Accessibility links

IAEA Sees Russian Offer as Crucial in Iran Nuclear Talks

  • Marlene Smith

The International Atomic Energy Agency is considering reporting Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council, but hopes a Russian deal will avoid escalation of the standoff. The Russians are locked in diplomatic talks with the Iranians.

The IAEA board of governors started a two-day special session behind closed doors to consider a resolution to send the Iranian nuclear dossier to the U.N. Security Council.

The resolution presented by France, Germany, and Britain is backed by the United States, Russia and China. It calls for Iran to fully cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

It says there are outstanding questions surrounding the purpose of Iran's nuclear program thought by Washington and others to be a cover for nuclear weapons.

The IAEA says it has documents provided by Iran that would only make sense in a weapons program.

IAEA chief, Mohamed Elbaradei, told reporters Iran should understand that engaging in enrichment activities at this stage is not helpful in building the necessary confidence.

The IAEA is hoping Iran will agree to a Russian proposal to enrich uranium on Russian soil and not in Iran, which could help break the deadlock.

Russia's chief negotiator to the IAEA, Grigory Berdennikov, told reporters outside the meeting Iran should suspend its uranium enrichment activities until outstanding questions are resolved.

The envoy says the final IAEA resolution could undergo some amendments before adoption and Iran would have a chance to speak at the end, but is not a member of the board of governors.

Berdennikov said high-level talks between Russia and Iran were under way in Tehran. He said the Security Council should take no action on the Iranian program until the next board of governors meeting scheduled for March 6 in Vienna.

He said by then the IAEA should present an update report and assess progress.

Berdennikov said the matter should be resolved at the IAEA in Vienna and not New York.

XS
SM
MD
LG