Bloomberg: U.K. Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Iran is failing to meet responsibilities to the world over its nuclear program as diplomats met in London to work out a timetable to refer the issue to the United Nations. Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) — U.K. Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Iran is failing to meet responsibilities to the world over its nuclear program as diplomats met in London to work out a timetable to refer the issue to the United Nations.
“The onus is on Iran to act to give the international confidence that its nuclear program has exclusively peaceful aims,” Straw said at a conference in London today. `Confidence has been undermined” because of “Iran’s failure to bring itself into compliance” with international guidelines.
Last weekend, Iran said it would resume research on the nuclear fuel cycle, work that the U.S. and European Union nations have said could be aimed at building an atomic bomb. Iran says it wants to generate more electricity with nuclear power.
Diplomats from the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and other European Union nations are meeting in London today to discuss when to call an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.
The IAEA could ask the UN Security Council to consider sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. Iran has been under threat of UN action since September, when the IAEA said the Islamic Republic was in “non-compliance” with its nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty obligations.
The resolution passed at the time cited the “absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
The dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is pushing oil prices higher on concern that any sanctions would crimp output from OPEC’s No. 2 producer. “Iran’s external relations remain the key wild card” in the oil market, Barclays Capital analysts Paul Horsnell and Kevin Norrish said in a report on Jan. 11.
Iran, holder of the world’s second-largest oil and gas reserves, says it is pursuing nuclear technology solely for civilian use, while the U.S. and the EU are concerned that Iran may be seeking to make weapons.
Yesterday, Iran said it doesn’t fear a UN referral, echoing comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the nation will stick with its nuclear work.
“Tehran isn’t afraid of being referred to the council,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency today quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying. There is “no legal basis” for such a referral, he said, and asked the European Union to “try to be reasonable.”