Note shows big power split over Iran

Russia and China are urging the chief UN nuclear inspector to scrap US-backed plans to reveal intelligence on Iran`s nuclear arms experiments.

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2011, 10:08 AM IST

Vienna: Russia and China are urging the chief
UN nuclear inspector to scrap or delay US-backed plans to
reveal intelligence on Iran`s alleged nuclear arms
experiments, in a bluntly worded confidential document
obtained on Tuesday.
The diplomatic note to International Atomic Energy Agency
chief Yukiya Amano points to an East-West rift among the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council over how to deal
with concerns about Iran`s nuclear activities.

The United States, Britain and France want Amano to share
what his agency knows or suspects about Iran`s alleged weapons
experiments with the IAEA`s 35-nation board at its meeting
next month. But Russia`s and China`s opposition likely will
delay Western hopes of having the board report Tehran to the
Security Council for the second time for its nuclear defiance,
a referral that could open Iran to more sanctions.

In the note, Moscow and Beijing warn Amano against
"groundless haste" and urge him to "act cautiously," adding
that "such kind of report will only drive the Iranians into a
corner making them less cooperative."
An international official familiar with the matter said
Amano plans to go ahead nonetheless, arguing that it is his
duty to inform the decision-making board of evidence pointing
to such experiments.

Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and
Germany are formally unified in trying to persuade Iran to
meet concerns over its nuclear program. But a diplomat briefed
on the matter said he was told that the Russians and Chinese
went to Amano without consulting the other nations.

The diplomat suggested that the fractures within the
group may hinder any new attempt to engage Iran in talks over
its nuclear program. He, like others who consented to talk
about privileged issues, asked for anonymity.

A cell phone message left with Iran`s chief IAEA
representative was not immediately returned. Asked about the
Chinese-Russian note, chief US delegate Glyn Davies said
Washington supports "IAEA`s efforts to address questions about
the possible military dimensions of Iran`s nuclear programme."

"The burden remains on Iran to answer the IAEA`s
questions, which it has thus far refused to do," he said in an
e-mail.

PTI