Ban Ki-Moon Says: Iran Could Use U.N. Talks As Cover to Build Bomb


ban-ki-moonThe United Nations must be decisive and swift in judging whether diplomacy can resolve world concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, or invite the risk that Iran, like North Korea, will use talks as a cover to build a bomb.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ban said he wants to accelerate diplomatic talks with Iran and give them new urgency. World powers will hold another meeting with Iran later this month, the latest in a series of thus-far ineffective efforts to resolve questions about the scope and intent of Iran’s nuclear development.

“We should not give much more time to the Iranians, and we should not waste time,” Ban said. “We have seen what happened with the DPRK.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name for North Korea, exploded a third nuclear test device this week. The North exploited a decade of fitful diplomatic efforts to make progress toward a weapon.

“It ended up that they [were] secretly, quietly, without any obligations, without any pressure, making progress,” Ban said.

The U.N. Security Council must “show a firm, decisive and effective, quick response,” Ban said, that makes plain to Iran that the rest of the world is not convinced that it is not seeking nuclear weapons.

Ban said he told Iran’s supreme leader and president last year that he is not satisfied with their assurances that the program is peaceful. He traveled to Tehran over objections from the United States and other nations that his presence could reward the clerical regime.

In the interview, ahead of a meeting with new Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Ban sounded frustrated by the slow pace and lack of results from the latest round of international talks with Iran. The U.N.-backed envoy, E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton, has already signaled low expectations for the Feb. 26 session in the Kazakh capital of Almaty.

Iran recently sought to acquire tens of thousands of highly specialized magnets used in centrifuge machines, The Post reported Thursday, a sign that the country may be planning an expansion of its nuclear program that could shorten the path to a weapon.

Iran also has taken recent steps to ease Western fears, chiefly by converting a portion of its uranium stockpile into a metal form that cannot be easily used for weapons. A forthcoming report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to document Iran’s dual moves.


{ Newscenter}