U.N.: Iran misses Sec. Council deadline

Aug. 31, 2006 at 5:09 PM
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VIENNA, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Iran has failed to halt its uranium enrichment activities by a U.N. Security Council-imposed deadline, the world body's nuclear watchdog says.

In a report issued Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, and that Iran remains determined not to cooperate.

"Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities," the report said. "Iran has not addressed the long outstanding verification issues or provided the necessary transparency to remove uncertainties associated with some of its activities."

Tehran has vehemently denied the program has any purpose beyond generating electricity, but western countries, led by the United States, say its conduct and secrecy suggest an atomic weapons program.

The council ordered Iran to suspend all enrichment work by Aug. 31, and instructed the IAEA to report back on Iran's compliance.

The resolution was in part a response to Iran's failure to accept an incentives package that would have offered international assistance in developing nuclear power technology in Iran, but stipulated all stages of the fuel cycle capable of assisting in bomb-making would be conducted in other countries.

The IAEA report said Iran had resumed enriching small amounts of uranium in recent days. The agency also said it could not be more specific, due to its lack of access.

The content of the report offered few surprises, especially in light of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated and defiant statements that Iran would continue its activities despite international pressure. Still, it sparked an immediate debate within the Security Council over whether to impose sanctions.

The United States has argued in favor of sanctions, while China, France and Russia have urged a resumption of diplomatic negotiations.

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