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Draft IAEA Resolution To Press Iran On Enrichment

Iran's nuclear fuel plant in Isfahan
VIENNA (Reuters) - Six world powers have drafted a resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog urging Iran to clarify the purpose of its previously secret uranium enrichment site and confirm it has no more hidden atomic work, diplomats said.

The draft text, backed by the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China, is to be presented at the year-end meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation governing board that starts on November 26.

Russian and Chinese support could be significant since they have often blocked tougher action against Iran in the IAEA's governing body and the UN Security Council, including the pursuit of tough sanctions.

Nevertheless, it was not certain if the draft text would muster a majority among IAEA governors, almost half of whom belong to a developing nation bloc that includes Iran.

The IAEA said in a report last week that Iran's late admission of the Fordow enrichment plant had eroded confidence that it was not harboring more secret activity.

The draft resolution will call on Iran to provide the agency with a timeline of the site's design and construction, diplomats familiar with its content told Reuters, asking for anonymity due to the subject's political sensitivity.

"There was a strong measure of agreement at the P5+1 meeting in Brussels last week that the [Fordow] revelation was a serious new development," one senior diplomat said.

Iran revealed the site to the IAEA in September, two years after it said construction began. The IAEA said Iran was legally bound to own up about the plant as soon as plans were drawn.

The eight-point resolution draft highlighted this and also urged Iran to cooperate fully with the agency to clear up all outstanding issues about its nuclear work.

Western powers fear Iran is using the cover of a civilian nuclear program to develop bomb-making capability. Iran denies this and says its atomic work is for peaceful uses only, like power generation.

The last IAEA board resolution passed against Iran was in February 2006 when governors referred Tehran's case to the UN Security Council over its refusal to suspend enrichment and open up completely to IAEA inspections and investigations.