EU postpones resolution on Iranian nuclear issue
22 September 2005, VIENNA - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed Thursday an E.U. decision not for the time being to involve the United Nations Security Council in the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
22 September 2005
VIENNA - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed Thursday an E.U. decision not for the time being to involve the United Nations Security Council in the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
ElBaradei said that whatever brought the Western side and the Iranians back to the negotiating table was "a good thing".
The European Union has temporarily postponed its efforts to get the Iran issue referred to the Security Council following opposition from Russia and China, diplomats confirmed Thursday.
The draft resolution presented by the so-called E.U. trio of Germany, Britain and France proposed that the IAEA Board of Governors should report any Iranian violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions.
However, twelve of the 35 IAEA's member states, in particular Russia and China, opposed the draft resolution at this week's meeting of the IAEA governors' board in Vienna.
Instead, ElBaradei was called on to make a further report about Iran for the next Board of Governors session in November.
Russia said bringing the issue before the Security Council would be an "unnecessary escalation" and counter-productive.
Moscow and Beijing have strong economic links with Iran and are also permanent members of the Security Council.
Iran welcomed the E.U. decision, with state television quoting Iranian National Security Council international deputy Javad Vaidi as saying that the E.U. had realised that the move would be futile, and would just further escalate the crisis.
"The move was politically motivated and followed other aims (than the nuclear dispute)," said Vaidi, newly appointed spokesman for Iran's nuclear delegation and successor to Hussein Moussavian.
"We will not bow to any ultimatums and especially not stop our uranium enrichment conversion in the Isfahan plant, but instead increase diplomatic efforts within the IAEA board member states to clarify our stance and reach a suitable result," he added.
Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Mohammed Akhondsadeh, rejected all reproaches by the E.U. but confirmed the country was prepared for fresh negotiations.
E.U. diplomats were working meanwhile on a tough new resolution accusing Iran of violating the statutes of the IAEA and threatening it with referral to the Security Council in the event of further violations.
A U.S. diplomat in Vienna said the U.S. supports the efforts of the E.U. to achieve the "widest possible consensus".
Israel voiced disappointment at the decision. Israel's vice- premier Ehud Olmert said the Iranian nuclear programme could pose a "danger for our and other lands".
Iran on Wednesday had threatened to resume full uranium enrichment and block voluntary inspections of nuclear sites if the dispute over its nuclear programme was bought before the Security Council.
Over the past months the E.U. trio have tried to divert Iran from resuming uranium enrichment. Enriched uranium can be used in nuclear power generation or in the building of atomic bombs.
The E.U. and the U.S. accuse Teheran of many violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Washington charges that Teheran has been involved in a secret nuclear weapons project, but the Iranians insist their atomic programme is entirely for peaceful purposes.
Iran's current course risks bringing about further nuclear weapons proliferation, the E.U. trio said in remarks reported by the French newspaper Le Monde.
There are "serious grounds" to fear that Iran's nuclear programme is not exclusively peaceful, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany said.
The ministers - Germany's Joschka Fischer, France's Philippe Douste-Blazy and Britain's Jack Straw - said that no economic logic justifies the Iranian desire to enrich uranium.
Meanwhile India, China and Russia have said they favour a "consensus approach" on Iran's nuclear programme and announced they have decided to coordinate their positions.
The foreign ministers of the three countries met in New York and reviewed the latest developments on international attempts to thwart Teheran's nuclear ambitions.
"They expressed their preference for a consensus approach and have agreed that their delegations at the IAEA in Vienna should remain in close touch and work together", India's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement Wednesday night.
Subject: German news