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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: UN Explores Iran Options

Council on Foreign Relations

Updated on May 1, 2006
Prepared by: Lionel Beehner

Senior officials from the five permanent member-states of the UN Security Council and Germany are planning a new round of talks to discuss options for dealing with Iran (Middle East Times). Following a string of defiant statements, Iran officially rebuffed demands by the Security Council to suspend its nuclear activities by April 28 (NYT). Iranian officials delivered a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that reiterated their intention to continue uranium enrichment, which Western states are worried is cover for a nuclear bomb-making program. Tehran restarted its program, which it now claims is "irreversible," after a breakdown in negotiations with the so-called EU-3, prompting the Security Council—with U.S. prodding—to take up the matter. The IAEA has delivered a critical report to the Council expressing concern about "existing gaps in knowledge" about Iran's activities.

Security Council members are divided on the issue. One scenario, favored by the EU-3 and the United States, is for the Security Council to invoke its Chapter Seven powers, which could lead to sanctions or even justify military action against Iran. But it is unclear whether China and Russia, whose economic and energy ties to Iran may be affected, would block moves to enact a Chapter Seven resolution.

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Copyright 2006 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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