Russia warns against imposing sanctions on Iran
17 January 2006, Russia on Tuesday warned against imposing international sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear research, while China said it still hoped to see a diplomatic solution to the international row although not ruling out action through the U.N. Security Council.
17 January 2006
Russia on Tuesday warned against imposing international sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear research, while China said it still hoped to see a diplomatic solution to the international row although not ruling out action through the U.N. Security Council.
"Sanctions are by far not the best or the only way to settle the problem," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow, citing failure of sanctions against Iraq to cow Saddam Hussein's regime.
Similar measures against Iran would only "put the cart in front of the horse", he added.
The priority now was for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to gather as much information as possible about the Iranian nuclear programme, Lavrov said, stressing that Tehran should be more compliant with the process than in the past.
Russia favours continued talks between the Iranian leadership and the European troika of Germany, Britain and France. But this would only be possible if Tehran returned to the voluntary moratorium on its nuclear research, Lavrov said.
Talks on Russia's proposal to take over uranium production for Iran were expected to resume in Moscow on February 16, according to the minister.
Despite the failure this month of Russian and Iranian officials to reach agreement on the issue, Tehran has not fully rejected the proposal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
Meanwhile China on Tuesday said it still hoped to see a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue despite "difficulties" in the negotiations, but it did not rule out action through the U.N. Security Council.
"At present, although the negotiation process to solve the Iran nuclear issue has met some difficulties, we think that handling [it] ... through diplomatic means is a good choice that conforms with the interests of all parties," foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.
Kong urged Iran to resume negotiations with the European trio, saying this was a "key issue" in finding a diplomatic solution to the standoff.
But he would not say if China was willing to agree to the Security Council taking up the issue, saying there were still "multiple choices" available.
China is one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council who, with Germany, met on Monday to discuss the possible referral of the issue to the U.N. body.
Britain, France and Germany intend to call for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog - to discuss Iran's nuclear activities, the London Foreign Office said on Monday.
Russia and China are seen as playing a key role in the dispute.
Moscow has built a nuclear power station in the country and in the future wants to take over Iran's uranium enrichment, while China is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil and gas.
Iran last week broke international seals at nuclear research facilities, effectively ending a two-year effort by the European Union trio to negotiate curbs on the programme to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile Britain is working to achieve a "gradual sustained build-up of pressure" on Iran, government officials said Tuesday.
Senior officials in London dismissed as "vacuous" reports that Iran would offer to resume talks with the E.U. trio.
They said Britain and partner countries intend to take the matter to the IAEA on February 2 and 3 with a view to having the matter referred to the U.N. Security Council.
"We want to build gradual sustained pressure over time. This is a long-term issue", one official said.
The official said that neither China nor Russia, which had in the past been reluctant to take international action against Iran, had objected to the calling of the emergency meeting of the IAEA board in Vienna on February 2.
The official stressed that Britain and its allies would not be seeking an immediate move to sanctions against Iran by the Security Council.
"We don't see this leading straight into sanctions", he said. "We see a gradual build-up of moves that will take place over time. We are not going to New York to introduce punitive sanctions against Iran. That is not our approach."
There would be a "great deal of diplomacy to pursue" to build an international consensus to bring Iran into line over its nuclear programme, he added.
Meanwhile Iran will inform the head of the IAEA over its determination to continue its nuclear research programme, the news agency ISNA reported Tuesday.
IAEA envoy Ali-Asqar Soltanieh told ISNA that in his scheduled meeting with Mohamed ElBaradei later Tuesday, he will tell him that resumption of the nuclear research work was in full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The envoy warned that if the Iranian nuclear case was brought outside the IAEA framework, such as to the U.N. Security Council, Iran would implement a bill passed by its parliament last November.
"This should be a clear and straight message," the envoy was quoted by ISNA as saying.
Last November, the parliament approved a bill upon which the government would be obliged to suspend cooperation with the IAEA and prohibit visits by IAEA inspectors if the Iranian case was sent to the Security Council.
"If the case went to the U.N. Security Council, then it would mean that Mr. ElBaradei and the IAEA were not capable to handle a technical case solely related to the IAEA," Soltanieh told ISNA.
Subject: German news