U.N. formally considers Iran draft measure

UNITED NATIONS, March 20 (UPI) -- The United Nations Security Council has for the first time formally considered the International Atomic Energy Agency's report on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The 15-member council considered a British-French measure behind closed doors Friday on elements of a text reaffirming Iran should comply with calls from the Vienna-based IAEA for more cooperation.


The IAEA report couldn't say for sure that Tehran's nuclear ambitions were not strictly civilian.

"The response we got from colleagues today (Friday) suggested that we're pretty close to where they wanted us to be," said Ambassador Emyr Jones Perry of Britain. "Quite understandably, colleagues now want to refer that text to their capitals and the president (of the council) said he would convene another set of consultations on Tuesday afternoon.

"Our wish remains -- it's very simple -- that the council should act expeditiously on this text and send the clearest possible signal that we support the governing board, that we're very concerned by the situation that the council in its responsibility for international peace and security is taking upon itself, not to take the (Iran nuclear) dossier but to reinforce the activities of the agency and to send that clear message," the London envoy added.

"I think that we are very close to agreement, at least for the overwhelming majority of the council members."

However, Russia was unhappy about the text and less optimistic than the others.

"But," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said, "this draft is certainly, I think, very close to agreement and the urgency of sending a clear and strong signal to Iran is certainly very much on our mind, conscious as we are that the Iranian centrifuges are spinning (for enrichment purposes) with uranium hexafluoride in them. That is a very serious matter."

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