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British PM Tony Blair would like to avoid referring Iran to the UN if possible (file photo) (CTK)
17 January 2006 -- Britain says it would prefer a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between the West and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said Britain is open to talks that would avoid sending Iran to the UN Security Council.
Iran says that it wants such talks to continue.
Russia and China have urged caution in dealing with the dispute, saying they don't favor slapping sanctions on Tehran.
Yesterday, Britain, Germany, and France called for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next month that could vote on such a referral.
Today, IAEA head Mohammed El Baradei, met with Iran's envoy to the IAEA over how to deal with the crisis.
Iran has said it would suspend its cooperation with IAEA if it is called before the Security Council.
(AP, AFP, Reuters)
DECLARED NUCLEAR-WEAPONS COUNTRIES:
country warheads (est.) date of first test
United States 10,500 1945
Russia 18,000 1949
United Kingdom 200 1952
France 350 1960
China 400 1964
India 60-90 1974
Pakistan 28-48 1998
North Korea 0-18 2006
Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, but it has not declared itself a nuclear-armed country.
South Africa constructed six uranium bombs but voluntarily dismantled them.
Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine all gave up the nuclear weapons that were on their territory when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.