The White House says it is disappointed by Iran's decision to limit cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency. Russia and China are also urging Iran to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions. Meanwhile, Iran is interrogating 15 British navy personnel it detained Friday. Leta Hong Fincher has more on the dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says the Iranian government is "turning a blind eye" to its United Nations obligations. "The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to send a strong message to Iran to stop isolating their country and their people, to suspend their program and to come to the table. It was very good to see that the international community was so strongly united and we would urge the Iranians to stop and think before going down the road of noncompliance."
The U.N. Security Council voted Saturday to impose tougher sanctions on Iran over its failure to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran has rejected the sanctions and said it will restrict its cooperation with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.
In Moscow Monday, the presidents of Russia and China urged Iran to comply with Security Council resolutions. However, Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao said in a joint statement the nuclear dispute should be solved through peaceful means – and expressed their willingness to search for a comprehensive and long-term solution.
Meanwhile, tensions between Iran and the West have deepened over Tehran's detention of 15 British sailors and marines in a disputed waterway Friday.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has demanded the immediate release of the navy personnel. "They [the Iranian government] should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which was unjustified and wrong."
Iran said Monday it is interrogating the naval personnel to see if they intentionally entered Iranian territory. Britain insists its personnel were in Iraqi waters when they were detained.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, says it is "no accident" that the detention took place just a day before the U.N. imposed new sanctions on Iran. "The fact that this hostage taking took place now clearly indicates a conscious decision by the revolutionary corps in Tehran to seize these, perhaps as bargaining chips in the larger confrontation."
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.