AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency Thursday welcomed the delay in adopting a Security Council resolution on Iran and its nuclear program.
More time is needed for negotiations with Iran to address concerns about its program, said Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"I hope people will adopt a cool-headed approach," he told reporters during a visit to the Netherlands. "We need compromises from both sides to ensure that Iran has the right nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."
He said Iran needed to build confidence withthe international community, and would need "a transitional period before confidence is built."
Key Security Council members agreed this week to postpone a draft resolution, giving Iran another two weeks to reevaluate its insistence on developing its uranium enrichment capabilities.
Under the proposed draft, the Security Council's demand in late March for Iran to stop enrichment would be made mandatory, and Tehran would be given a short period to comply. If Tehran refuses, the resolution says the council intends to consider "further measures" to ensure compliance, which could include sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany will prepare a package of incentives and sanctions, a European official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because there has been no official announcement.
The official said the package is likely to include issues related to energy security and civilian nuclear power. The package will be presented to European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, and if approved will be presented to the Iranian government, the official said.
China and Russia have balked at British, French and U.S. efforts to put a Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. Such a move would declare Iran a threat to international peace and security and set the stage for further measures if Tehran refuses to comply.
"I think its a very good idea that the Security Council is holding its horses," said ElBaradei, who was in the Netherlands to receive an International Four Freedoms award on Saturday for his work with the IAEA.
"The more we can go back to the negotiating table, the more we can address grievances from both sides, the more we have a chance to have a durable solution," he said.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says it aims only to generate energy.