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Backers Predict IAEA Reporting Of Iran

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ashgar Soltanieh, ahead of yesterday's meeting (epa) 3 February 2006 -- The governing board of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog appears set today to approve a proposal to report Iran to the UN Security Council over the country's nuclear program.

U.S. officials have said they believe a solid majority of the board's 35 member countries is in favor of taking Iran to the Security Council for possible punitive sanctions, international news agencies report.

"In order for a resolution to pass under the IAEA rules, you have to have a majority, which is more than half, one more than half," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on 2 February. "We have 35 members of the board, so that means...18. We believe that we have more than that. We have a solid majority of countries that will vote in favor of the resolution."

McCormack added that "Iran will have an opportunity to respond and we'll see whether or not they take the opportunities that have been put before them by the international community to realize what they have been asking for -- that is to have peaceful nuclear power, while also providing objective guarantees to the international community that they won't try to use those peaceful nuclear power programs to develop a nuclear weapon."

Disagreement In Tehran

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Asghar Soltanieh, meanwhile said he was "100 percent sure" that backers of referral would fail to secure consensus. He called the effort to bring Iran's case to the Security Council "the wrong course."

In a new letter to the IAEA, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, is quoted by news agencies as again warning that Iran will resume uranium enrichment and severely curtail international monitoring of its nuclear activities if it is referred to the Security Council.

Closed-Door Talks

The opening day of an emergency meeting of the IAEA governing board in Vienna on 2 February included several hours of formal session before it was convened as backers of the proposal sought the widest possible support.

Referral has been backed by the five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain -- sometimes referred to as the "P-5." Reports suggest such a step remains opposed by governing board members including Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria.

Reuters quoted an unnamed EU diplomat predicting that backers would seek a vote on the IAEA resolution today. "We are aiming for a wide board consensus thanks to the strong P-5 message," the diplomat added.

Iran denies trying to make nuclear weapons, but says it has a right to nuclear power technology.

(compiled from agency reports)

The IAEA Resolution

The IAEA Resolution

On 2 February, the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency began discussing a draft resolution aimed at referring the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council. The key section of the resolution is Section 1, which states that the Board of Governors:

Underlines that outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusive peaceful nature of Iran's program by Iran responding positively to the calls for confidence building measures which the Board has made on Iran, and in this context deems it necessary for Iran to:

  • reestablish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and processing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
  • reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
  • ratify promptly and implement in full Additional Protocol;
  • pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol with Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
  • implement the transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, which extend beyond the former requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations.

THE COMPLETE TEXT: To read the complete text of the resolution, click here.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.

An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.