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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:09, September 21, 2005
EU ratchets up pressure on Iran; Russia opposes
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The European Union (EU) turned up the pressure on Iran Tuesday with a draft resolution reporting Teheran to the United Nations (UN) Security Council for violating its international atomic obligations, but diplomats said Russia was strongly opposed.

The draft asks the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "to report to all members of the Agency and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations ... Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement."

The NPT is the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the benchmark arms control pact. The IAEA is required to report breaches of the NPT to the Security Council, which has the power to impose economic sanctions.

"It looks like the draft will be officially submitted to the IAEA board of governors on Wednesday," an EU diplomat said on the sidelines of the 35-nation IAEA board's weeklong meeting.

However, given Russia's opposition to the resolution, it was unclear whether the IAEA board would vote on it this week.

The EU draft, which will probably undergo revisions, makes no mention of sanctions.

It does, however, recommend that the Security Council urge Iran to allow the IAEA to inspect any sites it wants to visit, whether or not Iran is legally bound to do so. It also wants the Council to tell Iran to resume both talks with the EU and a freeze of sensitive nuclear work that Teheran ended last month.

Russian opposition

Despite broad Western support for the EU draft resolution, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, diplomats said Moscow opposed any involvement of the Council.

At a dinner meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) countries on Monday, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada all tried to persuade Russia that Iran should be brought before the United Nations' highest body.

But Moscow was not convinced that taking the issue outside of the Vienna-based IAEA was necessary.

He was summarising a diplomatic cable from New York, where the dinner meeting took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The diplomat said the other G8 countries would continue trying to persuade the Russians that it was necessary to report Iran to the UN's highest body for hiding its uranium enrichment programme for 18 years and failing to co-operate with the nearly three-year-old IAEA investigation.

Facing heated debate over its nuclear issue, Iran said it would review allowing short notice inspections of its nuclear facilities, if referred to the UN Security Council.

"If we are referred to the UN Security Council, we will review our stance on the additional protocol," Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told reporters Tuesday.

Source: China Daily

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