United Nations, Nov 21: Iran's UN envoy has said he did not expect a new Security Council resolution soon imposing fresh sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme, as Russia and China agreed with Iran's approach.
''I do not think that in the near future we are going to witness another resolution in the United Nations Security Council against Iran,'' Mohammad Khazaee told reporters yesterday.
Such a resolution would be the third since last December to impose sanctions on Iran to try to make it stop enriching uranium, which Western countries fear is aimed at making atomic weapons but Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only.
Iran has repeatedly said issues regarding its nuclear activities should be dealt with by the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, not by the Security Council.
Khazaee said he did not foresee a quick new resolution because ''I think more than ever the whole world today found out that the only and the best way to address the issue of the Iranian nuclear peaceful energy program is the agency (IAEA).'' He said Russia and China, which both hold vetoes in the Security Council and can block further sanctions, agreed.
''The Russians and Chinese of course are supporting cooperation with the IAEA and they think this is the way to go ahead,'' he said.
Beijing, which has expanding economic ties with Iran, and Moscow have been unenthusiastic about Western pressure for new sanctions. China urged Iran yesterday to abide by UN resolutions but said there was still room to negotiate a deal.
The issue is expected to return to the Security Council shortly following an IAEA report last week that said Iran had made important strides toward clarifying past nuclear work but that key questions remained unresolved.
Iran said the report showed it had been telling the truth about its atomic plans. But US officials said it showed Tehran still defying the international community and that Washington and its allies would seek further sanctions.
Khazaee repeated earlier Iranian warnings that more sanctions could lead Tehran to stop cooperating with the IAEA.
''Taking the case to the Security Council is a decision that would not encourage Iran for continuation of working with the agency,'' he said. ''Referring the case to the Security Council would be a big mistake for those who push for it, a big mistake.'' Along with the IAEA findings, Western countries are also awaiting a report by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on talks he is due to hold with Iran this month on Iran's readiness to suspend uranium enrichment and negotiate on its nuclear programme.
But Khazaee said Solana had only a subsidiary role. ''The role of Solana is to assist the EU for a better understanding of the negotiations between Iran and the agency,'' he said.
He also indicated, as Iranian leaders have frequently said, that Tehran had no intention of suspending enrichment or agreeing to suggestions that Russia or other countries could supply it with enriched uranium for power generation.
Iran did not want to become dependent on outside suppliers, he said, adding: ''We are not sure, even if we suspend, those who follow the case against Iran are going to give up.''