5th Mar 2024

Big five agree to refer Iran to UN

China and Russia have agreed to join the EU and US in efforts to refer Iran to the UN's security council due to its resumed nuclear activities.

Foreign ministers from five permanent members of the UN security council (US, UK, France, Russia and China) plus Germany reached a consensus late Monday (30 January) in London.

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  • The EU trio said there was nothing new in Iran's latest offer (Photo: EUobserver)

They suggested that the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "should report to the security council its decision on the steps required of Iran," stated a joint statement released after the meeting.

But ministers noted that the security council would not take any action until March after it has received a formal report on Iran from the IAEA, the BBC reported.

In a reaction to the move, Iran's deputy head of the Supreme National Security Council Javad Vaeedi said that his country would not bow to the international pressure.

"Research and development is the Iranian nation's legitimate right and is irreversible," Mr Vaeedi told state television on Tuesday, adding that Tehran remained open to "logical and constructive talks" with the EU over its nuclear case, according to Reuters.

But earlier on Monday, UK, France and Germany rejected a fresh bid by Iran to slow down nuclear research, with the EU trio arguing the offer was in fact not "new" at all.

While Iran claims it wants to use enrichment programmes for peaceful objectives, the international community fears they could be used to develop nuclear arms and cals for their complete closure.

Less than US expected

According to analysts, the message of Monday's meeting of the superpowers is less radical than was desired by the US and EU members of the council, as it stops short of the immediate formal referral of the country to the UN.

If Tehran is eventually referred to the UN, it could face sanctions.

US president George W Bush said he would mention the escalating issue in his State of the Union speech to be delivered on Tuesday (31 January).

He noted that his message to the Iranian government would be "if you want to be a part of the family of nations, give up your nuclear weapons ambitions."

"We're united in our goal to keep the Iranians from having a weapon, and we're working on the tactics necessary to continue putting a united front out," he added.

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