AP: The Security Council should impose more sanctions on Iran over its stonewalling of a U.N. investigation into allegations that Tehran tried to make nuclear weapons, France said Tuesday.
The Associated Press
By JAMEY KEATEN
PARIS (AP) — The Security Council should impose more sanctions on Iran over its stonewalling of a U.N. investigation into allegations that Tehran tried to make nuclear weapons, France said Tuesday.
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, issued a damning report Monday that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
"We have no other choice than to work in the days and weeks to come toward a new Security Council sanctions resolution," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.
He called the IAEA findings "very worrisome."
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe also spoke Monday of "the possibility of new sanctions" if Iran continues to defy the U.N.
However, Russia and China, who like the U.S. and France have veto power over U.N. Security Council resolutions, would likely resist a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. Britain, the fifth veto-wielding member of the Security Council, is aligned with the U.S. and France.
The Security Council has already imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance.
Regarding the IAEA report's findings on the amount of enriched uranium Iran has amassed, U.N officials said it was a third of what it needed to reprocess into the material for the fissile core of a nuclear weapon. But U.N officials familiar with the report emphasized that Iran — whose known nuclear programs are under IAEA supervision — has shown no indication it wanted to go that route.
The U.S. and its allies allege Iran wants to develop its uranium enrichment program to make nuclear weapons. But oil-rich Iran insists it only wants to make nuclear energy, and IAEA oversight and inspections of its known enrichment program has not found any evidence that contradicts that.
Ali-Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, asserted Monday there was nothing for the agency to investigate as far as weapons programs were concerned.
China said Tuesday that imposing further sanctions on Iran will not resolve the nuclear impasse.
"I don't think sanctions are the way out," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.
But Jiang also said China hoped Iran would keep cooperating with the IAEA.
"The solution of the Iranian nuclear issue is negotiation and dialogue," she told a regular news briefing. "We hope the relevant parties will step up diplomatic efforts and settle the issue peacefully through dialogue and negotiations."
Associated Press reporter Gillian Wong contributed to this report from Beijing.