- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2005

VIENNA, Austria — The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency sought yesterday to delay a push by the United States and Western European powers to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, saying negotiations could still resolve the crisis.

European Union diplomats and a U.S. official at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Russia and China remained opposed to referral to the Security Council, despite strong lobbying by Americans and Europeans.

But they also said that the West would likely force the issue to a vote regardless.

“The difficulty remains with Russia and China and some of the Third World countries,” said one of the diplomats.

Nonetheless, U.S. and European diplomats circulated a resolution among the IAEA’s 35 board members, urging a vote at meetings this week to refer the nuclear dispute with Iran to the Security Council.

The document requests that IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei “report … to the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations … Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply” with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in New York that she expected the Security Council to take up the matter.

“I’m quite certain that at some point in time Iran is going to be referred to the Security Council, particularly if Iran continues to demonstrate that it is not prepared to give the international community assurances that it is not going to try to build a nuclear weapons program under cover of civil nuclear power,” Miss Rice said at the United Nations.

Preparing the draft had been on hold over the past few days to give Iran a chance to deflect the Security Council threat by offering sufficient concessions — and after that failed to happen, to try to get Russia and China on board.

The U.S. official said “the votes are there,” but any vote “will go right down the wire.”

Like the Europeans, he requested anonymity as a condition of discussing the sensitive state of behind-the-scenes maneuvering on Iran.

Mr. ElBaradei, the chief U.N. nuclear inspector, criticized both Tehran’s intransigence and U.S.-European calls for Security Council involvement as examples of “confrontations and political brinkmanship.”

“I very much hope that this week all the parties … create the necessary conditions to go back to the negotiating table,” said Mr. ElBaradei.

Washington and the EU started to lobby jointly for Security Council referral last month after Iran effectively walked away from talks with Germany, Britain and France and resumed uranium conversion. The process of conversion is a precursor to enrichment, which can make nuclear fuel or weapons-grade uranium.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide