Iran to Meet with UN Security Council as Sanctions Loom

By Matt Loffman

May 6, 2010 4:25pm

ABC News' Kirit Radia reports: Staring down the barrel of another potential round of UN Security Council sanctions, Iran will meet tonight with representatives from all 15 countries on the council – including the United States. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will host the meeting at the Iranian Mission to the UN in New York, according to a UN diplomat who requested anonymity to discuss a closed-door meeting. According to the UN diplomat, representatives from the council’s permanent five members, who along with Germany have been formulating a new round of sanctions, will be represented by their deputy permanent representative to the UN. The United States will be represented at that level by Ambassador Alejandro Wolff. A US official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, says the US will be a FULL participant in this meeting, not just an observer. The US won a major victory last month when veto-wielding China, which has significant investments in Iran, agreed to take part in talks on sanctions. The official said Iran can expect the P5 “will speak in a collective voice and ask Iran to meet its obligations.” Asked if the so-called P5 would lay out the stakes, ie the possible sanctions, Iran faces for continued noncompliance, the US official said “I’d imagine that would be part of the discussion.” The official notably couldn’t say the same for the rest of the members of the council, which is divided with some members like Brazil and Turkey urging more time to negotiate. The US official told ABC News: “This is yet another opportunity for Iran to show the council, which is the body charged with upholding the rules of the international system, that Iran is prepared to meet its international obligations. As the President has said often, we all know what Iran is against, they need to tell us what they’re for and this is a chance for them to do that. We think it is also an indication of the lengths to which the Iranians are going to make their case, they clearly understand that the ongoing efforts at the Security Council and elsewhere are isolating them. We think this meeting will make clear to them that they cannot escape their responsibility.” The US official made clear that this meeting is not in lieu of Iran’s responding formally to the IAEA, which the US and others have designated as the official channel for Iran to accept or reject a nuclear fuel swap deal that was put on the table last fall. The US had hoped a new round of sanctions could have been passed by the end of last week, but now will likely have to wait until June. That’s because Lebanon, whose government contains members of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah, is unlikely to put an Iran sanctions resolution to a vote during May when it hold’s the council’s rotating presidency. On Monday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again urged Iran to come clean about its nuclear program, warning of new sanctions if it did not. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remained defiant this week during a visit to the United Nations in New York. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday, when asked about the possibility of sanctions, Ahamadinejad said “Iran will definitely continue on its path.”

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