Foreign ministers from the UK, France and Germany are planning to call for an emergency meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, to deal with Iran. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it was "highly probable" the IAEA would refer Iran to the UN Security Council. Iran's president has insisted his country's nuclear research will go on despite the Western "fuss".
Iran broke the seals on two more of its nuclear sites on Thursday, an unnamed Western diplomat in Vienna has said. The diplomat told several news agencies that Iran's nuclear equipment was in poor shape, and that it would be some time before work could begin. "There's a lot of humidity, corrosion. It's going to take a long time," said the diplomat, who was said to be close to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.
Tehran broke international seals on its Natanz nuclear research facility on Tuesday, prompting concern from the US, EU and Russia. The West fears Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge which Tehran has always denied. Mr Straw accused Iran of violating an understanding with the IAEA.
"When it became clear two-and-a-half years ago that Iran was in breach of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the board of governors could have referred Iran immediately to the Security Council," he said on Thursday. "We suspended that action in return for Iran suspending its uranium-enrichment activities. Iran has now broken a key part of that deal."
He said the EU was "not talking about sanctions at this stage", adding that the US and Russia were "broadly in the same place" as Europe on Iran's nuclear ambitions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have said that Russia, China, the US and EU will meet in London next week to discuss Iran. The IAEA has said Tehran is about to start small-scale nuclear enrichment.
Course of action
The talks taking place in Berlin will involve Mr Straw, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would not be intimidated by "all of the fuss created by the big powers".
The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says Iran's conservative president seems almost to be relishing the sense of looming confrontation - and that those who had suggested Iran was just testing the waters look set to be disappointed.
Iran is banking on divisions within the international community, our correspondent says. Its parliament has passed a law obliging the Iranian government to stop short-notice visits of its nuclear sites by UN inspectors if it is referred to the UN Security Council.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16