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UN ambassador discusses Iran nuclear options

UN ambassador John R Bolton said on Friday he expects Iran's disputed atomic program to ultimately go before the United Nations Security Council.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 04:13 IST

UN ambassador John R Bolton said on Friday he expects Iran's disputed atomic program to ultimately go before the United Nations Security Council, but acknowledged that doing so wouldn't necessarily stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.

"This will be a major test of the Security Council's effectiveness in the area of nuclear weapons proliferation," Bolton said. "But if the Security Council can't deal with a problem like Iran's nuclear weapons effort, then you have to ask whether it can deal with questions of proliferation at all."

The United States and several European allies hope the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency will vote at an emergency meeting next week to send Iran before the UN Security Council, which can impose sanctions or other measures to persuade Tehran's government to give up developing nuclear capabilities. "I don't pretend that taking Iran to the Security Council is the answer," said Bolton, who appeared at the University of Richmond's leadership school. "It is a test, but it's an important test that we're determined to bring to the council."

On January 10, Iran removed seals from uranium-enrichment equipment and said it would restart its nuclear program after a 2{-year hiatus. Uranium enrichment can be used to produce electricity, but it also is used to make nuclear weapons.

Several European nations then called for the emergency IAEA meeting in Vienna and proposed a resolution to ask the Security Council to put pressure on Tehran, though they stopped short of calling for sanctions.

But Russia, India and China -- allies and trading partners of Iran -- have been reluctant to endorse Security Council action. All three sit on the IAEA's board of governors.

Bolton said that the US believes Iran has pursued its nuclear ambitions for more than 20 years, "and to this day (they) continue to conceal things and distort the exact nature of their program." IAEA investigations over the last three years, however, haven't confirmed or disproved whether Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 04:13 IST