UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 29 — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that Iran’s construction of the Qom nuclear enrichment facility violates U.N. resolutions requiring it to halt all nuclear enrichment activities, adding that Tehran must prove to the world that it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.
Ban’s remarks placed the U.N. body squarely behind the Obama administration’s campaign to ratchet up international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions on the eve of talks it is to hold Thursday with the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Ban said that he had outlined his concerns in a face-to-face meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday and that he would press the same message in talks later Tuesday with Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki.
“The burden of proof is on their side,” Ban said. “This new Iranian enrichment facility is contrary to the Security Council resolution. . . . They should give full access to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] — this is what I told him.”
Also Tuesday, Iran’s nuclear chief said in an unusually frank disclosure that the country’s new enrichment site was built for maximum protection from aerial attack: carved into a mountain and near a military compound of the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Associated Press reported.
Ali Akbar Salehi’s statement came with a hard-line message …