AFP: US pressure on the UN Security Council to penalise Iran for its nuclear policy is “irrational” and will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Qatar Wednesday. by Faisal Baatout
DOHA, March 22, 2006 (AFP) – US pressure on the UN Security Council to penalise Iran for its nuclear policy is “irrational” and will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Qatar Wednesday.
“I predict that the irrational American view will not prevail in the security council,” Mottaki told reporters after meeting with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa.
The tiny resource-rich Gulf emirate is a strong US ally and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
“There are two views in the Security Council — the first is based on confrontation and is advocated by a few countries and the second presses for a peaceful resolution,” said Mottaki.
“The European members of the Security Council do not share the same opinion, and some of the permanent and non-permanent members of the council are saying that dialogue must be given a chance,” he added without specifying any of the 15 council members.
Expressing a contrary sentiment, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she was confident Washington and its allies would reach agreement on a resolution to pressure Iran to give up its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.
The council is debating a response to Tehran’s defiance to demands that it halt uranium enrichment, which the Islamic republic insists is for peaceful purposes.
But the council hit a stalemate on Tuesday postponing a scheduled meeting to allow more time to narrow differences on a Franco-British statement on the Iranian nuclear crisis, diplomats said. No new date had been set.
Western powers see adoption of the non-binding statement as the first step in a graduated response that could ultimately lead to sanctions against Tehran.
But Russia and China, which have close economic and energy ties with Tehran, oppose sanctions and insist on the International Atomic Energy Agency retaining the lead role in the issue.
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the council’s five veto-wielding permanent members.
Commenting on the expected talks between Tehran and Washington over Iraq, which were endorsed Tuesday by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mottaki said violence in the war-shattered country would ease with a US timetable to pull its troops out.
“Iraq will be stable if the security file was handed over to the Iraqi government and people and America set a timetable to pull out its troops,” he said calling on Iraqis to form a new government “as soon as possible.”
Mottaki had earlier met Qatar’s emir for “a few hours to discuss regional and international affairs and bilateral relations,” said the official QNA news agency.
Qatar has increasingly been gaining a high profile diplomatic role in the region. In particular, it has been dealing with Iran and Syria, both at loggerheads with the Washington and the West over their policies.
The emir met late Tuesday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, Syrian Ambassador Hajem Ibrahim told AFP without giving further details.
Qatar has been involved in diplomacy to try to calm tensions between Beirut and Damascus more than a year after the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. Lebanon’s anti-Syrian parliamentary majority blames the crime on Syria, the long-time powerbroker in Lebanon before it pulled it troops out last year.
The killing of Hariri and 22 others is the subject of an ongoing UN probe which has been seeking to question Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.