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ARAB-EUROPEAN RELATIONS - Sep 23 - EU Firm On Iran's Referral To Security Council.

The EU agrees to push through a controversial resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog to report Iran to the Security Council but leaves the timing and nature of the referral vague. The motion, watered down from earlier drafts, was still opposed by China and Russia, both reluctant to escalate the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme. "Of course we would have preferred consensus", said an EU diplomat. "We tried hard to achieve this but . . . Iran's case is of concern to the Security Council". The resolution was submitted to the Vienna-based IAEA on Sep 23 night and could be put to a vote as early as Sep 24. The EU hopes to win over 20 votes on the IAEA's 35-member board by putting forward a resolution that does not specify the timing or nature of Iran's eventual referral to the Security Council. An earlier draft resolution, backed by the US, would have referred Tehran immediately to the Security Council. In Sep 23 comments, before the EU decision was taken, a senior French official had indicated misgivings about such a course. "A resolution referring Iran to the Security Council with a majority that did not include China and Russia would be a complete loss of credibility for us", said the official. The two countries are permanent members of the Security Council, with veto power, and could block attempts to step up pressure on Tehran. The EU is also concerned about Iranian threats to resume uranium enrichment, a process that can produce weapons-grade material, if it is referred to the Security Council.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Sep 24, 2005
Words:258
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