VIENNA - Six world powers are expected to voice "serious concern” about Iran’s uranium enrichment programme and to urge Tehran to provide the UN nuclear watchdog with access to the sites it needs for its investigation, diplomats said on Tuesday (11/09/2012).
They said the powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - had agreed a draft text on Iran’s nuclear programme at a meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
One diplomat said the text was expected to be put forward as a proposed IAEA board resolution, to be voted on later in the week. But it could also take the form of a statement by the six powers, the envoy added.
If it becomes a resolution with broader support, that would be welcomed by Western diplomats, who have been pressing for such a move to add to international pressure on Iran over atomic activities they suspect is aimed at developing nuclear bombs. Tehran says the work is peaceful.
The fact that the six powers were able to agree a joint text underlined their desire to maintain unity over the long-running dispute, which has the potential to plunge the Middle East into a new war.
China and Russia have backed a series of UN Security Council sanctions rounds imposed on Iran since 2006.
But both Beijing and Moscow have sharply criticised unilateral punitive steps by the United States and its allies targeting the Islamic state’s oil exports, and diplomats said they were sceptical about the need for an IAEA resolution.
The agreed text also expressed continued support for diplomatic efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the dispute, one diplomat said.
It also underlined backing for the IAEA's efforts to clarify concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, an investigation which Western diplomats say has made little progress since 2008 because of Iranian stonewalling.
IAEA head Yukiya Amano pressed Iran on Monday to grant his inspectors immediate access to the Parchin military site, where they believe Tehran may have conducted explosives tests relevant to the development of nuclear weapons. - Reuters