UNITED NATIONS, (AP) – Iran is demanding compensation for what it says are unlawful sanctions imposed by the U.N. for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, the Mideast nation’s foreign minister said in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
In the 20-page letter, Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran rejects the sanctions resolutions because the U.N. Security Council went beyond its powers, and its actions are inconsistent with the U.N. Charter.
The United States, the European Union, Israel and others suspect Iran’s goal is to produce nuclear weapons. But Iran insists its program is aimed solely at producing nuclear energy and has defied the council by stepping up its enrichment activities.
Mottaki said repeatedly in the letter that Tehran has answered all outstanding questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the IAEA “has repeatedly stated that there is no evidence to prove any diversion of the Iranian nuclear program towards military purposes.”
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in a Feb. 22 report that his team made good progress in clarifying Iran’s past nuclear activities but Tehran had not responded properly to intelligence forwarded by the U.S. and its allies purportedly showing nuclear weapons technology.
Foreign ministers of the six countries that have been in the forefront of efforts to ensure that Iran’s nuclear intentions are peaceful — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — issued a joint statement to coincide with the council’s adoption of a third sanctions resolution on March 3 reaffirming their approach.
They offered to improve a package of political, security and economic incentives they put on the table in June 2006 if Iran suspends enrichment — but said continued defiance will lead to further measures.
In his response, Mottaki singled out the United States, Britain, France and Germany, accusing them of pushing new sanctions for political motives and “providing false and erroneous information” to the IAEA concerning Iran’s nuclear activities.
“These countries should, as a minimum step, admit their mistakes, apologize to the great nation of Iran, correct their behavior, and above all, compensate all the damages they have inflicted on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Mottaki said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran and its citizens have the right to resort to legal actions to seek redress against the sponsors of these unlawful actions,” he said.
The letter did not provide any other details regarding the demand for compensation or the form of legal action.
U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said Iran delivered the letter Tuesday.
Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, was dismissive of Mottaki’s letter, saying: “The U.N. Charter is perfectly clear on these issues.”
The letter offered a rebuttal to every paragraph of the latest sanctions resolution — saying it was illegal to freeze assets and ban travel of Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear program, prevent equipment with both civilian and military uses from entering the country, monitor banks, and search suspected cargo.