UPI U.N. Correspondent
United Nations (UPI) Mar 31, 2006
The U.N. Security Council wants Iran to end uranium enrichment-related programs, comply with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency and a report on Tehran's response in 30 days.
"We're prepared to be back here on the 31st day given the Iranian record to date of consistently flouting the IAEA, attempting to obscure what they've done and to continue to pursue nuclear weapons," said U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, making clear Washington's keen interest.
The council's statement Wednesday evening was an answer to the IAEA's report that "uncertainties related to the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear program have not been clarified after three years of intensive agency verification."
The report said under normal circumstances, drawing any conclusion about a country's nuclear activities would take time and the duration would be even longer in the case of Iran because of a number of factors, including the "undeclared nature" of Iran's past program.
In 2003, it was discovered Iran had carried out secret nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the NPT.
After lengthy negotiations between Iran and the EU3 of Britain, France and Germany, plus the European Union, and inspections by the United Nations' nuclear monitoring agency, the IAEA, no agreement was reached on just how far Iran was going with its nuclear research.
Last month the Board of Governors of the Vienna-based IAEA finally referred the question to the 15-member council.
Britain and France first floated "elements" that could have been put in a resolution or a Presidential Statement.
The United States, apparently considering its poor relations with Iran would be seen as impolitic in taking a leading role, worked hard as a not-so-silent partner with the leading trio.
Since a "go slow" attitude had been adopted, at the behest mainly of China and Russia, two of the veto-wielding five permanent members of the council, a statement was decided upon. While it is a formal document of the council, it does not carry the weight of international law a resolution could.
It took three weeks for the "P5," with Germany sitting in, leading some of the participants to dub some of the negotiation sessions "EU3, plus three" meetings.
Within an hour of the P5 accord Wednesday, the full council approved the statement.
It took Ambassador Cesar Mayoral of Argentina, this month's president of the council, just six minutes to read it aloud.
"After all those weeks of hard work, I believe they were worth it," said China's Ambassador Wang Guangya. "First of all it sends a strong message to support the authority of IAEA. Secondly, the message is to support a diplomatic effort that will lead to a negotiated solution of this issue."
So, the council noted with "serious concern Iran's decision to resume enrichment-related activities, including research and development, and to suspend cooperation with the IAEA under" an additional NPT protocol.
The statement called on Tehran to take the steps required by the IAEA board in the first operative paragraph of its Feb. 4 resolution referring the matter to the council.
The council statement didn't quote from it, merely referring to the steps as "essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose" of Iran's nuclear program and to resolve outstanding questions. The council underscored "the particular importance of re-establishing full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development to be verified by the IAEA."
It could be seen in the eight paragraph statement how the sponsors, initially wishing to reiterate the IAEA resolution with specifics, bowed to China and Russia who wanted a more general document.
"Some of our colleagues were anxious that some wording should not actually be put in the text," said British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry. "We have reluctantly gone along with that approach. But I want to be quite clear, that the P5 are absolutely agreed on the strategic priority that Iran should not have nuclear weapons. Secondly, we are agreed that we assume at all times our responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security."
China and Russia did not want the peace and security reference in the text, fearing it would be an easy stepping-stone to sanctions.
"The Security Council expresses the conviction that such (enrichment) suspension and full and verified Iranian compliance would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran's nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes," the statement continued.
Before sending the board's report to the council, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said the panel would "lend its weight to the IAEA's efforts so as to make sure Iran will work as closely as possible with us."
What happens after 30 days will be the subject of discussions in Berlin Thursday during U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's meeting with the other P5, and Germany, foreign ministers, Bolton said.
"They will be having a forward looking discussion," he said. "Now we look to the future and see if Iran varies its conduct from that which it's been following for at least the past 18 years."
Source: United Press International
UN Security Council
International Atomic Energy Agency
Putin Stresses Russias Need For Nuclear Deterrent
Moscow (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday his country needed to maintain a nuclear deterrent to guarantee its security, Russian news agencies reported. "An analysis of the international situation forces Russia to view the nuclear deterrent as a fundamental necessity for security," Ria Novosti quoted Putin during a meeting about the nuclear defence industry.
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