No UNSC strategy on Iran: Russia
* Moscow says Tehran still considering nuclear deal
* UN must leave door open for talks: Straw
MOSCOW: Russia said on Monday there was no coherent strategy for dealing with concerns on Iran’s nuclear programme within the UN Security Council and implicitly cautioned the United States against using the world body to pursue its own political objectives.
“We have an understanding about how to proceed within the IAEA,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published in the liberal daily Vremya Novostei. “However we do not understand how to proceed outside the IAEA,” Lavrov said.
He said the primary issue for the world was to determine with certainty whether or not Iran’s civilian nuclear energy programme also posed a threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, as charged by the US which accuses Tehran of trying secretly to build nuclear weapons. “That is the most important question. We want to find the answer to it,” he said.
However, “we do not agree with those who, as we see it, are trying through their actions to use the situation around Iran in order to achieve some political ends in their relations with the regime currently in power in Tehran,” Lavrov added.
He said IAEA experts had compiled a thorough dossier on Iran and had identified specific questions that Tehran had yet to answer to the satisfaction of the international community. “As for a strategy for action within the Security Council, where there are calls for all work on Iran to be transferred, there is no such strategy.”
“An understanding of how to proceed there is only beginning to be worked out,” he said. Western countries, Lavrov said, were aware that worries about Iran’s nuclear intentions could not be resolved without the IAEA and their pursuit of action at the level of the UN Security Council was a “dichotomy”. “They’re saying: ‘Let’s start working within the Security Council and continue within the IAEA too’. It is not yet clear to us how this fits into a strategy that we have not yet discussed. So we will make it a priority to agree on a strategic line in diplomacy on Iran,” he said.
Iran is to start work in the next six months on a second nuclear power station, the energy minister said in comments published on Monday. “We have received the plans of (Iran’s atomic energy chief) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh and the authorisation to start building the power station,” said Energy Minister Parviz Fattah in comments published in local newspapers. “We are expecting to start the construction of the power station in the next six months,” he said. Russain news agency Interfax reported on Monday that Iran was still considering a Russian compromise deal.
“Iranian officials have informed Russian diplomats that the Russia proposal on setting up a joint venture remains in force,” Interfax quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying.
On the other hand, the Bush administration plans for a sustained campaign against the ayatollahs of Tehran that could include regime change. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw argues that UNSC must keep the door open for talks with Iran. Any action by the United Nations to end the Iranian nuclear dispute must be “incremental and reversible”, Straw was to tell his audience at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Monday. Agencies