- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2006

NEW YORK — The U.N. nuclear-watchdog agency said yesterday that Iran has ignored a U.N. Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium and has failed to cooperate fully with nuclear inspectors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the U.N. Security Council this was a “matter of concern.”

Shortly after the report was released by the IAEA, President Bush informed reporters at the White House.

“It’s very important for the Iranians to understand there’s a common desire by a lot of nations of this world to convince, peacefully convince them that they ought to give up their [nuclear] weapons ambitions.”

“Diplomacy is just beginning,” Mr. Bush said, urging swift U.N. Security Council action to adopt enforcement measures to compel Iran to fulfill Security Council demands.

“Now that we’ve got the goal in mind, we’re working on the tactics,” the president said.

Shortly before the IAEA issued its report, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in Iran, “We do not give a damn about such [U.N.] resolutions.”

The eight-page IAEA report broke little new ground, but underscored that Iran is not cooperating with the agency’s requests for documents and details of the program, which was covert for nearly two decades. Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear reactors or enriched further to build atomic bombs.

The report followed an 30-day deadline by the Security Council for Iran to halt its enrichment activities.

Britain and France will take the lead on drafting a Security Council resolution, which may open the way to targeted sanctions or even military action if it is drafted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which carries the force of international law.

That article of the U.N. Charter allows for the use of force to maintain international peace and security.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent council states — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia — are expected to meet at the United Nations on May 9, for a conference on the Middle East, which would allow for a discussion of Iran’s nuclear program.

U.S. diplomats said that envoys would be meeting in the United Nations and in capitals next week, as the British and French begin to draft a council resolution calling on Iran to comply with all IAEA safeguards and suspend the enrichment process.

Key council nations remain divided on whether that resolution should have the force of international law, and whether it could be backed up with threats of sanctions or even military action.

Russia and China, both of which hold vetoes in the U.N. body, are reluctant to approve a Chapter 7 resolution.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters yesterday that his country would emphasize diplomacy.

“There are a lot of problems in the region, and we should not do anything that would cause the situation to become even more complicated,” Mr. Wang said.

Key questions for the council are whether the resolution should call Iran a threat to international peace and security, and how long a time Tehran should be given to comply with IAEA demands.

“Our view is it should be a very short period,” said U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton.



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