US ready for diplomatic action if Iran fails to heed UN uranium call
VIENNA (AFP) Sep 18, 2004
The United States reserves the right to take diplomatic action if Iran fails to honor a United Nations call for it to cease all uranium enrichment activities, US Under Secretary of State John Bolton told AFP Saturday.
"We have the option to do something before November. We are not now going to sleep until November," he said by telephone after the UN nuclear watchdog adopted a resolution in Vienna that set a November 25 deadline for a full review of Iran's nuclear program and called on Iran to "immediately" suspend all uranium enrichment activities.
Uranium enrichment can make fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive material for atomic bombs.
Bolton said the United States could call on the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet earlier than the planned next board of governors meeting in November if the suspension was not working out.
He said other measures were possible but did not provide details.
The United States, which charges that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, could on its own call on the UN Security Council to look into Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
The United States wants to put an end to an IAEA investigation that began in February 2003, and which Washington thinks is dragging on, giving Iran breathing space in which to pursue secret weapons activities.
US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, who is in Vienna for a non-proliferation conference, said in a statement: "The clock is now ticking on Iran to fully comply with the resolution and abandon its nuclear weapons program or face referral to the United Nations Security Council."
Bolton said Iran was "pettifogging" by trying to say it had the right to enrich uranium since this is not banned by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), when at the same time it was guilty of breaches of NPT safeguards that have already been documented by the IAEA.
Iran "is trying to obscure the central issue," Bolton said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.