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IAEA puts off referring Iran to Security Council: Official

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Last updated on: November 25, 2005 01:28 IST

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has postponed referring Iran to the UN Security Council, according to an official statement summarising a meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

The summary by Yukia Amano, Japanese ambassador and chairman of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported on the inconclusive debate at the IAEA Thursday.

India has opposed the Iran nuclear issue being referred to the Security Council and hoped that a way would emerge to reconcile Tehran's need for using nuclear energy for development with the world community's concern over its proliferation.

"Calls were made for Iran to resume the negotiating process with the European Union-3 (Britain, Germany and France) and support was expressed for the EU-3 effort to broaden the basis for an international consensus through additional elements in the negotiating pocess such as the recent Russian proposal," for a compromise on making nuclear fuel, the summary said.

In a clear reference to non-aligned states like India, it said that some members had "expressed their appreciation for all initiatives by other member states aimed at facilitating the speedy conclusion of the Iranian nuclear issue within the framework of the agency (IAEA)."

In a reference to the position of the United States and Europe, the statement said, "Some members continued to
attach the highest importance to the full suspension of all enrichment-related activities while outstanding issues were addressed and confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme established."

The United States charges that Iran is using a civilian nuclear programme to hide covert development of atomic weapons, something Tehran denies.

In September, the IAEA board found Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for hiding sensitive nuclear activities, a finding that requires notifying the SC, which can impose sanctions.

The IAEA board met again Thursday, but took no action on referral.

The summary said a member state had requested that the Iranian issue be considered at the next IAEA board meeting in March.