STRASBOURG, France (AP) – The European Union will consider pushing for further action against Iran through the United Nations if Tehran does not stop its uranium enrichment program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its failure to address international concerns about its nuclear program.
The Security Council is expected to consider taking steps against the country, including possible sanctions and other punitive measures, after the IAEA issues another report on Iran at the March 6 meeting of its 35-nation board of governors.
“If things continue to deteriorate further, we will need to consider options for further action through the United Nations,” EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said, without specifying what action the EU might take.
“There must be no mistake in Tehran about the resolve of the international community. At the same time, the door still remains open for a negotiated settlement through diplomatic efforts,” Frattini told the European Parliament.
However, Iran has responded to the IAEA’s Feb. 4 referral to the Security Council by suspending certain aspects of its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog and restarting enrichment activities.
Iran insists that, as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it is entitled to enrich uranium for nuclear power reactors, and has threatened to withdraw from the treaty if prevented from pursuing nuclear development for peaceful purposes.
The United States and the EU, however, fear Iran intends to make nuclear weapons, and is mistrustful of Tehran’s assurances because of its history of concealing aspects of its nuclear program.
“It is clear that Iran needs to take visible and credible steps back in order to regain the confidence of the international community,” Frattini said.
Frattini urged Iran to consider a Russian proposal to shift Iran’s uranium enrichment activities to Russian territory to ensure the material is not used to make weapons.
“If Iran returns to suspension of its enrichment activities and accepts the Russian proposal, the Security Council track may not prove necessary,” Frattini said.
“The prospects depend very much on the will of Iran to compromise.”
In a resolution, the European Parliament condemned Iran’s uranium enrichment program and urged Tehran to improve its human rights record. It also demanded that Iran stop its support for terrorist groups.