Monday, October 23, 2006

Security Council Likely to Debate Iran Sanctions This Week

The UN Security Council is expected to start full deliberations on sanctions later this week.

On Saturday, October 21, 2006, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Manouchehr Mottaki, offered to hold new discussions with the West during which his government would explain its nuclear ambitions. "Dialogue is the best way to reach an understanding. We are ready to hold talks about the reason for enrichment."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini warned Sunday, October 22, 2006 that his country would not remain passive if the West imposes sanctions against it over its disputed nuclear program, but he also did not say how the country would respond. According to Hosseini, "Sanctions will have an impact on both sides and will have regional and international repercussions. If they choose sanctions we will decide accordingly."

But at a press conference on Monday, October 23, 2006, in response to a question about whether the nuclear issue is managed, decided or supervised by other groups in Iran, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani stressed that he is the only one in charge of the nuclear issue of his country. Larijani also commented on the recent round of talks with EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. According to Larijani, he presented a "proper answer and formula" to assure the west that the country may never divert from its present peaceful nuclear activities. He also said, "We agreed that 5+1 present a definition for Iran's nuclear activities which should include enrichment of uranium and nuclear fuel production. To assure the other side that we may not divert from peaceful to military intentions, we told them that an international consortium could be formed to enrich uranium for Iran."

Meanwhile, a new AP wire article quotes diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity as saying that Iranian nuclear experts have started up a second pilot enrichment facility. While the 164 centrifuges were not producing enriched uranium, even the decision to "dry test" them showed Iran's defiance of the Security Council.

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