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IAEA Chief Calls for Talks on Iran

From Associated Press

The United Nations’ chief atomic inspector called Monday for talks to replace international confrontation over Iran’s nuclear activities, while the United States and European Union pressed efforts to bring Tehran before the U.N. Security Council.

A resolution drafted by U.S. and European diplomats asks International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report to the council “Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply” with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The authors want the 35 nations on the IAEA board to vote on the document this week.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she expected the council to take up the matter. “I’m quite certain that at some point in time Iran is going to be referred to the Security Council, particularly if Iran continues to demonstrate that it is not prepared to give the international community assurances that it is not going to try to build a nuclear weapons program under cover of civil nuclear power,” she told reporters at the U.N.

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EU diplomats and a U.S. official said Russia and China remained opposed to Iran’s being referred to the Security Council, despite strong lobbying by the U.S. and Europeans. Nevertheless, they said, the West will probably force the issue to a vote.

ElBaradei criticized Tehran’s intransigence as well as U.S.-EU calls for council involvement as examples of “confrontations and political brinkmanship,” adding, “I very much hope that this week all the parties ... create the necessary conditions to go back to the negotiating table.”

Washington and the EU began to lobby jointly for Security Council referral last month, after Iran in effect walked away from talks with the Europeans and resumed uranium conversion.


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