Thursday, November 10, 2005

Iran Warns Of 'Consequences' Over Nuclear Issue


Helsinki (AFP) Nov 09, 2005

Any move to refer Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions would have "unpredictable consequences," the country's representative at the UN atomic agency warned on Wednesday.

A European-sponsored resolution adopted by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), paving the way to such action before the Security Council, has "in our view has jeopardized the positive atmosphere existing between both parties," Iranian representative Mehdi Akhondzadeh said at a seminar in Finland.

"Any action from interlocutors to further complicate the situation could have unpredictable consequences," he added, speaking in Helsinki.

The resolution, drafted by European Union negotiators Britain, Germany and France and adopted on September 24, stated for the first time since the IAEA began investigating Iran in February 2003 that Tehran was in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), mainly for hiding sensitive atomic activities for almost two decades.

A finding of non-compliance is an automatic trigger for taking the matter to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, but could be difficult to implement because it has no support from Russia or China, which both have veto power on the Council.

Akhondzadeh emphasized that Iran was intent on continuing negotiations.

"Iran on numerous occasions (has) announced its readiness for the negotiations with a view to avoid confrontation, which could result in a lose-lose game," he said.

"These negotiations should be pursued in good faith with the aim to provide further assurances that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful," he added.

The United States -- which views Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism -- has long accused the Islamic state of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, although it has backed European efforts to engage Tehran diplomatically.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and that it has the right to civilian nuclear energy.

Tehran on Sunday asked the three European states, known collectively as the EU-3, to reopen stalled nuclear talks, which broke off in August when it resumed uranium conversion in defiance of international calls to maintain a suspension.

"Iran will continue the cooperation with the (IAEA) agency based on its safeguard obligation. Of course we have gone beyond this obligation in order to show the good faith of Iran," Akhondzadeh said, claiming that the country had "no hidden activity".

He insisted that Iran over the past two years had cooperated and permitted "the most extensive and intrusive IAEA inspections", allowing inspectors to study its nuclear sites "unhindered".

The British representative to the nuclear agency, Peter Jenkins, meanwhile deemed that Tehran had not done enough to prove its goodwill and ensure transparency in its nuclear program.

"We (the EU-3) came under a lot of pressure from our partners Russia and China to give more time for diplomacy ... but if Iran persists with doing absolutely nothing, our patience will run out," he cautioned.

"If the IAEA produces further disturbing reports on the Iranian program or if it becomes apparent that the Iranian government cannot be persuaded to abstain from acquiring fissile material production capability then we will have no option but to involve the UN Security Council," he added.


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