AP: The European Union is accusing Iran of possessing documents used solely for the production of nuclear arms and is warning of possible referral to the U.N. Security Council, according to a statement made available to The Associated Press on Thursday.
By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria (AP) – The European Union is accusing Iran of possessing documents used solely for the production of nuclear arms and is warning of possible referral to the U.N. Security Council, according to a statement made available to The Associated Press on Thursday.
The press statement, made available before planned delivery later in the day, was described by a diplomat as a summary of what Britain, France and Germany would tell a closed session of the International Atomic Energy Agency board which began meeting on Thursday.
The statement said the EU would accuse Iran of possessing suspicious documents that “have no other application than the production of nuclear weapons.”
“Failure to make progress” on easing international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program “will hasten the day when the board decides that a report to the Security Council must be made,” said the statement to be delivered by Peter Jenkins, the chief British delegate to the IAEA.
The European Union also reserves the right to call an emergency board meeting before the next scheduled gathering in March – for possible Security Council referral – “if Iranian behavior makes it necessary,” said the statement.
The statement alluded to new revelations of concern contained in a report drawn up for the board meeting by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, including a finding showing the Iranians in possession of what appeared to be drawings of the core of an atomic warhead.
But the main issue is Iran’s refusal to give up its right to uranium enrichment, which can be used to generate power but also to make weapons-grade material for nuclear warheads. Iran says it wants only to make fuel, but international concern is growing that the program could be misused.
A plan floated in recent weeks foresees moving any Iranian enrichment plan to Russia. There, in theory, Moscow would supervise the process to make sure enrichment is only to fuel levels.
But Iran insists it wants to control the complete fuel cycle domestically.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday that, while his country was willing to resume formal talks with key European powers on its nuclear program, “naturally we aim to have enrichment on Iran’s territory.”
Currently, Iran’s enrichment program is frozen. But negotiations between Iran and France, Britain and Germany broke off in August after Iran restarted the conversion of raw uranium into the gas that is used as the feed stock in enrichment.
For months, Iran has relied on Beijing and Moscow, Security Council members with veto power, to fend off a U.S.-backed push to have it hauled before the council.
While the Americans and Europeans have opted not to lobby for referral at Thursday’s meeting of the IAEA board, they could resume their efforts at a later board session if they judge that the Russians, Chinese and other key nations will not stand in their way.
In Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters that his country did not think “it is appropriate now to refer this question to the U.N. Security Council.”
ElBaradei, in comments to the board meeting in Vienna, suggested, he, too, opposed referral, for now, calling for “robust verification” of Iranian nuclear activities, combined with “active dialogue.”
“Clarification” of aspects of Iran’s nuclear program “is overdue, after three years of intensive verification efforts,” he said.
The EU statement made available to the AP said Iran’s “failure to provide full transparency … continues to undermine its claim that its program is exclusively peaceful in nature.”