UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday a negotiated
settlement with Iran over its nuclear program should be sought, and he warned
that military intervention would be "unwise and disastrous."
Annan, who steps down as UN chief
Dec. 31, issued the warning as the Security Council debated a resolution that
would impose sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The
United States is considering sending a second aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf
as a show of force against Iran.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan speaks to the media during a
news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York, Tuesday, Dec.
19, 2006. [AP]
He addressed concerns about a possible military operation in Iran at a
farewell news conference in response to a question about how the Security
Council should deal with crises after the Iraq war. The council refused to
authorize a war against Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Annan called the UN's failure
to stop the conflict "the worst moment" of his 10 years as secretary-general.
"You mentioned Iran, which implies that there is concern that there may be
another military operation there," Annan told a reporter. "First of all, I don't
think we are there yet, or we should go in that direction."
"I think it would be rather unwise and disastrous," he said.
"I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed
cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement for the
sake of the region and for the sake of the world," he said.
The Bush administration has repeatedly declined to rule out the use of force
in Iran, although senior officials have also said their first choice is to rely
A senior US defense official said the idea of building up US Navy forces has
been discussed for some time and one proposal is to send a second aircraft
carrier to the region. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because
the idea has not been approved, said it's unclear when a decision will be made.
Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production
of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran's ultimate
goal is the production of nuclear weapons
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that possible
Security Council sanctions would not stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment,
a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes or
fuel for a nuclear bomb.
Annan expressed concern that because of Iran's nuclear program and the
situation in Israel, which is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons,
several governments in the Middle East have said recently they are going to
explore facilities to produce nuclear energy.