Da Reuters del 03/02/2006
Originale su http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&stor...

Haggling delays UN nuclear watchdog vote on Iran

di Mark Heinrich

VIENNA - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's governing board looked set on Friday to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over fears it is seeking atomic bombs, but haggling over the text of a resolution delayed a vote.

Tehran said it would curb U.N. checks on its atomic sites if sent to the Security Council. European Union diplomats said the threat would not deter efforts to get Iran to change course.

The International Atomic Energy Agency board had been due to reconvene at 2:00 p.m. British time but delayed the meeting for at least two hours as developing states tried to soften an EU-sponsored text.

"The resolution is being revised," a senior diplomat close to the IAEA said.

A Western diplomat said: "The threat (to end snap inspections) is on everyone's minds but we consider it blackmail and if we give in to that, there's no end to it."

He said the negotiations with developing states focussed on clarifying a clause in the resolution so that it could not be construed as ending IAEA oversight of Iran's case.

"We are trying as best we can to secure as broad as possible consensus on the board for reporting Iran," said a diplomat with the one of the sponsoring powers, Britain, France and Germany.

Analysts earlier reckoned on a majority of 25-30 on the 35-member IAEA board in favour of the resolution, with only a few "no's" from nations such as Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.

Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator warned that involving the Security Council would also kill talks on a Russian offer to defuse the crisis by enriching Iranian uranium to ensure the Islamic Republic cannot divert it for bombs.

U.S. and EU leaders, aware that Russia, China and developing states on the IAEA board want to avoid a showdown with Iran, the world's No. 4 oil exporter, said on Thursday that reporting Tehran would not end diplomacy or trigger early U.N. sanctions.


But some developing nations oppose any drift towards sanctions and resent the Western push to single out Iran before the IAEA completes its assessment of its nuclear programme.

They argued that the clause in dispute appeared to pre-empt the outcome of a comprehensive investigative report that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei is due to deliver for a regular March 6 board meeting, as well as any dialogue on Russia's proposals.

Tehran says it only wants nuclear power for electricity.

Western diplomats said earlier a rare consensus among permanent council powers Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, to report Iran was helping to win over wary developing states on the IAEA board.

Moscow and Beijing endorsed the EU-sponsored resolution after Tehran was given at least until March to cooperate fully with U.N. investigators before the council takes any action.

But Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani warned ElBaradei in writing that any recourse to the council "would be the final blow to the confidence of Iran" in the IAEA. Tehran would respond by halting short-notice inspections of its atomic sites.

"The agency's monitoring would be extensively limited and all peaceful nuclear activities (in Iran) being under voluntary suspension would be resumed without any restriction," he wrote.

Javed Vaeedi, Larijani's deputy, said there would be no point exploring the Russian proposal, due to be discussed in Moscow on February 16, if the IAEA board approved the EU resolution.

"The (West) seems to be in a hyper-mode of confrontation. If this resolution is adopted, it will tie our hands. It will kill Russia's proposal," he told reporters at the IAEA in Vienna.

The West mistrusts Iran because it hid nuclear work from the IAEA for 18 years. The agency has found no solid proof of a nuclear weapons programme but says many questions remain.

Larijani called on Germany, France and Britain to restart talks on a diplomatic solution. But they say Iran must first reverse its move to resume nuclear research, announced on January 9 amid mutual recriminations after two years of talks.

In September, the IAEA declared Iran non-compliant with transparency commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but put off referring it to the Security Council.
Annotazioni − Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna; Parisa Hafezi and Paul Hughes in Tehran.

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