Reuters: Iran must halt all nuclear research shortly or face U.N. Security Council pressure to do so, the European Union said in remarks prepared for a U.N. nuclear watchdog board debate on Wednesday. VIENNA, March 8 (Reuters) – Iran must halt all nuclear research shortly or face U.N. Security Council pressure to do so, the European Union said in remarks prepared for a U.N. nuclear watchdog board debate on Wednesday.
It said Iran’s decision to curb International Atomic Energy Agency inspections after the IAEA board notified the council of its case a month ago heightened suspicions about Iranian goals. The West believes Iran may have a covert atom bomb programme.
An Iranian collision course with the council looks more likely after Tehran brushed aside a tentative Russian offer on Tuesday to let it do limited atomic research if it refrained from enriching uranium on an industrial scale for 7-9 years.
The EU statement ruled out even low-scale research with centrifuges, machines which convert uranium UF6 gas into fuel suitable for nuclear power reactors or, if enriched to high levels, the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
“The EU therefore reiterates its call on Iran to return to a full suspension of all enrichment and enrichment-related activities including research and development,” said the statement, to be delivered by current EU president Austria.
Iran should also ratify an IAEA protocol allowing short notice inspections of nuclear sites and stop parrying key IAEA probes into the nature of its nuclear programme, which Tehran says is meant only to generate electricity.
“Key questions remain unanswered … (and) could have a military dimension, such as a document related to the fabrication of nuclear weapons components,” it said. Iran showed inspectors the document, saying nuclear black marketeers provided it unsolicited, but refused to let the IAEA copy it.
“…If Iran continues to fail to heed the repeated requests made in successive IAEA board resolutions, the Security Council should now put its weight behind the board’s requests and the IAEA’s efforts to resolve outstanding questions,” the EU said.
“Iran’s decision to limit cooperation further increases international concerns and suspicions about Iranian intentions and makes it more difficult for the IAEA to resolve outstanding issues,” the statement added.
Wednesday’s debate by the 35-nation IAEA board of governors paves the way to Security Council involvement.