Saturday, January 14, 2006

EU trio, Russia, China, U.S. to discuss Iran's nuclear issue Jan 16

Alexei Yefimov, RIA Novosti:
The European trio, comprising Britain, Germany, and France), Russia, China and the United States will discuss Iran's nuclear issue in London January 16, the Russian envoy to the UN told China's news agency Xinhua Saturday.

Andrei Denisov said high-ranking officials from the six countries' foreign ministries were to discuss "what should be done after Iran removed the UN seals on its nuclear facilities this week." READ MORE

He did not rule out referring the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council if all the possible procedures within the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, had been exhausted.

Denisov said referring Iran to the UN Security Council could aggravate the situation, citing Iran's threat to stop voluntary cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

According to him, the situation will become "absolutely unpredictable" if Iran withdraws from the Additional Protocols of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Denisov said Russia did not support imposing sanctions against Iran. "However, we understand that the patience of Iran's European partners is being exhausted," he added.

Tehran announced Tuesday that it was abandoning a two-year moratorium on research into uranium enrichment, which some nations fear will be used to develop nuclear weapons, although the country insists it wants nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. Iran removed the UN seals at its nuclear facilities this week, thereby ending the moratorium.

Germany, Britain and France, the European trio that helped broker the moratorium two years ago, said that they would call an emergency session of the 35-member board of the UN's nuclear watchdog after talks with Iran had reached a "dead end."

Iran argues that as a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.