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Iran’s nuclear programme: Diplomatic resolution?

Annan voices hope for diplomatic resolution on Iran’s nuclear programme

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed hope that intensified Security Council attention to Iran’s nuclear programme will lead to a diplomatic resolution of the matter, and advised Tehran to pursue dialogue on the issue.

“I think it is important that the Iranians remain open and that they back away from this aggressive posture, and be open to discussions,” Mr. Annan told the press after his monthly working luncheon with the 15-member body. Since 3 May, the Council has been considering its response to the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which says Tehran has defied the Council’s call to suspend uranium enrichment and allow inspections of its programme.

“No one is saying that they are not entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy, but they have a responsibility to communicate and to show that their intention is peaceful,” he added.

“The Council has a greater voice when it speaks with one voice, and I hope we can find a solution,” said the Secretary-General. “What is important here is that everybody seems to realize that we need to intensify diplomatic efforts and find a solution, and I hope in the meantime we will reduce the level of the rhetoric.”

Possible actions being considered by the Council include a draft resolution, backed by the United States, United Kingdom and France, that would demand compliance from Iran under the UN Charter’s Chapter VII – making it a legally binding decision that could be followed up by enforcement measures such as sanctions in the case of further defiance.

Earlier this year, the IAEA referred the matter to the Council after its Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, had repeatedly reported that although the Agency had not seen any diversion of material to nuclear weapons or other explosive devices, it was still not able to conclude that there were no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.

Iran says its activities are solely for energy purposes but the United States and other countries insist it is clandestinely seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

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