New York Times: The United States said it had won agreement on Friday from the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany to seek sanctions against Iran over its refusal to shut down a nuclear enrichment program that could be used to build bombs. The New York Times
By PHILIP SHENON
Published: October 7, 2006
LONDON, Oct. 6 The United States said it had won agreement on Friday from the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany to seek sanctions against Iran over its refusal to shut down a nuclear enrichment program that could be used to build bombs.
While the State Department praised the agreement, which was reached at a one-day meeting here of senior officials from the six nations, American diplomats conceded that there could still be long and difficult negotiations over what penalties to impose and their timing.
Indeed, none of the other nations here Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia issued such an explicit statement after the meeting. In the past, China and Russia have both said they would be wary of sanctions against Iran, despite its defiance of international demands to end nuclear enrichment.
R. Nicholas Burns, the American under secretary of state for political affairs, said after the meeting that whatever the other nations diplomatic language, What weve got is an agreement to go to the Security Council to punish Iran.
In essence, Mr. Burns said, the six nations concluded that Iran is not prepared to negotiate with us based on conditions set last spring, and that well go forward with sanctions.
But he admitted the issue was far from decided. I think theres going to be a spirited debate about what kind of sanctions should be agreed to.
Mr. Burns was the senior American negotiator at the talks for the most of the day because Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who traveled here from Iraq, was delayed when her military jet and its replacement developed mechanical problems, stranding her in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil for about two hours.
The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who attended the London meeting, may have come closest to the American statement when he told ZDF television on Friday that if there is no new decision from inside the Iranian leadership, there is at present no alternative to having the Security Council deal with this conflict.
Agence France-Presse quoted the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, as saying that the six nations have decided, in a unified manner, to work together in the next few days to speak about proportionate and reversible sanctions.
The debate over Irans nuclear program is being conducted while the United States weighs a broad list of new sanctions to bring against North Korea, if it follows through on its threat to carry out a nuclear test.
Like his North Korean counterparts, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has said he will not be intimidated by the possibility of economic and military sanctions. This nation will not be frightened by the threats, Irans state-run television quoted him as saying Thursday.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful uses, but the United States says it is a cover for making nuclear weapons.
A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday that as a result of the London meeting, senior diplomats from the six countries would talk next week by video conference to begin debating the list of sanctions on Iran.
The official said that the United States and other nations would work from a two-page menu of potential penalties that was drawn up earlier this year, and that the sanctions would be ordered in stages.
The agreement we have is that we will begin a series of graduated sanction measures against Iran, and that well start with sanctions directed at Irans nuclear industry, like limits on the import of so-called dual-use technology and on the travel of scientists and bureaucrats involved in the Iranian nuclear program.
The London meeting was called after the European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, acting on behalf of the six nations, reported this week that he had reached a stalemate in negotiations with the Iranians over curtailing their nuclear program.
The British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, praised Mr. Solana and said there were two paths ahead a negotiated end to Irans enrichment program, or sanctions and we regret that Iran has not yet taken the positive one.
While Ms. Rices transportation troubles in Iraq meant that she had little chance to participate in Fridays negotiations in London, she said she would be actively involved next week in talks over the next step with the Iranians.
When the diplomatic course is not going to produce an outcome, then the other path has to be pursued, she said. I think were getting pretty close to that time.
The United States has always said that this cant go on endlessly, and we are already more than a month past the deadline, she added, referring to Irans failure to abide by the Aug. 31 deadline set by the United Nations for suspension of the enrichment program.