M A I N   N E W S

IAEA report sent to Security Council
Immediate sanctions on Iran ruled out
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei transmitted his report on Iran’s nuclear programme to the UN Security Council, at the close of the Agency´s Board of Governors meeting in Vienna today. He described it as “a new phase of diplomacy” and called for a “cool-headed approach” from all parties.

No voting was necessary as the 35-member UN atomic watchdog agency had decided to report the Iranian nuclear file to the Security Council on February 4 last. Today’s action clears the way for the Security Council to weigh possible sanctions against Iran. It comes after three years of inspections failed to declare the Islamic republic's atomic work peaceful.

However, there is no possibility of immediate sanctions on Iran and diplomacy still has a chance for resolution of the problem.

After today’s development, the IAEA will continue to do inspections in Iran and continue to ask Iran to be as transparent as possible. The IAEA will continue to do the verification, while the Security Council deliberates on the global political picture.

Today’s action does not mean that Iran would go the Iraq way — first imposition of crippling sanctions and then the military option. It only means that the Iran issue has today finally been tossed out of the IAEA ambit, into the Security Council.

IAEA’s official website, which carried a transcript of Mr ElBaradei’s remarks, quoted him as saying: “This is a new phase of diplomacy. The Security Council will lend its weight to the IAEA´s efforts so as to make sure Iran will work as closely as possible with us. So as to make sure that Iran takes the required confidence building measures.”

The EU3 (UK, France and Germany) believes that Iran's nuclear programme has a “military dimension” and has spoken of a “crisis of confidence’’ over Iran’s intentions.

Mr ElBaradei was also quoted as saying: “This is an issue which is going to take some time, it’s not going to be resolved tomorrow. It is quite complex but we need to put our heads together. Everybody will benefit from a political settlement of the Iranian issue. It would be a positive implication on an already a volatile area which is the Middle East.”

Mr ElBaradei stressed that he looked forward to the Security Council “to help us to move down the diplomatic road.” He candidly admitted that an agreement which he had hoped for had not materialised. “I was hoping that we would have achieved an agreement to get back to negotiations this week. It didn’t happen. But again it could happen next week”.

He also made the following points:

* Iran needs to continue to be transparent working with the Agency and go the extra mile in working with the IAEA.

* We need a settlement that assures Iran its peaceful right to nuclear energy. But at the same time assures the international community that Iran’s programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

* I am still optimistic. I think sooner or later the parties will decide there are no other options but negotiations.

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