Reuters: Iran is a threat to global peace and has overstepped the limits of international law in seeking to pursue its nuclear ambitions, a top U.S. official said on Friday. By Kamil Zaheer
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Iran is a threat to global peace and has overstepped the limits of international law in seeking to pursue its nuclear ambitions, a top U.S. official said on Friday.
“We believe that Iran is a threat to peace both in its own region and globally,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said at a news conference in New Delhi.
“Iran has overstepped the bounds of international law in seeking to use its facility at Natanz for centrifuge research and enrichment,” Burns said, after talks with Indian officials on nuclear and regional issues, including Tehran’s nuclear plans.
The West, particularly Washington, suspects Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.
“The United States believes that there should be a vote at the IAEA meeting on Feb. 2 and this should be referred to the Security Council … Iran has to know there has to be penalty paid for such actions,” Burns said.
The issue of referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council will come up when the U.N. nuclear watchdog — the International Atomic Energy Agency — holds an emergency meeting on Feb. 2.
Burns was in New Delhi this week to talk to Indian officials about how to implement a landmark civilian nuclear deal signed with India last July and discuss regional issues.
But India — a nuclear weapons power with increasingly warm ties with Washington but a traditional friendship with Iran — urged caution on both sides and called for further efforts by France, Germany and Britain to resolve the standoff.
“We remain very supportive of the initiatives taken by the European three to engage Iran in finding an amicable solution … with regards to the Iranian nuclear programme,” Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told the news conference.
“It stands to reason that India which has with Iran a very longstanding, close and, what we call a civilisational relationship with its people, would not like see a situation of confrontation developing in a region that is very close to India.”
Tehran is a major source of oil and gas for India, but New Delhi voted for Iran’s referral to the Security Council at an IAEA vote last September, angering its old friend.
Saran said New Delhi wanted a broader international consensus before any action was taken against Iran. China and Russia have also urged caution before referring the Islamic nation to the Security Council.
Iran’s central bank governor was quoted as saying on Friday by an Iranian news agency that Tehran was moving its foreign assets to an undisclosed destination to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions over its nuclear plans.
(Additional reporting by Palash Kumar)