Security Council pressures Iran on nuke issue

first_imgUNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council demanded Wednesday that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, the first time the powerful body has directly urged Tehran to clear up suspicions that it is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran remained defiant, maintaining its right to nuclear power but insisting that it is committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and has no intention of seeking weapons of mass destruction. “Pressure and threats do not work with Iran. Iran is a country that is allergic to pressure and to threats and intimidation,” Iranian Ambassador Javad Zarif said. He later added that “Iran insists on its right to have access to nuclear technology for explicitly peaceful purposes. We will not abandon that claim to our legitimate right.” The 15-nation council unanimously approved a statement that will ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to report back in 30 days on Iran’s compliance with demands to stop enriching uranium. Members of the council wanted to reach a deal before today, when foreign ministers from the five veto-wielding council members and Germany meet in Berlin to discuss strategy on Iran. Diplomats would not say exactly what will happen if Iran does not comply with the statement within 30 days, but suggested that would be discussed by the foreign ministers in Berlin. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Diplomats portrayed the statement, which is not legally binding, as a first, modest step toward compelling Iran to make clear that its program is for peaceful purposes. The Security Council could eventually impose economic sanctions, though Russia and China say they oppose such tough measures. “The council is expressing its clear concern and is saying to Iran that it should comply with the wishes of the governing board,” France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said. The document was adopted by consensus and without a vote after a flurry of negotiations among the five veto-wielding council members. In the end, Britain, France and the United States made several concessions to China and Russia, Iran’s allies, who wanted as mild a statement as possible. Still, the Western countries said the statement expresses the international community’s shared conviction that Iran must comply with the governing board of the IAEA and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Enrichment is a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead. last_img read more