The Associated Press – January 18, 2010
The failure of the six key powers at the U.N. to levy new sanctions on Iran was hailed on Monday by Iran as a sign of increased rationality in the discussion over its disputed nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in a press conference that the lack of a decision over new sanctions means that Iran can continue working with the international community to allay concerns over the program.
Iran is "hopeful and ready to contribute to this rationality so that it will move in the right direction and reach the appropriate results," he said.
Mottaki added that "we now observe narrow stripes of rationality" by the foreign powers over the nuclear issue.
Iran argues that its nuclear program is aimed at creating a peaceful energy network to serve its growing population. The U.S. and other nations believe the goal of the program is to create weapons.
The five members of the security council - the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia - as well as Germany met on Saturday, but could not agree on levying a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.
The United States and its Western allies have been pushing for the new sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday warned that Iran will face new sanctions if it doesn't change tune on its nuclear program.
But Russia, and especially China, are skeptical of any new sanctions and have been holding out for further talks with Iran. As a result, the six powers have had to tread carefully to preserve a unified position.
The U.S. and its allies are concerned at Iran's lack of cooperation with the U.N. nuclear agency and with its response to a resolution adopted by the agency's board of governors on Nov. 27 which demanded that Tehran immediately stop building a secret uranium enrichment in Qom and halt further enrichment efforts.
The six nations are also concerned "at Iran's failure to take up the IAEA proposed agreement" to ship most of its uranium - up to 2,600 pounds (1,200 kilograms) - abroad.
The uranium would then be enriched to higher levels in Russia, turned into fuel rods in France and returned to power a research reactor in Tehran that produces medical isotopes. The material in the fuel rods cannot be enriched to higher levels, denying Iran the ability to use it to make weapons.
Last updated 20/01/2010