[ 2006-09-01 14:44 ]
|President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a
press conference in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006. Iran's
hard-line president on Tuesday challenged the authority of the U.N.
Security Council, saying no one can prevent his country from having
a peaceful nuclear program. [AP]
Tehran has failed to
dispel international doubts it wants nuclear bombs, the U.N. nuclear watchdog
agency reported on Thursday, clearing the way for the Security
Council to consider sanctions on Tehran.
But council diplomats said they would proceed cautiously, delaying
deliberations until after a meeting between European Union foreign policy
chief Javier Solana and top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said he would
meet with his French, British and German counterparts to begin talks on a
"We are certainly ready to proceed here in New York once we are given
the instruction to do so," Bolton said.
Western countries, including the United States and the European Union
fear Tehran is using a civilian nuclear energy program as a cover for
making atomic bombs. Iran says it wants only to generate electricity.
The Security Council and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy
Agency, or IAEA, had demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment of nuclear
material by the end of August so that talks could begin on a way to
resolve the crisis.
But an IAEA report said Iran just last week resumed making low-enriched
uranium, suitable for power plant fuel, with a cascade of 164 centrifuges
at its pilot enrichment plant.
It also said a lack of Iranian cooperation had crippled IAEA probes
into the program.
"Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities," the IAEA
said. "Iran has not addressed the long outstanding verification issues or
provided the necessary transparency to remove uncertainties associated
with some of its activities."
Western diplomats say they want the U.N. sanctions to be imposed on
Iran in an incremental fashion, increasing the pressure over time if Iran
presses on with its nuclear programs.