The United Nations Security Council on March 29th issued a Presidential Statement calling on Iran to re-establish "full and sustained suspension of all [uranium] enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development." "The Security Council," said the statement, "expresses the conviction that such suspension and full and verified Iranian compliance would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantee's Iran's nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes." To monitor Iran's compliance with the required steps, the Security Council requested a report, to be conveyed to both the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, within thirty days from the Director General of the I-A-E-A.
"Iran is more isolated now than ever," says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The U-N Security Council statement, she says, sends "an unmistakable message to Iran that its efforts to conceal its nuclear program and evade its international obligations are unacceptable." And John Bolton, the U.S. Ambassador to the U-N, says the Security Council is sending a clear message to the government of Iran:
"This is simply a statement that says to Iran: You have consistently disobeyed resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, violated your safeguard agreements, you've violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, you must now come into compliance, and if in thirty days that hasn't happened, and we expect a report from the I-A-E-A director general, in thirty days, the Security Council will be competent and ready to act."
In February, the I-A-E-A Board of Governors voted by a large majority to report Iran to the U-N Security Council. In September 2005, the board found that Iran’s twenty-year history of hiding nuclear activities violated its safeguards agreement.
Last August, Iran unilaterally broke a two-year-old agreement with Germany, France, and Britain, and resumed uranium conversion. Iran took a further confrontational step in January 2006 by breaking I-A-E-A seals on its centrifuges and resuming uranium enrichment work. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
The message is clear. Iran must act now and should respond positively to the U-N Security Council call to take the steps necessary to resolve the international community's concerns about its nuclear program.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.