Skip to comments.Five U.N. Powers Back Resolution Against Iran's Nuclear Plans (U.S., Brits, France, Russia & China)
Posted on 02/03/2006 1:21:50 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
VIENNA, Austria European and U.S. diplomats expressed confidence Thursday that they would win the votes necessary to report concerns about Iran's nuclear-research program to the U.N. Security Council.
With the support of once-reluctant Russia and China, there was little doubt that the resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors would be approved.
All countries with veto power in the Security Council the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China now support the measure.
The resolution, which the board is likely to vote on today, "requests the director general to report to the Security Council" the steps Iran must take to diminish the international suspicions it could be seeking the ability to make a nuclear weapon.
The draft expresses "serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program" and says that there is an "absence of confidence" in Iran's assertions that it is pursuing the ability to create fuel for power plants.
The resolution under consideration at the atomic energy agency's emergency meeting this week gives Iran until the IAEA's next board meeting, in early March, to meet the agency's demand for information.
Then, the IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, will send the Security Council a full report on Iran's compliance status.
Diplomats worked into the night to achieve unanimity, which they said would make the resolution's message stronger. Syria, Cuba and Venezuela appear to be inclined to vote no, sources said.
Russian Ambassador Grigory Berdennikov restated Russia's willingness to send a report to the Security Council. He stressed, however, that the council will take "no action whatsoever" for at least another month, leaving an opening to resolve the situation within the IAEA.
Unlike the Security Council, the IAEA does not have the power to impose penalties, including sanctions.
ElBaradei said the resolution should be seen as "very much ... a window of opportunity for Iran" to step back from the brink of outright defiance of the IAEA.
"This is a critical stage; this is not a crisis," he said "This is about confidence building [by Iran]; it's not about an imminent threat."
ElBaradei added, "I am making very clear that the Security Council is not asked at this stage to take any action."
The Tehran government has threatened to break off cooperation with the IAEA if it is sent before the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, or take lesser punitive measures.
The countries sponsoring the resolution took a tack similar to ElBaradei's, pledging to refrain from seeking sanctions against Iran at the Security Council for the time being.
"My government continues to support all efforts to seek a peaceful, diplomatic solution even as we enter a new phase of diplomacy," said Gregg Schulte, U.S. delegate to the U.N. Organizations in Vienna.
"We are not now seeking sanctions or other punitive measures on Iran. ... We do not seek to harm the Iranian people or deprive Iran of its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," he added.
Iran's representatives continued their defiant language, insisting that despite mounting international disapproval, Iran has a right to enrich uranium at its Natanz facility, which it reopened last month, breaking seals placed on it by the IAEA.
Iran contends that it has been acting in good faith for the past two years, exceeding its legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Iranian ambassador in Vienna, A.A. Soltanieh, accused the United States of "a long history of unilateral policy" in his statement to the IAEA board Thursday. "How could the international community including the Iranian people believe that ... passing the issue to the United Nations Security Council is another way of diplomacy?"
Iran says it now is in compliance with its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty.
However, suspicions remain about Iran's intentions, based on the recent discovery that its government had secretly pursued nuclear technology for 18 years.
Iran has been reluctant to respond to inspectors' questions aimed at determining if the program had weapons implications.
Officials have not given complete answers, nor allowed the IAEA unfettered access to its research sites or the scientists who worked in them.
In August, Iran restarted its plant at Isfahan, where it conducted advanced chemical processing of uranium.
In January, it took a bolder step when it reopened Natanz and announced it would restart research on uranium enrichment, a more complex procedure that can produce fuel-grade, or weapons-grade, material.
Although no processing has started yet, according to a report by ElBaradei that was sent to member countries this week, considerable refurbishing of equipment has been completed.
Uhmm...OK...Weapons? We ain't got no stinking weapons! nahynaynanaynah!
"You're breaking my balls, Mr. ElBaradei!"
This is a huge diplomatic win for Condi and Bolton that will go unreported.
""You're breaking my balls, Mr. ElBaradei!""
Ok, 15 dollars then :)
""You're breaking my balls, Mr. ElBaradei!""
""Ok, 15 dollars then :)""
Ouuuuhhhhhh....Please, Man take that tight grip you have on my balls, Your breaking em.
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