Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Atomic watchdog urges US to give Iran one last chance, US says no

AFP Reports:

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has urged the United States to give Iran one last chance to halt suspected weapons-related nuclear activities but Washington is insisting on immediate UN Security Council action, diplomats said.

"US ambassador Gregory Schulte asked him (ElBaradei) on Wednesday not to lobby for this (a delay)" at the Vienna-based UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a diplomat who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue told AFP.

The United States and the European Union are pushing for the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters in New York, when the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors begins meeting in Vienna on Monday.

The British delegation to the IAEA is Thursday to give a series of presentations to different board members explaining why the EU has no confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, diplomats said.

Still, ElBaradei told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation last week it would be better to give Iran a deadline for ceasing uranium conversion work, rather than going for referral to the Council now, as the IAEA board is split over the issue, a diplomat said.

"Rice said this was not a good idea," another diplomat said.

US and IAEA spokespersons refused to comment...

Read the full Story here.