top body.

"Our talks with Iran have now reached a dead end," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, adding: "In our view, things have come to the point where the Security Council must be engaged."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Iran had "turned its back" on E.U. efforts to win a diplomatic deal and that the only alternative was to start the U.N. process by going to the IAEA.

The move follows Iran's decision to reopen its uranium enrichment facility where it suspended work 14 months ago and calls by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel's destruction.

Britain, France and Germany are the three European Union countries leading international efforts to deal with Iran over the issue.

A senior E.U. official in Brussels said the IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors would have to formally vote on hauling Iran in front of the Security Council. A two-thirds majority of the 35 governors would be necessary for the move.

"The focus will be on ensuring the broadest possible consensus and the widest support," said the E.U. official.

In a sign of growing pressure on Tehran, senior officials from Russia, China and the U.S. will meet E.U. counterparts in London next week to discuss the escalating row over Iran's nuclear activities, the British Foreign Office said.

This would be the first time Moscow and Beijing have taken part in such talks regarding Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country does not exclude referral of Iran to the Security Council but he defended his country's completion of a nuclear power plant for Tehran.

"We do not rule out any variant but at the same time there can only be a diplomatic solution," Lavrov told Ekho Moskvy radio.

The E.U. has for years been attempting to win over Tehran to trim back its nuclear programme in exchange for trade and aid incentives.

A further round of talks had been planned for January 18 but the E.U. official said current developments meant there was no point in going ahead with the meeting.

Aside from restarting nuclear research, calls by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel's destruction have caused dismay in Europe and especially infuriated the German government which views itself as having special obligations to Israel given the Holocaust.

DPA

Subject: German news

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