Reuters: Countries taking action against Iran independent of the United Nations, as called for by Washington, would not be helpful in luring Tehran back to negotiations on its nuclear program, Russia said on Wednesday. By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Countries taking action against Iran independent of the United Nations, as called for by Washington, would not be helpful in luring Tehran back to negotiations on its nuclear program, Russia said on Wednesday.
The collective approach, embodied in a sanctions resolution adopted unanimously by the U.N. Security Council last month, is the way to go, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
“It is our very strong belief that as long as we act collectively, we’d better stay this way. If, in addition and outside of those collective measures, we start doing various unilateral things, we don’t think that is going to be helpful,” Churkin told reporters. Moscow is building an $800 million light-water nuclear reactor for Iran at Bushehr.
The restrictions on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, imposed by the 15-nation Security Council in a Dec. 23 resolution, were intended to pressure Iran to halt sensitive nuclear activities and resume talks aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions.
Iran says it wants only to produce nuclear power, but the West says Tehran is using a civilian energy program as a cover for developing nuclear weapons.
After the council approved the sanctions, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Washington would press Russia, China, Japan and the European Union to take more vigorous action as individual governments, including cutting off lending to Iran.
“We don’t think this resolution is enough in itself. And we’re certainly not going to put all our eggs in a U.N. basket,” Burns said at the time.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran would stick to its nuclear work and called the council resolution illegal and invalid.
But Churkin said council members should not be discouraged by those comments. “Sometimes all sorts of statements are made. But we have to do our diplomatic and political thing, and we believe there is still hope,” he said.