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Analysis: Iran's Course Through U.N.

United Nations (UPI) Jan 13, 2006
With the breakdown in nuclear negotiations between Iran and the European Union-3 it looks like the issue is headed for the horseshoe-shaped table of the Security Council at U.N. World Headquarters in New York.

Well, maybe it is, but not just yet. Following protocol, to properly get the issue before the panel of 15 it should be referred by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

Then, when it does get to UNHQ, there likely will be negotiations, with keen eyes on what positions China and Russia will take, particularly where Beijing, a past supporter of Iran and importer of its oil, stands. Russia has already served notice it will not stand in the way of IAEA referral but gave no further commitment than that on whether it would support a council resolution against Iran.

However, the prospect of more talking was raised Thursday.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he discussed the situation with IAEA Executive Director Mohamed ElBaradei and telephoned Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, in an effort to avoid such a referral, which could, but most likely will not, end in council-imposed sanctions.

"Basically I called him (Larijani) to urge him to avoid any escalation, to exercise restraint, go back to give the negotiations a chance and that the only viable solution lies in a negotiated one," Annan said about the 40-minute phone conversation.

"He in turn affirmed to me that they are interested in serious and constructive negotiations, but within a timeframe, indicating that the last time they did it for 2.5 years and no result, but did indicate they were also interested in negotiations and were serious about it."

The secretary-general's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Annan Thursday evening called in the ambassadors of Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the United States to brief them on the conversation.

"The interest of all concerned is for a constructive process that will give diplomacy a chance," Dujarric said after the 30-minute session. "The secretary-general reiterated the need for Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA."

The envoys were tight-lipped emerging from the session.

Britain's Emyr Jones Parry said, "I've been in a private meeting." Russia's Andrey Denisov said only he expected more diplomatic efforts in the crisis, but Germany's Ambassador Wolfgang Trautwein, when asked if the secretary-general was going to be getting more involved, told United Press International, "He will be involved and he made that quite clear by talking to Larijani. So that's good for everybody. Larijani gets the same message."

This latest round of diplomatic maneuverings follows Iran breaking the seals earlier this week left by IAEA inspectors at nuclear sites where they resumed nuclear research.

This prompted the EU-3, Britain, France and Germany, and the EU, to issue a statement Thursday in Berlin.

"This is not a dispute between Iran and Europe, but between Iran and the whole international community," it said. "Nor is it a dispute about Iran's rights under the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is about Iran's failure to build the necessary confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program."

Here the EU-3 was referring to Tehran's decades of clandestine nuclear research that it should have come clean on. Now the international community does not trust Iran when it says it is only seeking peaceful uses of nuclear energy, primarily to produce electricity Tehran says will be needed when its oil reserves are depleted.

Israel has the most to fear from the development of nuclear weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year said the country should be "wiped off" the map.

"Iran continues to challenge the authority of the IAEA Board by ignoring its repeated requests and providing only partial co-operation to the IAEA," the EU statement continued. "It is important for the credibility of the NPT and the international non-proliferation system generally, as well as the stability of the region, that the international community responds firmly to this challenge.

"We continue to be committed to resolving the issue diplomatically," the Berlin statement said. "We believe the time has now come for the Security Council to become involved to reinforce the authority of IAEA resolutions. We will, therefore, be calling for an Extraordinary IAEA Board meeting."

But they have not yet requested such a meeting, which can be called in 24 hours. Instead, the EU-3 is setting up a meeting in Europe next week which would also include China, Russia and the United States.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded almost immediately to the EU3.

"The United States fully supports the decision announced today," she said in a statement. "We agree that the Iranian regime's defiant resumption of uranium enrichment work leaves the EU with no choice but to request an emergency meeting of the IAEA board of governors. That meeting would be to report Iran's noncompliance with its safeguards obligations to the U.N. Security Council."

Added Rice, "We are gravely concerned by Iran's long history of hiding sensitive nuclear activities from the IAEA in violation of its obligations, its refusal to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation, its rejection of diplomatic initiatives offered by the EU and Russia and now its dangerous defiance of the entire international community."

Russia had offered to help Tehran with uranium enrichment, but not in Iran.

"The IAEA board of governors must go forward with a report to the U.N. Security Council," she said. "The council should call for the Iranian regime to step away from its nuclear weapons ambitions."

The IAEA board of governors already has had a resolution on Iran prepared since autumn, but it was decided to hold off sending it to the council during the now-failed negotiations. Its passage requires only a simple majority of the 35-member board.

Source: United Press International

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World Powers Threaten Defiant Iran Over Nuclear Crisis
Vienna (AFP) Jan 11, 2006
World powers threatened Iran with UN Security Council sanctions Wednesday after it resumed sensitive nuclear activities as a defiant Tehran vowed to press ahead with its disputed atomic programme.

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