The EU has warned that it will accompany the UN Security Council in punitive action should Iran fail to provide a ‘clear response’ over its nuclear work.
In a draft statement at a summit in Brussels Friday, the leaders of the 27-member bloc said that they would stand behind the UNSC if Iran failed to meet what they described as “its international obligations.”
“Iran’s persistent failure to meet its international obligations and Iran’s apparent lack of interest in pursuing negotiations require a clear response, including through appropriate measures,” the draft document said.
The EU leaders added that they would back action against Iran, which they claim is not cooperating sufficiently with the international community.
“Consistent with the dual-track approach, the European Union would support action by the UNSC if Iran continues not to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program.”
“The European Union stands ready to take the necessary steps to accompany this UNSC process,” should the United Nations move toward punitive action against Iran, the draft statement said.
The statement comes as the United States and its allies, Britain and France, all among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, are pushing for additional sanctions against Iran.
Iran is already under three rounds of UNSC sanctions over its nuclear work.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said “the international community will have to consider further actions” should Iran continue to fail to meet what she called “its obligations.”
Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Grant also said that talk of possible fresh sanctions would kick off “at the beginning of the new year” if Tehran goes ahead with its nuclear work, without reassuring the West over its peaceful nature.
His French counterpart Gerard Araud also said that “France will present a new resolution of sanctions” if Iran does not respond to the West’s call to heed UNSC demands.
In a fresh move, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a new resolution against Iran over the construction of its second enrichment facility.
The resolution calls on Tehran to immediately halt construction of the site.
Iran says the resolution is a “politically-motivated” move aimed at mounding pressure on the country and has warned that it could harm “the constructive atmosphere of cooperation.”
The developments come as Western countries, spearheaded by the US, have been pressuring Iran to accept a UN-backed draft deal which wants Iran to send most of its domestically produced low enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be converted into more refined fuel for the Tehran reactor that produces medical isotopes.
Iranian officials rejected the proposal, first floated by the administration of US President Barack Obama, saying there are no guarantees that the country would in fact receive the fuel it requires.
Tehran says it is ready to accept the nuclear swap only if the West can win back its trust.
Tehran defends its nuclear work as totally peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is signatory.
The EU foreign ministers will consider options for the next steps against Iran in an upcoming meeting in Brussels on January 25.