AP: The United States wants quick action to punish Iran for refusing to roll back its disputed nuclear program and a new report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog strengthens the case for additional sanctions, a top State Department official said Friday. The Associated Press
By ANNE GEARAN
WASHINGTON (AP) The United States wants quick action to punish Iran for refusing to roll back its disputed nuclear program and a new report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog strengthens the case for additional sanctions, a top State Department official said Friday.
Iran failed to cooperate fully with U.N. investigators and left key questions about its nuclear past unanswered, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said.
Burns said he will meet Monday with diplomats from world powers that have twice punished the oil-rich nation over its nuclear drive, and wants the U. N. Security Council to approve new penalties soon afterward.
“We find Iranian performance to be lacking,” Burns told reporters at the State Department. “As a result of this it’s our firm belief that there is all the more reason now for the Security Council to pass a third sanctions resolution.”
The U.S. wants the Security Council to begin debate next week. Burns would not predict how long debate would last, and would not rule out that the current package of proposed punishments could change. The proposed package slightly expands and strengthens previous penalties, but is weaker than the United States had wanted.
Burns is the top U.S. negotiator on a carrot-and-stick package proposed by the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent states, which are all nuclear powers, plus Germany. Iran has rebuffed the offer, and has brushed off the Security Council’s penalties.
Iran’s sometime allies and trade partners Russia and China, which hold veto power at the Security Council, oppose very harsh measures. Burns said the new round of sanctions would pinch Iran, but he argued more strongly that failing to act would make the Security Council look weak.
The report Friday from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has
Iran says the U.S. and its allies provided false information saying Tehran’s missile and explosives experiments were part of a nuclear weapons program, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday.
As expected, an IAEA report also confirmed that Iran continued to enrich uranium despite previous warnings and sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.
The U.N. body has demanded that Iran freeze the enrichment program, which can generate both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads. Iran claims its program is peaceful and insists it has the same right to enrichment technology as nuclear nations such as the United States.
The 11-page report gave Iran a relatively clean bill of health on explaining the origin of traces of enriched uranium in a military facility; experiments with polonium, which can also be used in a weapons program; and purchases on the nuclear black market.
In such cases, “the agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran … are (either) consistent with its findings (or) … not inconsistent with its findings,” said the report, in careful language that would allow it to renew its investigation into the issues.
But it said Teheran had rejected as irrelevant some material forwarded by the agency that purportedly shows it working on tests of missile trajectories and high explosives, and research on a missile re-entry vehicle activities that would most likely be part of weapons development. Questions also remained on how and why Iran came to possess diagrams showing how to mold uranium metal into warhead shape.