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Archive for Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nations back off push to refer Iran to council

November 22, 2005

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— Washington and its European allies will forgo pushing for Iran's referral to the U.N. Security Council later this week, giving Russia more time in persuading Tehran to give up technology that could make nuclear arms, diplomats and officials told The Associated Press on Monday.

For the Americans and the European Union, the plan holds the promise of success even if Iran continues to reject the proposal that would move its uranium enrichment program to Russia.

The acceptance of that plan, in theory, would deprive the Iranians of the chance to enrich uranium to weapons grade, suitable for use in the core of nuclear warheads.

But if the Russians fail to win over the Iranians, Washington and the Europeans hope Moscow and other key board members of the International Atomic Energy Agency now opposed to Security Council referral will moderate their opposition.

The comments by the diplomats and U.S. and European government officials came three days before the IAEA board meets.

But the diplomats and officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strategy on Iran is confidential, said referral was now off the table at the meeting.

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