UNITED NATIONS — The findings of yesterday's National Intelligence Estimate could split the U.N. Security Council even further on the issue of Iran, several diplomats here say.
"It will add to the confusion," one diplomat, who said he has not yet read the report thoroughly, said. But another ambassador, who represents a Western country, said, "The National Intelligence Estimate doesn't have a standing in the U.N. process. It's an American report."
Recent reports from the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, and the European envoy Javier Solana do not "represent a positive outcome," the ambassador said. The Security Council is expected to weigh a response soon to the report from the Vienna-based IAEA.
A Russian diplomat did not share the Western ambassador's view on Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. "What ElBaradei has said is, 'They haven't given all the answers to all the questions, but they have given pretty many answers to pretty many questions,'" the deputy Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Konstantin Dolgov, said. "We cannot disregard several positive trends."
Britain has quietly circulated proposals to council members for a resolution that would include a new round of sanctions against Iran. But after yesterday's report, diplomats here said they expected a new round of consultations among the foreign ministries of the five permanent council members and Germany before the Iranian issue would return to the council, which is not expected before next week at the earliest.
"The Security Council demands that Iran suspend its enrichment program, its reprocessing program, its heavy water program, and there is no evidence that that has happened," the American ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said. "Iran needs to suspend those activities. And we have said that we are willing to negotiate with them once they do that."
With its demand that Iran suspend enrichment, the council is seeking "not to prevent them from enrichment for good, but basically to facilitate the process of getting the answers" about the country's past and present nuclear activities, Mr. Dolgov said.