Annan urges Iran not to resume nuclear activities before receiving European plan
2 August 2005 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on Iran not to restart its nuclear activities before receiving the latest European proposals aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the issue arising out of Tehran's two decades-long concealment of its nuclear activities in breach of its treaty obligations.
The three European Union (EU) countries, Britain, France and Germany, known as the European Three, who have been trying to resolve the issue, said they would seek a special session of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, to discuss the way ahead. They called on Iran not to resume nuclear activities and warned that any resumption would end their negotiations.
The Board, as part of its mandate to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, has the power to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, which could impose political and economic sanctions.
Iran has told the IAEA that it would resume activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Esfahan as of yesterday. Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful purposes such as generating energy or for making nuclear weapons.
Several countries, including the United States, insist that Iran is seeking such weapons, but Iran denies this and last year suspended all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as a good-will gesture while the European Three sought to resolve the issue.
"The Secretary-General urges restraint and patience on the part of the Iranian authorities," UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told the daily briefing today. "He very much believes that they should wait for the latest proposals from the European Three before making any attempts to restart their nuclear activities."
"In his dealings with the three European countries, the Secretary-General is convinced that they are very much constructively engaged in a search for a solution and therefore encourages the Iranian authorities to continue to work with them. The Secretary-General very much supports the dialogue between the European Three and the Iranian authorities," Mr. Dujarric added.
The IAEA has also called on Iran to continue the dialogue and not take any action that could undermine agency inspections. It said yesterday that in order to implement effective safeguards it would need to install additional surveillance equipment at the UCF in Esfahan and would not be able to do so until some time next week.
In a letter to Iran today, which they also transmitted to the Vienna-based IAEA, the European Three said a resumption of activities would breach agreements Iran had reached with them as well as the IAEA Board's resolution last November calling for a continued moratorium.
"It will also further heighten international concern about the real objective of Iran's nuclear programme," they said, noting that they had already informed Iran that they would be presenting their ideas for a long-term agreement covering political, security, economic and technological issues by 7 August.
"We will be seeking a special session of the IAEA Board of Governors in the next few days to discuss the way ahead," they wrote. "Were Iran to resume currently suspended activities, our negotiations would be brought to an end, and we would have no option but to pursue other courses of action."
Iran's nuclear programme has been a matter of concern since 2003, when the IAEA determined that the country had for almost two decades concealed its nuclear activities in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
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