Iran may soon be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if other steps prove fruitless. That is the view of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who has talked Friday about the options available. Straw also said that the United States and Britain haven't discussed military action against Iran.
Jack Straw says the international community should take a sensible, patient approach to end the standoff with Iran.
Interviewed on BBC Radio, the British Foreign Secretary is now calling for a series of urgently arranged meetings with a number of key countries.
"We are going to have extensive and urgent consultations with our key partners including the United States, Russia and China and leaders of what is called the non-aligned movement, particularly India and Brazil," he said. "We are calling an emergency meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and we should be putting before that emergency meeting of the board of governors a proposal that this matter should now be referred to the Security Council."
But Straw says any referral to the Security Council does not necessarily mean that sanctions must follow. As he pointed out in his radio interview, there are other options available short of economic sanctions.
"There are plenty of examples what the Security Council has made what are called Chapter Seven resolutions, the strongest resolution that they can, imposing obligations on member states without the resort to sanctions," he said. " Syrians are the subject at the moment of some very clear Chapter Seven obligations. There is the possibility of sanctions but no agreement on that and because of the possibility Syria is complying."
Straw also believes that military action is not a viable option at this stage.
"This can only be resolved by peaceful means, let us be clear about that," he said. "Nobody is talking about invading Iran or taking military action against Iran. And, again to quote the White House, Iran is not Iraq."
Whatever the next step, Iran is threatening to halt all instant inspections at its nuclear sites by U.N. observers if the matter does in fact go to the Security Council.