Reuters: The United States and three key European allies said on Thursday Iran had not done enough to win trust in its atomic work and the United Nations should now consider tougher sanctions. By Mark Heinrich and Karin Strohecker
VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States and three key European allies said on Thursday Iran had not done enough to win trust in its atomic work and the United Nations should now consider tougher sanctions.
“A wait-and-see approach is not an option,” Britain, France and Germany told governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency after its chief said Iran appeared on course to clearing up questions about its nuclear history by the end of the year.
Mohamed ElBaradei had also reiterated that the IAEA’s knowledge of current Iranian activity was shrinking due to strict Iranian curbs on U.N. inspector movements and Iran was expanding uranium enrichment despite U.N. calls for a halt.
The statement by the “EU-3” said both matters were “unacceptable … We are interested at least as much in the present and future (of Iran’s program) as the past.
The West fears Iran is secretly trying to build atom bombs. Iran says it only wants electricity from uranium enrichment.
“We recognize Iran has taken some steps in the right direction but we are disappointed that cooperation is of a partial and reactive nature,” the EU-3 said. “So, all in all, the results are not encouraging.”
“Therefore we must draw conclusions at the (U.N.) Security Council,” they said, meaning consideration of tougher sanctions in talks with fellow world powers the United States, Russia and China. They gave no time frame.
Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said he would meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on November 30. Solana confirmed the talks were “very likely.”
If Solana concludes, as expected, that Iran remains adamant against suspending nuclear fuel production, drafting of sanctions could follow.
Washington echoed the EU-3 stance. While commending the IAEA’s inroads into Iranian secrecy, U.S. envoy Gregory Schulte said he feared little more would be uncovered soon.
“Iran’s consistent policy of selective cooperation and delay tactics suggest that Iran means only to distract the world” from continued proliferation-sensitive nuclear activity, he said.
RUSSIAN, CHINESE DIFFERENCES
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, told reporters the agency’s report showed Iran had been truthful about its nuclear course and warned against further sanctions.
“We will continue the mood of cooperation provided that … peace-loving countries prevent the United States or others from making noise and creating problems and jeopardizing this constructive approach by any measure in the Security Council.”
Russia and China cast Iran’s cooperation in a positive light, Moscow calling it “constructive” but also urging Iran to suspend enrichment and allow more intrusive inspections, diplomats in the closed meeting said.
But neither nation mentioned the idea of intensifying sanctions, suggesting they may keep impeding a new Security Council resolution by arguing for more time to capitalize on the IAEA and EU negotiating tracks with Iran.
Other Western members of the IAEA’s 35-nation policymaking board spotlighted Iran’s defiant enrichment campaign overriding its vow to be reveal the past.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of developing nations, to which Iran belongs, emphasized its “substantive” cooperation and warned against “undue interference,” an allusion to Western pressure they fear could spiral into dangerous conflict.
ElBaradei, who believes diplomacy more than sanctions can settle the row with Iran, said it was adhering to a timeline to clear up outstanding questions, countering Western skepticism.
“There has been good progress,” he said, in getting Iran to own up about secret 1980s and ’90s efforts to acquire centrifuge enrichment technology from nuclear smugglers. But he urged faster cooperation from Tehran, reflecting the fact that future issues may be complicated by possible military dimensions.
The IAEA wants credible explanations for traces of highly enriched — or bomb-grade — uranium that inspectors found at research sites, and intelligence on links between uranium processing, explosives tests and a missile warhead design.
(Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Paris; Editing by Tim Pearce)