Security Council unlikely to take action when UN deadline for Iran expires
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 30 (AFP) Aug 30, 2006
The UN Security Council is unlikely to take action Thursday when a deadline for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities expires, its current president said Wednesday.
"Most likely nothing will happen tomorrow," Ghana's UN Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng, the council president for August, told reporters.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric for his part said International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed El Baradei would simultaneously transmit his report on the Iranian nuclear issue to both the chairman of the IAEA Board and to Effah-Apenteng by early afternoon Thursday.
The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities by August 31, with Western countries suspecting that Tehran's nuclear program hides a bid to develop an atomic bomb.
The five permanent members of the council -- Britan, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany have sought to coax Tehran into suspending enrichment by offering a package of security, trade and technology incentives.
But Iran has made clear that it intends to pursue uranium enrichment which it began earlier this year. Enrichment makes fuel for nuclear power reactors but can also produce the raw material for atom bombs.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns would meet senior officials from Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany early next week to discuss sanctions.
Discussions on specific language for a possible UN sanctions resolution would take place at UN headquarters in New York involving US Ambassador John Bolton and his counterparts from the permanent members of the Security Council, he said.
"I would expect the dossier to come back into the council shortly, but only after a further period of discussion among capitals," Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told reporters Tuesday. "I would expect activities here to resume toward the middle of September."
But Bolton told reporters here Wednesday: "I expect we will be talking about what to do well before that."
In Vienna, diplomats said Iran started a new round of enriching uranium only days ahead of the Security Council deadline.
"They put in small quantities of (feedstock) uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas last week," into a cascade line of 164 centrifuges in Natanz which enrich uranium, a diplomat close to the IAEA said Wednesday.
But Russia and China are reluctant to impose sanctions, even though US officials said these two countries have promised to honor a commitment to crack down on Iran if it rejects the conditions for the incentive package.
Diplomats said a compromise solution was being floated to allow Iran to not actually enrich uranium but only work with "dry running" centrifuges.
But US officials have said that even spinning centrifuges dry, with inert gas for example, would help Iran move towards the so-called "break-out capacity" of having the technology needed to make nuclear weapons.
Diplomats said Iran had paused in actual enrichment until last week as it had been running centrifuges dry, without the feedstock gas.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.