Reuters: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday Iran had to meet Security Council demands to suspend its enrichment programs and not only cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday Iran had to meet Security Council demands to suspend its enrichment programs and not only cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors.
Fresh from a trip to Sudan, Chad and Libya, the secretary-general was questioned on an agreement between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency that allows Iran to answer questions on its nuclear program over a timeline that may run to December.
Several Western powers have cast doubt on the deal, saying it allows Tehran to string out answers about past, hidden nuclear work while leaving intact its uranium-enrichment program, a possible path to atom bombs.
“I know that there was an agreement between the IAEA and Iran on the future work plans on this,” Ban said in his first reaction to the agreement. “I know that there are some different understandings or expectations.”
“What is important at this time is that, in addition to what IAEA has been negotiating and discussing with the Iranian government, the Iranian government should fully comply with the Security Council resolutions — that is the core,” Ban said.
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday acknowledged in Vienna that the plan was limited and by itself would not absolve Iran of all suspicions, despite Iranian assertions since agreeing the pact on August 21 that its nuclear dossier is now “closed.”
Iran, at its Natanz enrichment plant, is nearing the 3,000 centrifuges needed to start producing usable quantities of nuclear fuel.
The U.N. Security Council has adopted two sanctions resolutions against Tehran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment that Western nations suspect is a cover for bomb-making.
The United States, Britain and France are considering a third resolution to impose more sanctions, providing they get agreement from Russia and China, also permanent council members with veto rights.
The five as well as Germany have spoken to each other by telephone and will discuss the issue on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session later this month. But no text is expected in September, France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said.
(Added reporting by Mark Heinrich in Vienna)