Why Tehran courts UN members from Brazil to Bosnia on Iran nuclear issue
Facing a US-led push for fresh Iran nuclear sanctions within weeks, Tehran has launched a diplomatic counteroffensive aimed at smaller UN players who will vote on the issue. Brazilian leaders are in Tehran today.
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Though Iran may not be able to block a new sanctions vote – heavyweight Russia is expected to back further measures, and American officials are convinced that China won’t block them – Iran’s arguments have have raised the question for several nations of nuclear technology and who can have it.
At the same time, Iran is bidding to resurrect talks on a UN-backed nuclear fuel swap deal on offer last October but since stalled.
“It’s not so much about the spread of nuclear weapons, but more about ... who has the right to control access to advanced nuclear technology,” says Mr. Kile. He says Iran is finding willing listeners because rather than its frequent rhetoric about Israel and Palestine it's focusing on nuclear power as a symbol of modernity. “They’ve actually got a lot of traction on that, especially from countries like Brazil and even Egypt, which has a lot of suspicions about Iran otherwise.”
Iran lobbies all Security Council members – except US
During a nuclear conference hosted by Tehran 10 days ago, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki declared that Iran would directly lobby all 15 members of the Security Council – except the US, an arch-foe.
US lawmakers are currently considering unilateral legislation that would go much further than the punitive UN measures by blocking refined fuel imports to Iran. Enforcement would require a naval blockade of Iran, which critics note is an act of war.
“Iran is going around the world to evade responsibility ... but I think we are confident that the UN Security Council will put forth a resolution,” a senior US State Department official said on Monday, according to Agence France-Presse. “Countries are very conscious of Iran’s failure to live up to its obligations. No one wants to see the [nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty undercut.”
Tehran hosting Brazilian leaders this week
Iranian officials routinely dismiss as harmless any fourth layer of UNSC sanctions, meant – like the previous three sets – to force Iran to stop enriching uranium while it resolves remaining questions about possible weapon efforts.
But it appears that Iran is pulling out all the diplomatic stops to prevent new sanctions.
After meeting with Mr. Amorim on Monday, parliament speaker Ali Larijani – Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator – said sanctions pressure would not force Iran to stop enriching uranium, as required by previous UNSC decisions.