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. Europe's Big Three to refer Iran to UN atomic agency if it fails to suspend uranium enrichment
VIENNA (AFP) Nov 22, 2004
Britain, France and Germany have called for Iran to be reported to the UN atomic agency if it fails to honor its pledge to suspend uranium enrichment but their draft resolution makes no mention of an automatic referral to the UN Security Council, diplomats said here Monday.

The draft text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, said International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei should "monitor the implementation of" the suspension and "report immediately to the (agency's) Board should the agency encounter evidence that the suspension is not fully implemented, or be prevented from monitoring all elements of the suspension for as long as the suspension is in force."

A Western diplomat said the draft was much softer than the United States had wanted.

Washington charges that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons and seeks a "trigger clause" to specify that the IAEA take Tehran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions if it fails to honor a suspension of all uranium enrichment activities which went into effect Monday, diplomats said.

"Negotiations on the draft resolution have begun and much work remains," a Western diplomat, who asked not to be named, said. "Luckily we have a significant amount of time to reach an acceptable solution and I am confident we will."

US, European and Iranian officials were involved in a series of closed-door negotiations Monday on the text, which is to be submitted to a meeting in Vienna on Thursday of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors.

The text "calls on Iran to sustain this suspension and underlines that the Board considers the full and sustained implementation of this confidence building measure essential to resolving all outstanding issues within the framework of the agency."

Iran apparently suspended uranium enrichment as promised on Monday and the IAEA should be able to verify this by Thursday, Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters.

"I think pretty much everything has come to a halt right now so we are just trying to make sure that everything has been stopped," ElBardei said.

"Hopefully by Thursday I should be able to report that we've verified the suspension," ElBaradei said.

Iranian state television said the government would on Monday start a suspension of its sensitive nuclear activities surrounding the enrichment of uranium in line with an agreement with Britain, France and Germany.

Uranium enrichment produces what can be either fuel for nuclear reactors or in highly refined form the explosive core of atomic bombs.

"It's very important for the Iranian government to hear that we are concerned about their desires, and we're concerned about reports that show that ... they're willing to speed up processing of materials that could lead to a nuclear weapon," US President George W. Bush said in Chile Saturday.

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