Calls for united economic, political pressure from world community
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Washington – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns strongly condemned the Iranian government for its defiant pursuit of nuclear capabilities, its support for terrorism and its human-rights violations, and urged the international community to reassess its strategies for dealing with the Iranian regime.
In a November 30 speech at Johns Hopkins University Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Burns said, “In coordination with our allies and our friends around the world, the United States seeks to isolate Iran. It seeks to promote a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It seeks to expose and oppose Iran’s support of terrorism. And it seeks to advance the cause of democracy and human rights within Iran.”
Burns said that no one in the international community has serious doubts that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons’ capabilities. He asked why Iran would hide aspects of its nuclear program from the international community, deny the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to its facilities, defy IAEA demands regarding its program and pursue casting and machining technology specifically related to nuclear weapons manufacturing if its intentions were limited to civil nuclear energy production.
In August, Iran unilaterally withdrew from negotiations with Britain, France and Germany, collectively known as the EU-3, aimed at providing Iran with alternatives to developing the nuclear fuel cycle. The nuclear fuel cycle can be used to produce nuclear energy for power plants as well as weapons grade uranium. Upon withdrawing from the negotiations, Iran restarted uranium conversion at its Isfahan nuclear facility in violation of its commitment under the November 2004 Paris Agreement with the EU-3.
Burns called on Iran to return to discussions with the EU-3, saying, “If Iran does not do so, then it will face at a time of choosing by the international community, a [U.N.] Security Council debate, and that debate will support and reinforce the work of the IAEA.”
The IAEA chose not to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council at its November 24 meeting in order to allow Russia an opportunity to negotiate alternative arrangements with the Iranian government, but Burns said Russia’s diplomatic initiatives have met with a cool reception so far in Tehran.