UN sanctions should be ‘thrown in dust bin’: Ahmadinejad
Clinton tells Iran leaders door is still open to talks
Bogota (AFP) June 9, 2010 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Iran’s “diverse leadership” Tuesday that there is still an opportunity for them to return to negotiations despite new UN Security Council sanctions. Speaking during a visit to Colombia, the chief US diplomat did not rule out a negotiating role for Brazil and Turkey, which voted against the sanctions after clinching a nuclear swap deal with Tehran dismissed by Washington. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Clinton told reporters traveling with her after she discussed the sanctions vote with President Barack Obama on the phone.
“We can, we believe, slow down and certainly interfere with and make much more difficult their continuing nuclear program through these sanctions,” she said, adding that is in itself an “important” accomplishment. “At the same we do want them back at the negotiating table, and whether they come back with the P5-plus-1 or in some other configuration is yet to be determined,” she said. The P5-plus-1 refers to the permanent five UN Security Council members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — plus Germany, which have led the negotiations with Iran over the last few years. She said the new sanctions sends a “message to the entire Iranian leadership, which is quite diverse in their assessments and reactions, that there is still an opportunity for you to participate” in negotiations.
Asked whether Washington is open to including Brazil and Turkey in the negotiations, she replied: “We’re open to effective diplomacy.” In her briefing to journalists, she said she expected that Turkey and Brazil would enforce the sanctions despite their “no” vote and that they the “will continue to play an important role” in future diplomatic overtures to Iran. In talks in the last few months with Brazil and Turkey, Clinton argued that Iran would only seriously negotiate when it feels the bite of sanctions while Brasilia and Ankara said more time was needed for diplomacy to work. Clinton said she has appointed Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for non-proliferation, to head up a team to “oversee implementation of the sanctions” rather than “leave it to chance.”
Clinton said she reminded Lebanon about its responsibilities at both the United Nations and in the Arab world when she had a phone call with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman earlier Wednesday before the vote took place. There were concerns among Western diplomats that Lebanon, which has pro-Iranian Hezbollah members in its government, would vote against the sanctions, but in the end it abstained. She said she told Sleiman the vote “was not just about Iran” but about Lebanon’s role in “enforcing the international order” through the United Nations. Clinton also reminded him that, as the Arab member on the UN Security Council, Lebanon must be aware “there was a vocal minority within the Arab world that was siding with Iran, but a very concerned majority that was not.”
The chief US diplomat hailed the vote as a “very important decision by the international community to demonstrate resolve and unity in the face of Iran’s continuing defiance” of international rules and norms. She said the successful sanctions vote shows how the Obama administration managed to create a unified international response by demonstrating its willingness to engage Iran. “We’re gratified by the positive response that a year of engagement has produced,” she said. When the administration took office in January 2009, she said, “there was no appetite in the international community” for further sanctions.
by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) June 9, 2010
Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led a chorus of defiant Iranian criticism of new UN sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic on Wednesday, saying they deserved to be “thrown in the dust bin.”
“These resolutions are not worth a dime for the Iranian nation,” he said.
“I gave one of them (world powers) a message that the resolutions you issue are like a used hanky which should be thrown in the dust bin. They are not capable of hurting Iranians.”
The UN Security Council slapped a fourth set of punitive measures on Iran, hoping to persuade Tehran to curb its suspect nuclear programme through broadened military and financial sanctions.
The vote in the 15-member council was 12 in favour of the US-drafted resolution, with Lebanon abstaining and Brazil and Turkey voting against.
World powers led by the United States accuse Iran of masking a weapons drive with what Tehran says is a purely civilian atomic programme.
Iran says it is pursuing nuclear technology purely for the peaceful goal of generating electricity.
Ahmadinejad lashed out at world powers in a speech in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.
“Those who have atomic bombs, have used them, stored them or threatened others with them, keep issuing resolutions against us under the pretext that Iran might build an atomic bomb in the future,” he said.
Tehran’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Iran will not halt uranium enrichment despite the new sanctions.
“Nothing will be changed. We’ll continue without any interruption our enrichment activities under the full scope of IAEA safeguards… and the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” Soltanieh told reporters in Vienna after the sanctions vote.
“Even a second enrichment activity will not be suspended,” Soltanieh said of Iran’s recent move to enrich uranium to a higher level of 20 percent purity.
“What happened today in New York was another dark chapter of mistakes and miscalculations” by Western nations, he added.
Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Borujerdi told Mehr news agency that parliament’s commission on national security and foreign policy will “next Sunday draw up the draft of a bill” aimed at revising ties with the IAEA.
Uranium enrichment can be used not only to make fuel for nuclear energy, but also the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
Iran has long been enriching uranium to low levels of purity, in defiance of three previous sets of UN sanctions.
Earlier this year, it began enriching to higher levels, ostensibly to make the fuel needed for a Tehran research reactor which makes radioisotopes for medical use.
Iran’s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi slammed China, which has emerged as Iran’s main trading partner in recent years, for agreeing to the sanctions.
“China is gradually losing its respectable position in the Islamic world and by the time it wakes up, it will be too late,” he told ISNA news agency.
“There was a time when China branded the US as a paper tiger. I wonder what we can call China for agreeing to this resolution.”
Salehi, who oversees Iran’s nuclear programme, also accused Beijing of “double standards” by taking a position towards “North Korea which has left the NPT” different than “with Iran which is a member of the NPT.”
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, speaking to Fars news agency from Dublin, called the sanctions a “backward move.”
“We had made our move on the chessboard for cooperation and confidence building which was the Tehran declaration,” he said of a nuclear fuel swap deal signed on May 17 by Iran, Brazil and Turkey.
“Now they (the world powers) are making their move and they have to wait for Iran to sum up the situation and make its next move.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Iran’s Al-Alam television the Security Council had taken an “incorrect step” which would “complicate the situation” more.
And Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, just minutes before the sanctions vote, told state news agency IRNA Tehran would deliver a “firm” response if it were confronted with new UN measures.