Friday, February 15, 2013
Iran could use U.N. talks as cover to build bomb, Ban Ki-moon says.(TI).The United Nations must be decisive and swift in judging whether diplomacy can resolve world concerns about Iran's nuclear program, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Ban said he wants to accelerate diplomatic talks with Iran and give them new urgency.
World powers will hold another meeting with Iran later this month, the latest in a series of thus-far ineffective efforts to resolve questions about the scope and intent of Iran's nuclear development.
"We should not give much more time to the Iranians, and we should not waste time," Ban said. "We have seen what happened with the DPRK."
The U.N. Security Council must "show a firm, decisive and effective, quick response," Ban said, that makes plain to Iran that the rest of the world is not convinced that it is not seeking nuclear weapons.
Ban said he told Iran's supreme leader and president last year that he is not satisfied with their assurances that the program is peaceful. He traveled to Tehran over objections from the United States and other nations that his presence could reward the clerical regime.
In the interview, ahead of a meeting with new Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Ban sounded frustrated by the slow pace and lack of results from the latest round of international talks with Iran.
The U.N.-backed envoy, E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton, has already signaled low expectations for the Feb. 26 session in the Kazakh capital of Almaty.
Iran recently sought to acquire tens of thousands of highly specialized magnets used in centrifuge machines, The Post reported Thursday, a sign that the country may be planning an expansion of its nuclear program that could shorten the path to a weapon.
Kerry, who met with Ban and Ashton on Thursday, said the talks can progress only if the Iranians are ready to "make and discuss real offers and engage in a real dialogue."
The United States says Iran could assemble a weapon as soon as next year if it chose to do so. A shrinking of Iran's timeline for obtaining a weapons capability could increase pressure on Israel to launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"We are not going to get trapped into a delay-after-delay process here," Kerry said. "It is incumbent on the Iranians to prove that they are prepared to meet our willingness, President Obama's willingness, again and again stated by the president, to be open to a diplomatic resolution here."Read the full story here.