Iran Nuclear NewsElBaradei's idea for 'timeout' with Iran is rejected by...

ElBaradei’s idea for ‘timeout’ with Iran is rejected by U.S.

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Bloomberg: The U.S. today rejected a proposal by the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency for a “simultaneous” freeze on Iran’s uranium enrichment and on Security Council sanctions adopted last month. By Bill Varner

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. today rejected a proposal by the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency for a “simultaneous” freeze on Iran’s uranium enrichment and on Security Council sanctions adopted last month.

“There is a path laid out for suspension” of the UN sanctions against Iran, U.S. Acting Ambassador Alejandro Wolff told reporters in New York. “That is Iranian suspension of their enrichment activities to be responded to by the council. That is very clear and it is not subject to reinterpretation.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with CNN on Jan. 26 that he favors a “simultaneous timeout” that would include the suspension of UN sanctions and Iranian uranium enrichment. The effort to produce a higher concentration of a uranium isotope needed for nuclear fission can be a step toward a bomb.

The Security Council voted unanimously on Dec. 23 to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, including a demand that enrichment efforts stop. The measure also calls for a ban on Iran’s acquisition of materials and technology that might be used to build an atomic bomb.

ElBaradei is to report on Iranian compliance by Feb. 23, and the Security Council would consider “further appropriate measures” in the event Iran continues to enrich uranium.

The resolution stated that the Security Council would suspend implementation of the sanctions “if and for so long as” the IAEA verifies that Iran has suspended enrichment.

Wolff said he thought it would take another resolution by the Security Council to freeze the sanctions.

Disputed Goal

Iran has refused to freeze its nuclear program, which the U.S. believes is intended to produce an atomic bomb. Iran says it is seeking nuclear energy to generate electricity.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that while it might have been possible last year to suspend Security Council movement toward the resolution that was adopted on Dec. 23, in the event Iran suspended enrichment activities, that point has been “passed.” He said there’s been a shift since then to a “qualitatively different situation.”

While agreeing that any Iranian suspension would have to be verified by the IAEA before the Security Council took action, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called ElBaradei’s proposal a “very useful reminder of the positive clauses included in the resolution.”

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