Sunday, September 11, 2005

Will Iran be referred to UN Security Council next week?

Reuters reports that more than half a dozen countries on the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, which meets on Sept. 19, said there is no justification for a referring Iran top UN Security Council over its nuclear program, among them Pakistan and Brazil with the strongest objection.

An EU diplomat told Reuters, " China and Russia will also be difficult" and that without Beijing and Moscow the plan to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran might fail.

Diplomats believe it would be all right if Pakistan, Brazil and a few others voted against a referral, but support of political heavyweights China and Russia, which have vetoes on the 15-member Security Council, would be crucial.

Russia and China have both said they oppose reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program

The board of the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, has traditionally included the permanent members of the Security Council -- Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States -- along with Germany, Japan and others with big civilian nuclear programmes. Other countries tend to be rotated through.

In the mean time, AP reports that Iran warned Sunday that there will be "certain consequences" if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear activities.

New Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also told a news conference Iran plans to organize tenders for building two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic republic.

Mottaki reiterated Iran's position that it will not stop uranium reprocessing, rejecting a U.S.-backed European threat that Tehran has about a week to freeze the activities or face referral to the Security Council for possible sanctions.