UN gives Iran 1 month to stop uranium enrichment
Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 07:09
Qatar, the only Muslim nation on the council, voted against the resolution, which expressed „serious concern” about Iran's failure to halt the enrichment of uranium in the face of International Atomic Energy Agency demands. Ambassador Nassir al-Nasser of Qatar, a Persian Gulf exporter of liquefied natural gas, said the measure „neither serves the security in the region nor the unity of the council” and would „intensify the conflagration in the region.” He said the measure was hasty because Iran hasn't yet given a formal response to the international offer. The resolution raises the nuclear dispute to a new level because it makes Iran's compliance mandatory, a step that may bring the Iranian leadership into talks. The U.S. and its European allies are trying to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. President George W. Bush said the UN had passed a „strong resolution” that communicated a „unified message” to Iran. „The Iranians must hear loud and clear the world's intent that upon working together we make sure they do not end up with a nuclear weapon,” Bush said after a boat tour of Miami's port to inspect homeland security precautions. The UN measure calls for countries to deny Iran access to goods and technology that could be used for its nuclear program and says the international community seeks to find a beneficial solution that would allow Iran to continue nuclear work while guaranteeing it is for peaceful purposes.
The council's action is „a message to Iran that we're open to negotiations,” U.K. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said before the vote. „We want Iran to respond positively to our package, but the package is quite clear about what it offers and what it requires”. „We hope very much this will concentrate minds in Tehran, and out of it we will have a response we would all like to see,” the British envoy said. If Iran refuses the UN demand, the Security Council could move to discussions under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which provides for unspecified economic penalties. The current resolution cites Article 40 of the charter, which demands compliance with UN measures.
„A few powers have spared no effort to use the Security Council as a tool to prevent Iran from expressing its inalienable right to nuclear technology,” Iranian envoy Javad Zarif said during yesterday's session of the Security Council. Zarif said his country was the only victim of weapons of mass destruction in modern times and „rejects development and use of these inhuman weapons.” He was referring to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons attacks on Iran in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. The U.S. repeated its complaint that Iran is running a military nuclear program while claiming its objective is to produce electricity. Iran has „consistently and brazenly defied the international community by continuing its pursuance of nuclear weapons,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told the council.
The U.S.-backed package of incentives drafted by the European Union, which includes the lifting of some U.S. sanctions as well as access to light-water nuclear reactors, was formally presented to Iran on June 6 by the Security Council's five permanent members -- the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China -- plus Germany. Iran would also receive airplane parts and World Trade Organization membership under the proposal. Iran, holder of the world's second-largest reserves of oil and natural gas, says the enriched uranium is needed for a power plant, as allowed under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The International Atomic Energy Agency on March 8 referred Iran to the Security Council after three years of agency inspections failed to declare Iran's atomic work peaceful. In November 2003, the UN agency criticized Iran for concealing parts of its nuclear program for 18 years. The Security Council passed a non-binding resolution for Iran to suspend enrichment by an April 28 deadline, which Iran failed to meet. (Bloomberg)