TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran warned on Monday of “serious consequences” if the UN Security Council adopts fresh sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear work.
“If a resolution is passed… it will have serious and logical consequences and we will announce them later,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a press conference.
His comments came as the Security Council was due on Monday to discuss a proposed third set of sanctions over Iran’s long-standing refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
The sanctions package was agreed upon last week by foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.
Iran is already under two sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to halt enrichment, the process which makes nuclear fuel but can be extended to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.
Iran insists it has a right to enrichment to make fuel to meet increasing energy needs of its population and denies charges its nuclear programme has military aims.
The proposed new measures include an outright travel ban by officials involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes and inspections of shipments to and from Iran if there are suspicions of prohibited goods.
Diplomats said approval of the package, presented to the council’s 10 non-permanent members on Friday, was likely to take several weeks.
A meeting of the 15 council ambassadors to discuss the measures was scheduled for Friday but postponed until Monday because of the council’s heavy schedule.
Mottaki said on Saturday Iran could “not understand” why the new measures were being proposed before the UN nuclear watchdog makes its report on Tehran’s nuclear activities in late February or March.
On January 13, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had agreed to clear up remaining questions on its nuclear programme — including any military activity — in four weeks.
Despite a four-year probe into Tehran’s atomic drive, the IAEA has so far been unable to determine whether the programme is peaceful.
Under a “work plan” agreed between the IAEA and Tehran in August, Iran originally had until the end of the year to clear up all outstanding issues.
Meanwhile, the official IRNA news agency reported that Russia has completed delivering fuel for Iran’s first nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr.
“With the last consignment, Russia has fully delivered the 82 tonnes of fuel enriched by 1.6 to 3.6 percent along with supplementary equipment,” said a statement from Iran’s Organisation for Production and Development of Nuclear Energy.
Monday’s delivery was the eighth consignment of fuel, which Russia began delivering on December 17.
Late last month, Mottaki said the Bushehr reactor would be working at 50 percent capacity by mid-2008.
However the Russian constructors insist that the 1,000-megawatt plant will not go on line until the end of the year.
After delivering the first shipment of fuel, Russia said Iran no longer needed to pursue its own uranium enrichment, a message repeated by US President George W. Bush.