Hopes of compromise over Iran fade at IAEA meeting

8th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2006, VIENNA - The Iranian nuclear dispute took a step closer to the UN Security Council as hopes of a compromise deal faded during the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

8 March 2006

VIENNA - The Iranian nuclear dispute took a step closer to the UN Security Council as hopes of a compromise deal faded during the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

All sides in the dispute stuck to their positions, with the US, France, Germany and the UK calling for the council to pressurize Iran to comply with snap inspections and stop enriching uranium and Iran saying there would be no compromise.

US Ambassador to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, told the UN nuclear watchdog's board of governors that the time had come for the Security Council to deal with the case.

The US believes that once the New York-based Security Council steps in, the IAEA's role would be strengthened in investigating Iran's nuclear programme.

In Vienna it was thought possible that the 15-member Security Council could meet as soon as the coming week.

Schulte accused Iran of deliberating misleading the international community.

As a first step, the Security Council should demand that Iran cooperate with the IAEA and fulfil the nuclear watchdog's demands for more transparency, Schulte said.

The US ambassador also said that the IAEA should implement exceptional powers that would allow for special controls in Iran.

France, Germany and the UK in a joint statement said they believed that the time had come for the council to reinforce the IAEA's authority by calling on Iran to show more cooperation.

The IAEA was considering a report by Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, which said that little progress had been made and that the extent of Iran's nuclear programme was still unclear.

France, Germany and the UK said that this was quite simply not good enough and that there could be a hidden threat in the Islamic nation.

"The Board still cannot judge whether what it knows represents the full picture or is simply the tip of the iceberg," the EU-trio said. "We need hardly remind members that it was the part of the iceberg out of view that did for the Titanic."

For the European Union, Austrian envoy Thomas Stelzer criticized the fact that Iran had made no progress in explaining its nuclear programme since the last IAEA board of governors meeting in February.

"The EU reiterates its demand that Iran completely halts all uranium enrichment activities," Stelzer said.

France, Germany and the UK said that they hoped Iran would take up a Russian proposal to enrich uranium on Russian soil.

The Russian plan was reported to have been expanded to allow Iran to conduct some limited research and development itself.

Iran has repeatedly asserted its right to enrich uranium on its own soil.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday denied that a new proposal had been put forward.

"There is no compromise, new Russian proposal," Lavrov told a press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza during a visit to the US.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday also said that Iran would not budge.

"Iran will not give in to any political pressure, make no compromise and will go to the end of the line," Ahmadinejad said during a speech in Lorestan in western Iran, carried live by Khabar news network.

The IAEA referred Iran to the Security Council at the last meeting, after the Islamic nation failed to dispel doubts that its nuclear programme was entirely peaceful and then restarted uranium enrichment after a period of voluntary suspension.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian or military purposes.

Iran in response immediately stopped all voluntary cooperation with the agency under the so-called additional protocol to the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The UN Security Council agreed to defer action until after ElBaradei's report, and it now looks like it will soon take the initial step of calling on Iran to comply with the IAEA.


Subject: German news

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