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EU backs down on Iran under pressure
Updated: 2005-09-23 07:00

VIENNA - The European Union's three main powers dropped a demand on Thursday that the U.N. nuclear watchdog immediately report Iran to the Security Council over its atomic plans, following opposition from Russia and China. Reuters reported.

EU backs down on Iran under pressure
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh reads some notes before an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna September 22, 2005. [Reuters]
Moscow and Beijing have warned the United States, France, Britain and Germany against stepping up the nuclear standoff with Iran, undermining the Western drive to haul Tehran before the U.N.'s highest body for possible sanctions.

Earlier this week, the EU had circulated a U.S.-backed draft resolution calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) governing board to report Iran's secretive nuclear program to the Security Council.

But with at least a dozen of the 35 members of the IAEA board opposed to the EU resolution -- including China and Russia -- the EU cut out the key demand from a revised draft.

The new draft, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, omitted any explicit threat that Iran would be referred to the Security Council but implied that the IAEA board could choose to refer the matter to the Council in the future.

"The history of concealment of Iran's nuclear activities ... and the resulting absence of confidence that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council...," the draft said.

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