The Russian administration believes there is no reason to send Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed Saturday to persuade Russia to offer new support for a hard line on Iran's disputed nuclear program, despite making a hastily arranged trip to the Russian capital.
After consulting with French leaders on Iran and other Middle East issues, Rice shuttled to the Russian capital Friday ahead of hastily arranged meetings today with Russian President Vladimir Putin and others. France, Britain and Germany have led an effort to persuade Iran to drop what the United States insists is a covert drive for nuclear weapons.
Rice was going to press President Vladimir Putin to commit to backing U.S.-led efforts to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council if it continues to reject talks with European powers and keeps up sensitive nuclear-related activities. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday there was no reason to send Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was the only competent body to resolve the issue. The minister concluded that there would be no reason to discuss the Iran nuclear issue in any other body except the IAEA.
The Bush administration threatened Saturday to take Iran before the United Nations Security Council "at a time of our choosing" if Iran does not return to negotiations over a program that could give it the ability to make nuclear weapons. But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to gain Russian support for prompt Security Council action, undermining U.S. efforts to put pressure on the Iranian regime.
The Russian administration believes that Iran has a right to make nuclear fuel even though the IAEA board said last month that Iran had not complied with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Twelve nations including Russia and China abstained on that IAEA decision. Twenty-two voted in favor and one, Venezuela, voted no. The board, which previously has never acted on a majority vote but only by consensus, meets again Nov. 24. It looks unlikely now that it will send Iran before the Security Council at that time.