Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:22 PM ET
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union's three biggest powers said on Thursday talks with Iran over its nuclear program were at an impasse and that Tehran should be brought before the U.N. Security Council.
Such a move could eventually lead to international sanctions on the world's fourth biggest oil exporter.
Accusing Tehran of defiantly turning its back on the international community, the western powers said it had consistently breached its commitments and failed to show the world its nuclear activities were peaceful.
"Our talks with Iran have reached a dead end," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after talks in Berlin with his British and French counterparts and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined their call for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, board of governors to discuss what she called Iran's "defiant" resumption of uranium enrichment work.
"That meeting would be to report Iran's noncompliance with its safeguard obligations to the U.N. Security Council," Rice told a news conference in Washington.
Tehran shot back that it was not worried by the threat of bringing the issue to the Security Council and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator reiterated his country's stance that its nuclear plans were for peaceful means.
"We have already declared that our intention is to do nuclear research, it has nothing to do with enrichment," Ali Larijani told CNN.
CHINA AND RUSSIA
If Iran is referred to the Security Council, it will not automatically face sanctions. Rice said there was a "menu of possibilities" but declined to give any specifics
The EU3 and the United States will also have to fight hard to win the support of Russia and China, permanent Council members with veto powers, both to send Iran to the Council and for tough action once the case is referred there. Continued ...