IAEA chief, Russia, China express concerns about threats against Iran

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Mohamed ElBaradei

Following the recent UN Security Council non-binding presidential statement supporting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and calling for Iran to temporarily suspend its right under the NPT to enrich and reprocess uranium, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, and diplomats from Russia and China have expressed their concerns about the threats of economic sanctions or military actions against Iran.

ElBaradei said that Iran is not "an imminent threat" and urged states to "lower the pitch" in their discussions related to Iran's alleged intentions to develop nuclear weapons.

He opposed both economic sanctions and military actions, saying about the latter, "There is no military solution to this situation. ... It's inconceivable. The only durable solution is a negotiated solution."

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that "Russia doesn't believe that sanctions could achieve the purposes of settlement of various issues."

He also supported the validity of the IAEA's investigations, saying "Before we call any situation a threat, we need facts, especially in a region like the Middle East, where so many things are happening. ... We prefer very strongly to base our specific actions on specific facts, and in this particular case the facts could be provided by the [International Atomic Energy Agency]. So far, they have not been provided."

China's deputy Foreign Minister, Dai Bingguo, said, "The Chinese side feels that there has already been enough turmoil in the Middle East. We do not want to see new turmoil being introduced to the region, because that would not serve the interests of any party and would only be very detrimental to the interests of the people in Middle East."

Wikipedia Learn more about U.S.-Iran relations on Wikipedia.

A recently leaked letter by British diplomat John Sawers, dated March 16, 2006, revealed intentions by the UK to get the UN Security Council to refer to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which allows for the use of economic sanctions and/or military force as a method of conflict resolution, in relation to Iran. The recent UN Security Council non-binding presidential statement referred to confidence-building measures as a method of conflict resolution, but not to economic sanctions nor military force.