United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is urging a resumption of dialogue between Western powers and Iran on the Islamic republic's nuclear program -- and he says Iran has a responsibility to get the talks on track.
Ban said on January 27 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that "the onus is on Iran."
"They have to prove themselves that their nuclear development program is genuinely for peaceful purposes, which they have not done yet."
Negotiations between Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members -- Russia, China, the United States, Britain, and France -- and Germany have been stalled for a year.
Ban's comments came as a high-level team of experts from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency were reportedly heading to Tehran for inspections.
In November, the UN agency said it had evidence that Iran had carried out activities “relevant" to the development of a nuclear device.
Iran has denied any such work.
The Islamic republic has already been subjected to four rounds of United Nations' sanctions over its refusal to halt nuclear work that could be diverted toward the creation of an atomic weapon.
China 'May Join' Effort
On January 23, the European Union announced a ban on Iranian oil imports in a bid to increase the pressure on Tehran to curtail its nuclear activities.
The EU ban came just weeks after the United States announced sanctions targeting Iran's Central Bank, which processes Iran's oil revenues.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, speaking at the Davos conference on January 27, maintained that the EU sanctions could be seen as part of a broader intensifying effort to "wean the world of dependence on Iranian oil."
He believes China, a large importer of Iranian oil, may be thinking about joining the endeavor.
"My sense is...that...China views it as very much in China's interest not to see Iran undo the delicate balance of power there is in the [Persian] Gulf."
A prominent Iranian lawmaker, Hossein Ibrahimi, the vice-chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, has been quoted as saying that Iran's parliament on January 29 will begin debating a draft law requiring the government to halt oil exports to Europe immediately, before the EU ban comes into force.
compiled from agency reports