Some European officials are saying that the initial action they are seeking would be deliberately undramatic and well short of sanctions. That it would be limited to just a warning from the president of the [UN] Security Council. Now is it fair to say that the Europeans are about to start a "no-end-game" strategy on Iran? Christina Gallach:
I think it is fair to say that the European Union now continues to lead a process by which we want Iran to insure to all the world that the nuclear program is only of peaceful objectives. And we want to send the issue to the Security Council because we think that with the authority of the highest international body, which is the Security Council, truly backing the very serious warnings and demands of the [International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)], Iran will have to comply with its obligations. And we think that this is the best manner -- a gradual, incremental process from the international body that stand for peace and security in the world, that represents the whole international community and a message to the Iranian authorities that they have to comply with their obligations. And a message -- clear as well -- to the people of Iran that Europe has nothing against them. On the contrary, we want them to move along the path of democracy and along the path of playing a role in world affairs which is an important one. RFE/RL:
It is generally believed that Europe would ask the Security Council to step in with tougher measures should Iran refuse to cooperate with the international community. Among such measures they have mentioned a resolution to force cooperation. How do you think Europe or the international community can force cooperation? Gallach:
Well, all this has to be decided by the Security Council. That is why for us the first step is to go to [IAEA headquarters in] Vienna on 2 February with the widest and strongest support possible from the international community represented in Vienna to send the dossier to the Security Council and there to take a decision on the way ahead. We think that Iran and the leaders in Iran cannot close their eyes either to what the agency is saying or to what the United Nations Security Council says. But it is not for us to tell what the Security Council is going to put forward, but clearly we think that the noncompliance by Iran of the IAEA resolutions is more than a serious reason to bring forward the issue to the Security Council. RFE/RL:
And what if Iran withstands the force and goes completely nuclear and possibly even taking measures such as blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly half of the world's oil passes? Gallach:
Listen, no one is talking about any military action. Nobody is talking about any other instrument than diplomatic pressure. We are talking about a very serious issue -- the total breach of trust and confidence of the international community vis a vis Iran and we understand very well that this issue is a matter that has to be solved through dialogue, through talks. And we want to be sure that Iran does what has to be done, which is to comply with international agency resolutions in order to come back to the negotiating table. That is what is the center of the matter -- a clear message that all the international community -- not just Europe, but the rest of the world -- is sending a message to Iran that it has to go back to the negotiating table. And for that they need to comply with the demands that the international community has put out. RFE/RL:
How likely is it that the EU wins enough votes at the IAEA meeting on 2 February to report Iran to the Security Council? Gallach:
We think it is a matter which has already been in front of the Security Council -- not with the same terms -- and the European position has always been backed in the IAEA. Remember the vote which took place in September which was a show of overwhelming support. Remember there were other occasions. We think that the power of the European position is clear. Everyone sees and understands that there has been a breach of the fulfillment of the obligations on the side of Iran. Now what matters is that the position of the EU is well explained and that everybody understands the graduality of the process that the European Union seeks from the international organizations -- starting with the IAEA and then the Security Council.
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SPEAKS: Listen to excerpts from a November 22 Radio Farda interview with Gregory Schulte, the U.S. representative on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
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For RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program, click here.
An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.