REGION: UN sanctions against Iran ‘reversible’: Russia
* EU foreign policy chief to resume talks with Iranian nuclear negotiator
MOSCOW: The new sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council over Tehran’s nuclear programme are “reversible”, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Monday.
The sanctions passed by the United Nations Security Council on Saturday “are another signal to the Iranian government and we would hope that they would understand it correctly,” the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Sergei Kisliak as saying. “All sanctions are reversible and it is still possible to resolve the Iranian question through political means,” the deputy minister added.
The Security Council imposed new economic and trade sanctions on Iran after the country ignored repeated ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment.
Russia and the other four permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, and the United States - plus Germany have called for further talks with Iran to end the row over its nuclear programme.
“We had hoped that Iran would take (this proposition) seriously,” Kisliak said.
Iran’s threat to limit cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog comes as international inspectors seek greater access to a key underground site for enriching uranium. Diplomats said Iran’s decision to stop giving immediate notification of its nuclear plant building plans means Tehran could now work on new strategic sites without informing the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could help Iranian authorities to hide facilities from possible military air strikes.
A Tehran government spokesman said it would no longer inform the nuclear watchdog of new installations until six months before they are brought into service. It was not immediately clear how this would affect attempts to monitor work on a plant at Natanz in central Iran. Iran is building in Natanz an industrial-scale plant to make enriched uranium, which can be used for nuclear fuel or as atom bomb material.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Monday he would soon resume talks with Iran’s top negotiator about that country’s nuclear program, a day after the government in Tehran announced a partial suspension of cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.
“We had some contacts yesterday, we were trying to find a moment when both were free,” Javier Solana said. “We’ll try again today, the sooner the better.”
Solana and Iran’s top nuclear envoy, Ali Larijani, have been the principal negotiators on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is intended for peaceful purposes but the West believes may be a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.
The European Union is eager to continue talks with the Iranians as part of its “twin-track” approach - gradually imposing tougher sanctions if Tehran refuses to halt enrichment while offering economic and political advantages if it falls into line.
Separately, a senior EU official involved in the talks played down concerns about the progress of Iran’s nuclear program, saying there was no reason to panic. “There is much more time than is sometimes suggested,” said the official who declined to be identified in line with usual practice. “There is no suggestion that the Iranian nuclear program is as successful as they would like it ... or that it has gone per plan.” “There are a number of steps that have to be fulfilled ... before the Iranians have a nuclear weapon,” he said. agencies