AFP: The United States has “broad agreement” from both developed and developing countries that international pressure must be brought to bear on Iran to stop nuclear fuel work that could be weapons-related, a US spokesman said Friday. AFP
VIENNA – The United States has “broad agreement” from both developed and developing countries that international pressure must be brought to bear on Iran to stop nuclear fuel work that could be weapons-related, a US spokesman said Friday.
“We’re finding broad agreement throughout the international community that Iran should re-suspend its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities and cooperate fully” with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the spokesman, Matthew Boland, said.
The United States and the European Union want the IAEA to refer Iran to the UN Security Council if it persists in uranium conversion — a possible first step to making material for an atom bomb as well as a nuclear power reactor.
But such a move is opposed by Russia, China, and non-aligned states backing Iran’s claim to peaceful nuclear technology under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), diplomats said.
The board of governors of the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, will meet on the issue in Vienna Monday.
Boland did not specifically refer to possible referral to the Security Council but said: “We have found broad agreement that Iran’s actions to date have been unacceptable and that further international pressure must be placed on Iran. This broad agreement includes both developed and developing countries.”
He said the IAEA board “must live up to its obligation to report to the UN Security Council Iran’s history of safeguards breaches and failures” in honoring the requirements of the non-proliferation treaty.
But diplomats close to the IAEA said Iran looks set to avoid being taken to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions.
The diplomats said Britain, France and Germany, which had negotiated with Iran on behalf of the European Union, might offer the Islamic Republic another chance to halt nuclear fuel work, with another IAEA board meeting called within a few weeks.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has herself expressed caution about prospects for winning referral to the Security Council.
“If we get a referral on September 19th, that will be good, but I think the issue of a referral is something that we’ll be working (on) for a while,” she told the editorial board of Fox News in New York Wednesday.
“I’m not so concerned about exactly when it happens because I don’t think this matter is so urgent that it has to be on September 19th,” she said. “This is more about a political message to Iran right now than anything else.”
The IAEA board on August 11 called on Iran to stop nuclear fuel work and resume talks with the EU on guaranteeing that its nuclear program is peaceful.