At Monday's UN Security Council meeting, the foreign ministers of the six countries - Germany, France, the U.S., Britain, China, Russia - leading international efforts to persuade Iran to freeze uranium enrichment issued a joint statement calling for the dispute to be resolved through negotiations and passed a new resolution.
"The statement by the Iran Six is as important as the UN resolution, which should be considered together. The statement consists of new conditions and we hope that Iran will review its position [on its nuclear program] in accordance with these new elements. And the Six should also bear in mind the positive steps Iran has made," Vitaly Churkin said.
The envoy went on to say that EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has been authorized to continue negotiating with Iran on its uranium enrichment.
Churkin said he believes that resuming talks could lead to Tehran stopping the construction of a heavy-water reactor, as well as its enrichment program.
He also believes that recent nuclear fuel deliveries by Russia to Iran's Bushehr plant, that Russia is building, play a positive role by giving Iran the opportunity to halt enrichment without affecting its peaceful nuclear program.
Churkin said it is important "the progress already achieved in talks between Iran and the IAEA [UN nuclear watchdog] ...has been taken into consideration," adding that new resolution 1803 clearly rules out military operations against the Islamic Republic.
Under the new sanctions, the accounts of certain Iranian companies and banks will be frozen, and goods leaving and entering the country will be subjected to inspections. In addition, travel bans have been imposed on five Iranian officials involved in nuclear projects.
The diplomatic standoff between Iran and the West began almost six years ago over suspicions that Tehran was secretly developing atomic weapons. Tehran has always maintained that it needs nuclear technology for electricity generation only. Two rounds of UN sanctions were previously imposed on Tehran - in December 2006 and March 2007.