UN Watchdog Refers Iran To Security Council
A report on Iran's nuclear programme is being forwarded to the Security Council for it to consider possible punitive action, after a crucial meeting of the UN's nuclear watchdog in Vienna. The US says the council will debate Iran's "flagrant threats and phoney negotiations," but Iran has vowed to continue its nuclear work regardless, threatening the US with unspecified "harm and pain" for its opposition. Meanwhile, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, has said there is still the chance of a settlement, urging all sides to "lower the rhetoric."

The sending of the report on Iran's nuclear programme to the UN'S top decision-making body opens a new phase in the standoff . The Security Council is expected to review the case as early as next week, but ElBaradei insisted that diplomatic efforts are still continuing. The council has the power to impose sanctions, although it is not clear that all key members would agree to do so. While admitting disappointment that a solution had not been found this week in Vienna, "I am still optimistic because all the parties involved know that there is no other option," said ElBaradei. "What we need is for everyone to keep calm and to lower the rhetoric," he added.

The debate by the UN watchdog - the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - in Vienna of the long-awaited report came amid heated accusations traded between Iran and the US. "The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain, but it is also susceptible to harm and pain," said a statement issued by Iran's delegation at the talks.

"There is full consensus on the fact that Iran must be more transparent in its cooperation with the agency," said ElBaradei at a press briefing.
What's more "transparent" than threats and bluster?

Posted by: Fred 2006-03-09