Major world powers have agreed on a joint resolution aimed at intensifying pressure on Iran to address "deep and increasing concern" about its controversial nuclear program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) draft resolution means that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- France, Britain, the United States, Russia, and China -- and Germany are now united in their concerns that Tehran is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon.
The document expresses "deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions."
It says it is "essential" for Iran and the IAEA to "intensify their dialogue" and calls on Tehran to grant access "to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material, and personnel in Iran."
The resolution was set to be debated by the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors later today.
Western media report that the document does not refer Iran's case to the UN Security Council, which could potentially adopt more sanctions against Iran.
It does, however, urge Iran to comply with past Security Council resolutions, which have called on the country to halt sensitive nuclear work as a trust- building measure.
The United States has expressed hope that the IAEA's board of governors will convey to Iran the international community’s concern over the country’s nuclear program.
"We're optimistic that the board of governors is going to send a very strong and unified message to Iran that it needs to come clean about its nuclear program," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told journalists.
U.S. officials have said they wouldn't rule out any options to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concern over Iran's nuclear activities on November 17 but added that a strike on Iran could harm the world economy. He also pointed to a U.S. analysis that a strike on Iran would set back its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for peaceful purposes, by one or two years at most.
'Alert The World'
In Vienna, where the UN agency's board is holding a two-day meeting, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said it was his duty to "alert the world" about suspected Iranian efforts to develop atomic bombs.
He proposed sending a high-level mission to Iran to "clarify the issues" raised in the agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear program, which, for the first time, said it had "credible" evidence the Islamic republic has worked to develop nuclear weapons technology.
"The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," Amano said. "It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program and that some activities may still be ongoing."
He said he had already written to Iranian officials to propose the visit.
Amano said he had asked Iran to engage substantively with the agency without delay, to "provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear program."
The Islamic republic has already rejected the IAEA report as baseless. Tehran has repeatedly stated that all of its nuclear activities are peaceful and for civilian purposes.
with agency reports