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IAEA refers Iran to the UNSC

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February 04, 2006 17:50 IST

Supported by India and 26 other countries, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency Saturday reported Iran to the United Nations Security Council in a resolution expressing concern that Tehran's nuclear programme may not be "exclusively for peaceful purposes".

The decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board sets the stage for future action by the top UN body that could include economic and political sanctions.

Still, any such moves were weeks if not months away, with two permanent council members, Russia and China, agreeing to referral only on condition that no council action be taken until at least March.

A European resolution backed by the United States calling for referral was backed by 27 nations, including India, whose stance on referral was unclear until the vote, at the meeting.

Only three nations -- Cuba, Syria and Venezuela -- voted against.

Five others -- Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa abstained.

A copy of the resolution made available links the decision to ask for Tehran's referral to the country's breaches of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and lack of confidence that it is not trying to make weapons.