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UN Atomic Agency to Hold Crucial Meeting on Iran


The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to hold a meeting Monday in Vienna that could lead to U.N. Security Council action over Iran's nuclear program.

The agency's board of governors will weigh a report on Iran from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei. The board is also expected to discuss its recent decision to report Iran to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

On Sunday, Iran warned it will resume full scale uranium enrichment if the Security Council takes action. Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said in Vienna that nuclear research and development is in Iran's national interest.

In Washington, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told an American pro-Israeli lobbying group that Iran could face "painful consequences" if it continues "down the path of international isolation."

President Bush says the world will be in danger if Iran acquires nuclear weapons. Washington accuses Tehran of secret efforts to develop such weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for generating electricity. It resumed enriching uranium this year despite Western protests.

Iran and Russia have been discussing a Russian proposal that would have Iranian nuclear fuel enriched in Russia. Iran says those talks will end if it is referred to the Security Council.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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