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 Post subject: Iranian anger as 'bullies' talk sanctions
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:07 am 
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Iranian anger as 'bullies' talk sanctions

February 03, 2006
TEHRAN: Iran's President has lashed out at the US and Europe as "bully countries" as the UN atomic watchdog met overnight in an emergency session expected to send Iran to the Security Council over its nuclear program.

As the meeting began last night in Vienna, diplomats said Iran's allies, Russia and China, had promised to back a resolution asking the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors to report Iran to the Security Council.

"Russia and China have said they are going to vote for the resolution" on referral to the Security Council, a Western diplomat said.

The draft asks IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei "to report to the Security Council of the United Nations" on steps Iran needs to take so "outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's program". With the backing of the US, Britain, China, France and Russia, a majority vote against Iran by the 35 member states is a foregone conclusion.

The Security Council will consider sanctions, though US politicians such as John McCain, the frontrunner for the next Republican presidential nomination, have already hinted at military action.

The IAEA has been investigating Iran for three years and has said the Islamic republic hid sensitive nuclear activities for 18 years.

International Institute for Strategic Studies non-proliferation analyst Mark Fitzpatrick said moving the problem to the Security Council was a "momentous moment".

"For the first time, the Security Council will be able to consider enforcement measures and Iran for the first time will have to face the prospect of paying the cost for the path it is on," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

But a diplomat close to the IAEA warned that referral could provoke Iran to push ahead with a program that it insists is peaceful and reduce co-operation with the atomic agency.

The five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany agreed in London on Tuesday to bring Iran before the council. In a compromise with Russia, they put off UN action until at least March.

In response, Tehran's top nuclear negotiator said yesterday that Iran would resume large-scale uranium enrichment, warning that its main enrichment plant at Natanz, in central Iran, was ready for full operation.

US President George W.Bush said on Wednesday that he backed a Russian plan to have Iran enrich uranium in Russia in order to avoid Tehran mastering the crucial technology, which makes fuel for nuclear power reactors but also bomb material.

Iran provoked an outcry on January 10 when it broke UN seals at the Natanz facility to begin research-level enrichment, a process that can produce material for nuclear reactors or, if sufficiently processed, atomic weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided the US as a "hollow superpower". "Our nation can't give in to the coercion of some bully countries who imagine they are the whole world," he said.

In his annual address to Congress, broadcast live in Farsi to Iran, the US President said Iran was now held hostage by a small clerical elite that was isolating and repressing its people. He said the world must not permit Iran to become a nuclear power.

AP, AFP


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