AFP: A growing majority of states represented on the United Nations atom agency are ready to report Iran to the UN Security Council for non-compliance with international nuclear safeguards, US ambassador Gregory Schulte said Wednesday. AFP
VIENNA – A growing majority of states represented on the United Nations atom agency are ready to report Iran to the UN Security Council for non-compliance with international nuclear safeguards, US ambassador Gregory Schulte said Wednesday.
“A growing majority of countries agree with the European Union that the time has come to report Iran’s non-compliance to the Security Council,” Schulte told reporters.
The United States and the European Union are trying to rally a consensus at a meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), fearing that Tehran’s nuclear fuel work may be weapons-related.
But they are opposed by Russia, China and non-aligned states which defend Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Schulte said in a speech to the IAEA board that the United States “is a strong proponent of the peaceful use of nuclear energy” but that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) “does not allow for that right to be manipulated cynically for military ends.”
“Hiding a weapons program under the cover of ‘peaceful’ use is a danger about which the UN Secretary General and the IAEA director general have repeatedly warned us,” Schulte said.
He said the IAEA board had in November 2003 “strongly deplored Iran’s failures and breaches of its safeguards obligations” by hiding for almost two decades sensitive nuclear activities.
But at the time reporting this to the Security Council was postponed to give Iran time to comply and to allow for negotiations with the European Union on guaranteeing that Iran was not secretly developing nuclear weapons.
“How has Iran used that time? To start uranium conversion and prepare enrichment. To acclerate work on a heavy-water research reactor. To reject generous offers before they are even received. And to continue to deny the full transparency that the director general needs to verify the nature of Iran’s programs,” Schulte said.
“As the director general informed us in his latest report, that transparency is overdue,” Schulte said.
He said the United States still hoped Iran would halt nuclear fuel work and return to talks with the EU and that “reporting Iran to the Security Council will signal to Iran’s leadership that they are pursuing a course that will lead to increasing condemnation and isolation.”