BERLIN, (Reuters) – Discussion of a third round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to freeze its nuclear programme will not be necessary if Iran cooperates with the United Nations, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
The United States wants the U.N. Security Council to expand sanctions on Iran for pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment programme in defiance of the United Nations. It plans to host a meeting of world powers on Sept. 21 to discuss new sanctions.
Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — have been ratcheting up pressure on Tehran to halt its programme and cooperate more with U.N. inspectors. But European diplomats have told Reuters Germany now wants to delay any sanctions drive to give a chance to an Aug. 21 deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that is meant to bring transparency to Iran’s nuclear programme. “Germany is ready, if necessary, to take the necessary steps against Iran,” German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger Jaeger told a regular news conference. However, he said Germany’s diplomatic activities on the Iran issue were not limited to talks with the five permanent Security Council members, often referred to as the “P-5”. “As a member of the IAEA, we are also dealing with the so-called open questions and giving Iran a chance to recover the international community’s lost confidence in its nuclear programme,” Jaeger said. “If Iran is ready to do this … then I think we can spare ourselves future sanctions debates.”
Diplomats say Germany wants to delay drafting any sanctions resolution until after IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei gives a progress report to the agency’s board of governors in November.
France and Britain are ready to press for a new sanctions proposal now but fear Russia and China, which wield Security Council vetoes, would block it, European diplomats have said. They say Russia and China are strongly opposed to further sanctions against Iran, which says its nuclear programme is intended solely for the peaceful generation of electricity.
Western nations believe Iran’s atomic programme is a front for a nuclear weapons programme.
Western diplomats in Vienna, where the IAEA has its headquarters, suggested a new sanctions drive would be on hold pending ElBaradei’s verdict on Iran’s transparency steps.
One said that over the next few months it would become clear whether Iran was serious about clearing up questions about past, secret nuclear-related activities. If not, that would create a stronger basis for a third resolution. “Whether you like it or not, it will be very difficult to get consensus within the P-5 to return to the Security Council as long as the (Iran-IAEA) work plan has a chance,” a senior European diplomat in Vienna told Reuters.