EU-3 push for IAEA emergency meeting

The major Western powers are doing this to send the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 04:59 IST

Major Western powers, including France, Germany and Britain, also known as the EU-3, are pushing for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council.

The confrontation escalated when these nations called off their nuclear talks with Iran after more than two years of diplomatic efforts to settle the issue.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced earlier that Iran would continue its nuclear programmes regardless of the objections of Western countries.

The Security Council can impose diplomatic and even economic sanctions to bring the Tehran regime into compliance with international standards for nuclear non-proliferation.

Earlier this week, Iran had broken IAEA inspection seals on its nuclear facilities and declared its intention to resume uranium enrichment research, provoking the European response.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice supported the European decision to end talks, and accused Tehran of choosing "confrontation with the international community over cooperation and negotiation".

"We agree that the Iranian regime's defiant resumption of uranium enrichment work leaves the EU with no choice but to request an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors," Ricesaid.

She called for a strong message to be sent, but stopped short of specifying that Washington will seek Security Council sanctions to ratchet up pressure on Iran.

"There are a variety of tools at the disposal of the international community once it has been referred to the Security Council," Rice said.

Russia and China have apparently dropped their previous resistance to a UN referral.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan offered to mediate in the nuclear dispute with Iran, and urged continued diplomatic efforts in the IAEA context.

First Published: Jan 13, 2006 10:51 IST