Iran has threatened to end all voluntary co-operation with the United Nations over its nuclear activity if it is referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Accusing Iran of consistently turning its back on the international community, London, Berlin and Paris say Tehran has consistently breached its commitments and failed to prove its nuclear activities are peaceful. Their calls for Iran to be brought before the Council have been backed by Washington.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeyer said discussions with Iran had reached a dead end, adding that they were passing the matter on to the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has joined calls for an emergency meeting of the board of governors of the IAEA to seek referral to the Council.
Russia too has increased pressure on Iran. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made clear Tehran risks losing Moscow’s support if it doesn’t resume a moratorium on nuclear research.
The door may still be open for talks. Iran’s chief negotiator is reported to have told UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that his country was still interested in dialogue, if it does not drag on. Annan says that only once the IAEA process is exhausted should the issue go before the Council.