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Iran doesn?t fear the UN Security Council 9/15/2004 2:30:00 PM GMT
"We are not really afraid of the Security Council" Hossein Mousavian said.
A top Iranian official said Wednesday that Iran is not afraid to face the UN Security Council for an alleged violation of the non-proliferation pact.
"We are not really afraid of the Security Council, but it would be a setback in our cooperation (with the IAEA)," the head of Iran's delegation to the IAEA meeting, Hossein Mousavian, said.
"The reason we object is that the reports of (IAEA chief Mohamed) ElBaradei show good progress in their understanding of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," he added.
The IAEA has been investigating Iran's nukes program for almost two years and so far, it has found no "smoking gun" that would prove Iran has a secret military nuclear program.
The United States accuses Iran of covertly developing atomic arms and is pressing the IAEA to pass a resolution at this week's meeting that sets the ground for a November report to the Security Council, which might impose economic sanctions against Iran.
However, some Western diplomats said that they do not believe Iran is indifferent about whether it goes to the Security Council.
Western diplomats said if Iran agrees to abandon the entire uranium enrichment program in exchange for full ties with the EU, then an IAEA report to the Security Council would be highly unlikely.
They also said that U.S. negotiators are fighting an uphill battle as they press France, Britain and Germany to add an "automatic trigger" to their draft IAEA resolution since most board members reject U.S. demands for tough actions against Iran.
Meanwhile, a critical meeting of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency was canceled Wednesday, after the United States and Europe disagreed on how firmly to deal with Iran and its nuclear program.
The disagreements between the U.S. and Europe surfaced Tuesday, the second day of the IAEA board of governors meeting.
The scheduled morning session Wednesday was called off, and as the day processed, agency officials said that it was unlikely the meeting would be resumed before Thursday.
The pause was aimed at allowing informal backdoor negotiations on a draft resolution among the 35 board member nations.
The new draft resolution was nearly identical to the one submitted by France, Britain and Germany on Friday ? a text which American officials said was not acceptable because it dismissed suggestions made by the Americans which aim at making the draft tougher.
The American suggestions demanded that Iran grant agency inspectors "complete, immediate and unrestricted access"; provide "full information" about past illegal nuclear activities; and halt "immediately and fully" uranium enrichment and related activities.
The agency's meeting has become the main battleground between Iran and the United States, which wants to refer Tehran before the UN Security Council for alleged violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Hossein Mousavian suggested that the U.S.-European disagreements were more over style than substance.
"They have the same opinion, but the Americans are in a hurry for a harsh decision and the Europeans believe in dialogue," he said.
U.S. negotiators suggested the inclusion of an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to cease the enrichment program or face "further steps" ? meaning the Security Council. But the EU's trio opposed the U.S. demand for such an ultimatum and their draft remained vague on both demands and time frame.
Also International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei dismissed the idea of a deadline and reiterated that his investigation has not yet proved whether Iran is seeking nuclear arms ? as Washington claims.
"We haven't seen any concrete proof that there is a weapons program," he said. "Can we say everything is peaceful? Obviously we are not at that stage."
The U.S.-Europe rift was expected to embarrass the Americans, who have been confidence that they would be able to bring the Europeans close to their tough stance.
The draft resolution is likely still far from being finalized into a formal introduction to the board, and diplomats said that it might include the American suggestions in the end.
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