United Nations, March 30 (Reuters): The UN Security Council demanded yesterday that Iran suspend uranium enrichment efforts that the West suspects are part of a secret nuclear weapons programme.
But Iran remained defiant, saying that it was not seeking an atomic bomb and regardless of assurances, the US and others would find new reasons to fault Tehran.
“Threats do not work with Iran. Iran is allergic to pressure,” Iran’s UN ambassador, Javad Zarif, said. “Iran’s commitment to the nonproliferation regime, to nonproliferation, is categorical.”
The statement, which needed the approval of all 15 council members, was read at a public meeting after the five permanent veto-holding council powers agreed on a text following three weeks of arduous negotiations.
The US, Britain and France made significant concessions to Russia and China, which were anxious to avoid language that might later be used to press for sanctions or military action against Iran.
Still, Russia’s UN ambassador, Andrei Denisov, said: “For the time being, we have suspicions ' very strong ones, but suspicions ' on intentions. On intentions, we also have some evidence but it is only intentions.”
The council called on Iran to comply with resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency board, including a suspension of “enrichment-related activities”.
Iran restarted work at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz earlier this year, but insists its aim is to develop nuclear energy rather than weapons. The council also asked Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA’s director-general, to report back in 30 days on Iran’s progress.
British foreign secretary Jack Straw said today sanctions could follow if Iran remained defiant and refused to halt its uranium enrichment programme as demanded by the UN Council.