Daily Telegraph: America last night called for the United Nations to force Iran to comply with its demand that it give up its uranium enrichment programme, bringing Teheran one step closer to sanctions or even military action.
The Daily Telegraph
By Anton La Guardia and Alec Russell
America last night called for the United Nations to force Iran to comply with its demand that it give up its uranium enrichment programme, bringing Teheran one step closer to sanctions or even military action.
As Iran stepped up its defiant rhetoric after announcing on Tuesday that it had mastered the technology to make nuclear fuel, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said the UN Security Council should consider its “full range of options”.
These include a mandatory resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which would place a legal obligation on Iran to suspend its enrichment programme, co-operate with nuclear inspectors and come clean about many outstanding questions over its nuclear programme that it kept secret for 18 years.
The Security Council has so far passed only a non-binding statement agreed after weeks of wrangling among the UN’s major powers. Chapter VII resolutions make it possible for sanctions, or even military action, to be approved.
Miss Rice said: “There is no doubt that Iran continues to defy the will of the international community. When the Security Council reconvenes, there will have to be some consequence for that action.”
Her remarks were in response to Iran declaring yesterday that its nuclear programme was “non-negotiable” – a direct rebuff to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He was in Teheran to urge Iran’s leaders to comply with a Security Council demand that it suspend its uranium enrichment and explain several mysteries about its nuclear programme.
“I am going to discuss bringing Iran in line with the request of the international community, to take confidence-building measures,” he said in the Iranian capital.
But his mission seemed doomed before it began, as Iran’s rulers grew increasingly defiant. On Tuesday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had mastered the technology of enriching uranium and had joined the club of advanced nuclear countries.
A day later nuclear officials said they would push ahead with plans for a massive expansion of Iran’s capability.
Hours before Mr ElBaradei arrived the president told a rally: “The Iranian nation’s right to nuclear energy is non-negotiable and no one can ever force us to back down an inch from the path that we are currently treading.
“Our answer to those who are angry about Iran obtaining the full nuclear cycle is one phrase. We say, ‘Be angry and die of this anger.’ “
Iran says its programme is for nuclear power only but the West believes that it will use the technology to make weapons.