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US Condemns Iran's Nuclear Sanctions Violations

United States Condemns Iran's Nuclear Sanctions Violations

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr. Staff Writer

Washington - The U.N. ambassadors from the United States, Britain and France strongly condemned repeated sanctions violations by Iran over its controversial nuclear development program, and warned of possible further sanctions.

In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors voted to censure Iran ( ) for building a second uranium enrichment plant at Qom, and the Iranian regime followed up by announcing plans to build 10 more plants to enrich uranium, which is a necessary building block for constructing nuclear weapons.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told the U.N. Security Council ( ) during debate December 10 that Iran has repeatedly been caught breaking the rules.

"Should Iran continue to fail to meet its obligations, the international community will have to consider further actions," Rice said. "Engagement cannot be a one-way street. Iran must conclusively demonstrate a similar willingness to engage constructively and address the serious issues associated with its nuclear program."

Rice told reporters in New York that "we think that these violations need to be treated urgently and seriously. And we have said repeatedly that time is short" for Iran to respond and curb its nuclear development program.

France's U.N. ambassador, Gérard Araud, called for new Security Council sanctions, while British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said a decision on sanctions would depend on Tehran's nuclear program and its response to economic and political incentives. The Russian and Chinese ambassadors counseled patience and further diplomatic efforts, but stopped short of suggesting new sanctions by the Security Council. Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are permanent members of the Security Council.

The IAEA report shows that instead of complying with its nuclear obligations, Iran has "expanded its work in uranium enrichment and heavy-water-related activities, and has conducted a multiyear effort to construct a clandestine enrichment facility, in contravention of the U.N. Security Council requirements and IAEA obligations," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters in November. The IAEA report, published November 16, comes after its inspectors visited Iran's newly revealed nuclear facility near the city of Qom.

Six nations - Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, known as the P-5+1 - have been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, but talks stalled when they insisted that Iran would have to suspend uranium enrichment. This group grew out of earlier efforts by Britain, France and Germany to convince Iranian officials to suspend uranium enrichment in return for a package of incentives. The six powers, together, also offered Iran a package of trade and diplomatic incentives three years ago to forgo its uranium enrichment efforts, and added to the incentives last year, but Iranian authorities continued to reject suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition to talks.

Uranium enrichment is a necessary component of building a nuclear bomb. Iran may now have enough enriched nuclear fuel to make a bomb, a senior U.S. diplomat said September 9 before the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

The U.N. Security Council previously imposed three rounds of political and economic sanctions to convince Iranian leaders to halt uranium enrichment and give up plans for a weapons program.

Rice said the IAEA report underscores the international community's increased, serious and unified concerns that Iran continues to defy its requirements and obligations. The United States and other Western nations believe that if Iran successfully develops nuclear weapons along with medium-to-long-range missiles, it could destabilize security throughout the Gulf region and the Middle East.

"The United States condemns the serious and repeated sanctions violations reported," she said. "In the last year, there have been three reported incidents. All three involved the transfer of arms or ammunition from Iran to Syria."

These illicit arms transfers only add to destabilization in the fragile Middle East, she added.


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