French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday, following a meeting with Iran, "The negotiating process has reached an impasse and the involvement of the Security Council is needed to ensure that the requests -- many times repeated -- of the agency are respected."
Iranian officials, who defend the country's right to develop nuclear technology for civilian purposes, had hoped to dissuade the EU and its American allies from pushing for international intervention. Iran's top negotiator at the talks, Reza Vaidi, deputy head of the Supreme National Security Council, said the meeting had been positive, Reuters reported.
But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said further measures are needed to prevent the country from building a nuclear weapon, the main fear of the United States and its Western allies.
"They need to suspend the activities that they have reengaged in and get back to negotiations," Rice said at a press conference before a meeting of the Security Council's permanent members and Germany in London.
Earlier in January, Iran removed seals from its nuclear power plants, ending an IAEA-mandated suspension of its program and months of negotiations over how best to provide the country with nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Since then, Iran has expressed interest in, but subsequently refused, an offer backed by the West and put forth by Moscow for Russia to enrich uranium on its soil then return it to Iran for non-military use.
Before Monday's meeting, Iran had made an attempt to appease the West by allowing U.N. nuclear inspectors to check equipment at Lavisan, one of the country's former military sites. Its prior refusal to allow inspectors at Lavisan had been a sticking point for Europe and the United States.
EU officials are expected to draft a resolution for the IAEA board following talks in London, but Russia and China are expected to strike down any referral, which could lead to sanctions against Iran and have possible impacts on their economies.