Iran under pressure over its nuclear programme while North Korea moves forward

Both Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programmes have come under the spotlight in the last few days for different reasons. While Iran is facing increasing pressure, North Korea moves forward.

Pressure on Iran increases as it doesn’t want to give up its uranium enrichment programme. This comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the country missed the set deadline to stop its activities.

Meanwhile, North Korea has invited the head of the IAEA for talks.

It was on 23rd December that members of the UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment programme which Iran continues to insist is for peaceful purposes only.

And now the IAEA finding Iran has not stopped, but expanded, its activities may pave the way for the possibility of tougher UN sanctions which both Russia and China have been against.

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, Iran was keen to stress that nuclear weapons have no place in its military doctrine. “As we have indicated time and again, Iran considers the pursuit and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be its inalienable right recognized under the NPT,” stated Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations.

Representatives from the 5 permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany are due to meet in London on Monday. They will begin discussions on what action to take against Iran next.

In the meantime Washington has renewed its criticism of the country. “We believe it would be a serious mistake if a nation such as Iran were to become a nuclear power,” said Dick Cheney, the U.S. Vice President. Cheney went on to say all options remain on the table-therefore not ruling out the possibility of military action-but he did state a preference for a peaceful resolution.

The UN have said they hope Iran will learn from recent developments over the North Korean nuclear programme when it’s hoped talks with IAEA Chief, Mohamed El Baradei, will lead to the country once again becoming a member of that organization. “I hope sincerely that Iranian authorities should learn from the case of North Korean nuclear issue. They should think about a better future for their country and their people through dialogue,” stressed Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General.

El Baradei hopes to discuss the details of North Korea’s suspension and eventual dismantling, of its nuclear programme. The invitation represents the first time the country will allow its nuclear programme to be inspected by outside forces.