Iran has broken faith with the world community by breaking more than 50 seals at three sites on equipment necessary for uranium enrichment, which could lead to the construction of nuclear bombs, says the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency
Gregory L. Schulte, U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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Iran has broken faith with the world community by breaking more than 50 seals at three sites on equipment necessary for uranium enrichment, which could lead to the construction of nuclear bombs, says the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Iranian authorities took another step toward securing unrestrained access to the technology, material, and know-how necessary to produce a nuclear weapon," Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte said January 19 in a speech at Amerika Haus in Vienna, Austria.
Western nations are concerned that Iran's nuclear program will lead to the development of nuclear weapons, creating instability in the Persian Gulf and pose a growing threat to the broader Middle East. Iranian leaders, for their part, have insisted that Iran’s nuclear research is strictly for civilian energy use.
The IAEA will hold a special meeting of its 35-nation Board of Governors February 2 with Iran on the agenda, Schulte said.
Britain, France and Germany -- known as the EU-3 -- broke off talks with Iran after the Iranians resumed uranium enrichment research in January. The EU-3, on behalf of the 25-member European Union, had been conducting negotiations with Iran for more than two years.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there is little to talk about until Iran stops uranium enrichment research. (See related article.)
The United States and the EU-3 have drawn up a draft IAEA resolution to ask the U.N. Security Council to urge the Iranian government "to extend full and prompt cooperation to the agency," according to published news reports.
"We agree with the EU3 and many others: The time has come to report to the U.N. Security Council on Iran's noncompliance and the absence of international confidence in the peaceful nature of its activities," Schulte said.
If the IAEA refers Iran to the Security Council, the council could impose political and economic sanctions for failing to cooperate with the U.N. atomic energy agency.
"At the IAEA here in Vienna, we worry about denying the most deadly of weapons to the most dangerous countries. Iran is one of our greatest challenges," Schulte said.
Schulte said Iran has a long record of lying, covering up and withholding vital information to the IAEA inspectors about its nuclear activities.
"This is not a sign of a peaceful program," he said. "Iran's nuclear program has unexplained ties to its military, and there are disturbing indications of weaponization efforts."
Schulte said Iran claims that its enrichment program is necessary for nuclear power, but Iran is building only one nuclear power plant, which will be powered by Russian fuel.
"Even if Iran builds many nuclear power plants, the international market can supply plenty of fuel at a markedly lower cost than enriching it in Iran," he said.