Iran nuclear dispute to go to Security Council
9 March 2006, WASHINGTON - The dispute over Iran's nuclear programme will go before the UN Security Council early next week, the United States said Wednesday, while Iran threatened the US with "harm and pain" for hauling the issue before the most powerful UN body.
9 March 2006
WASHINGTON - The dispute over Iran's nuclear programme will go before the UN Security Council early next week, the United States said Wednesday, while Iran threatened the US with "harm and pain" for hauling the issue before the most powerful UN body.
The five permanent Security Council members - China Britain, France, Russia and the United States - agreed in February that the council would take up the matter once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded deliberations on Iran.
The five powers in effect gave Iran time to negotiate a deal to fully disclose its nuclear programme, which has raised suspicion in the US and elsewhere that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies. But no solution was reached by the time the IAEA meeting wrapped up Wednesday in Vienna.
"I would expect early next week that this is a matter that the Security Council takes up for discussion," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
As the dispute headed to the Security Council, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei urged calm as the rhetoric heated up.
Javad Vaidi, deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Wednesday the United States could face "harm and pain" for backing Security Council action, one day after US Vice President Dick Cheney warned that Iran would face "meaningful consequences" for not coming clean on its nuclear ambitions.
ElBaradei called for a negotiated solution at the "new level of diplomacy" in the Security Council.
"We now need a cool-headed approach and less rhetoric," he said. "This situation won't be resolved tomorrow and we need a comprehensive political solution."
A potential showdown looms over what action the council should take. McCormack said the United States will not seek immediate sanctions against Iran, but instead wants the council to clarify what Tehran must do to come into compliance with its international obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Russia and China have expressed reservations about coming down to hard on Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the United Nations in New York a day after meeting US leaders in Washington, said his country prefers keeping the dispute in the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog.
"Let's rely on the people we hire to look after this issue," Lavrov told reporters after talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Russia has been trying to negotiate a proposal with Iran to enrich uranium for Iran nuclear energy on Russian soil. The proposal, supported by the US, aims to alleviate concerns Iran could master the process and use the knowledge to build nuclear weapons.
After meeting with Rice, Lavrov dispelled reports Moscow was prepared to allow Iranian to engage in small-scale uranium enrichment.
The IAEA's 35-nation governing board on February 4 approved a resolution reporting Iran to the Security Council under with the condition that the body would not address the matter until the meetings ended Wednesday. The resolution said Iran has failed to convince the international community that its nuclear work is solely for energy needs.
Bush, as is customary for US presidents, has refused to rule out using military force against Iran, but says his goal is to reach a diplomatic solution.
A senior US State Department official said Tuesday that Cheney was referring to diplomatic - not military - consequences during his remarks Tuesday.
Reporting to the IAEA board Wednesday, ElBaradei said no real progress was made toward alleviating concerns about Iran's nuclear programme.
While there might be differences among nations about how to handle Iran, there was clear unity in requesting Iran fully disclose its activities, he said.
"I had hoped that we would see something this week, but we are not working on a strict timeline," ElBaradei said. "Sooner or later all parties will realize an agreement is necessary."
Britain, France and Germany said that they hoped Iran would take up the Russian proposal in its original form, which does not include allowing Iran to research enrichment technology. The three countries, known as the EU-3, oversaw negotiations with the Iranians during the past three years that broke down last summer.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has maintained the Iran has the right to enrich uranium, a process that could be used to develop weapons.
Subject: German news