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Iran: Tehran Rejects IAEA Resolution, Says It's Committed To NPT

Workers at Iran's uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan Iran is rejecting a resolution by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency that paves the way for the country to be referred to the UN Security Council over its atomic programs. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution yesterday that provides a mechanism for Iran to be reported to the Security Council unless it alters its nuclear policy. The United States and the European Union have welcomed the resolution, saying it marks a significant step toward isolating Iran and putting pressure on Tehran to make a full disclosure.

Prague, 25 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki today called the IAEA resolution unacceptable.

He told Iran's official IRNA news agency that Tehran will not give up its right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology. But he said Iran is willing to return to negotiations over its nuclear program, which Western countries fear is being used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

"We do not believe in unlawful actions and are not obliged to follow the additional protocol [on IAEA inspections], but we are committed to the nonproliferation treaty," he said. "So, we are ready to negotiate with different countries, and it is natural for Iran to enlist new countries within its list of negotiating countries."

The IAEA board of governors adopted the resolution yesterday. It states that Tehran will be referred to the UN Security Council if it fails to alter its nuclear policy. The referral wouldn't happen until at least November, when IAEA chief Muhammad el-Baradei delivers his next report on Iran.

The vote on the 35-member board of governors was 22 in favor, with 12 abstentions -- including Russia and China -- and Venezuela voting against.

Iran's chief representative to the IAEA, Javad Vaeedi, called the resolution a failure: "The United States and United Kingdom wanted direly to send the case to the UN Security Council now. And at this session, they failed. The United States and United Kingdom left no screws unturned to forge consensus here. They failed."

Vaeedi said the lack of consensus on the IAEA's 35-member board to the resolution meant the agency had not been given a mandate for action against Tehran.

But el-Baradei, speaking in Vienna, said the resolution sends a clear message to Iran: "The international community sent a message to Iran that it is not satisfied with the pace and level of cooperation with the IAEA in clarifying the remaining outstanding issues, that the international community is also not satisfied with the level of confidence-building measures."

El-Baradei said there is still "time for diplomacy and negotiation," since the resolution does not set a specific date for referral to the Security Council. The chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, said he remains hopeful of a diplomatic solution.

"Our goal is a peaceful diplomatic settlement that benefits the Iranian people and gives us confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," he said. "We hope the Iranian leadership makes the same choice."

China -- which abstained from the vote -- today called on the European Union and Iran to resume negotiations on the issue without referring the matter to the Security Council.

(international agencies/RFE/RL's Radio Farda)

For RFE/RL's complete coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program, see "Iran's Nuclear Program."