Security Council members meet for emergency meeting in London over Iran nuclear program
Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nation's Security Council met on Monday in London for an emergency meeting to discuss future strategies in dealing with Iran's controversial nuclear program. Dyring the meet, they started drafting a resolution demanding the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) refer Iran to the Security Council.
Britain's Foreign Office said the resolution would call for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board in Vienna on February 2-3 to hold a referral ballot.
Britain, France and Germany had previously engaged in negotiations with Iran which ended in a deadlock following Iran's breaking seals on three nuclear reactors placed by the IAEA.
Also in an attempt to end the deadlock, Russia had recently offered to allow Iran to carry out research on its soil where monitors would have access to facilities, however, Iran has thus far refused the offer.
Russia is currently building a $1.2 billion nuclear power plant in Iran and reportedly hopes to build more in the future.
Iran, however, threatened to cease cooperation with IAEA inspectors if it is referred to the council, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Saturday that he would not yield to international pressure and that uranium research is within Iran's right.
The United States and other have charged that Iran is attempting to ultimately attain nuclear weapons.
IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei stated in an interview with the American magazine Newsweek that he has not been able to determine whether or not Iran's intentions are to create a nuclear weapon, or to utilize its nuclear program for civilian energy purposes.
"For the last three years, we have been doing intensive verification in Iran, and even after three years I am not yet in a position to make a judgment on the peaceful nature of the (nuclear) program," he said, according to the AFP.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said there should be no rush to impose sanctions. Speaking at a conference on international terrorism at the Royal United Services Institute, Straw noted that a referral to the Security Council did not necessarily mean economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed on Saturday that he still has faith in diplomatic dialogue with Tehran.
An emergency meeting of the IAEA may be called by the end of the month to discuss future steps to be taken.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)