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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“Issuing resolutions and imposing sanctions is not the correct language for dialogue and interaction with Iran,” said Mr. Larijani, adding that “sensationalism and making a fuss will not have any influence on the Iranian people’s will to resist.”Skip to next paragraph
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Amorim, for his part, said that he didn't see Iran as being "close" to making a bomb.
“Call us naïve, but I think those who believe in everything the US intelligence service says are much more naïve," said the foreign minister in a Sunday press interview ahead of his two-day visit wrapping up today. "Look at Iraq.”
Ahmadinejad courts Zimbabwe, Uganda
On Monday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the veto rights of its five permanent members “satanic tools” – along with atomic bombs.
Ahmadinejad has taken Iran's diplomacy to Africa. In the past few days, he has visited Zimbabwe – where he reportedly discussed swapping oil for uranium ore – and UNSC-member Uganda.
The State Department official quoted by AFP said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during Ahmadinejad’s visit, and that Mr. Museveni said he would “raise certain issues with Iran and help them understand what their responsibilities are.”
Uganda did not indicate its position after being wooed by both Iran and the US, which has been engaged for months in building support for new sanctions.
Austria unmoved by Iran's overtures
Handling the Europe portfolio, Mr. Mottaki was in Vienna on Sunday to meet with Yukiya Amano, head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, on reviving a stalled nuclear fuel swap deal first put forward in October.
Mottaki called for “a new beginning, for new talks.” But diplomats said he made little progress, and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted only that the 2.5-hour meeting, requested by Iran, was “held is a business-like atmosphere.”
The Iranian minister also got little traction with Austria, which holds a non-permanent UNSC seat.
“[Sanctions] will be the consequence if something does not change on the Iranian side,” said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, who also criticized Iran’s human rights record during a joint press conference with Mottaki. He said new suggestions from Iran regarding the fuel swap did not appear sufficient to stop moves toward sanctions.
“The clock is ticking, time is running out for Iran,” Mr. Spindelegger said.
Mottaki calls for more democratic Security Council
Mottaki said talk of sanctions was “unjust” and called on UNSC members to be “independent” when it came to a vote. On Monday Mottaki moved on to Bosnia, which holds another non-permanent UNSC seat.
“We do believe that the Security Council should try to democratize itself, to give the chance to all members to think and consider and make decisions on the basis of their own analysis,” Mr. Mottaki said in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital.