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Iran Nuclear Standoff Continues


Iran says it does not think the International Atomic Energy Agency will agree to refer its newly revived nuclear program to the Security Council. But European nations are working on a resolution to do exactly that.

European nations are circulating a draft resolution asking the IAEA board of governors to report Iran's resumption of nuclear activity to the U.N. Security Council.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad calls the proposal "politically motivated." Iran's foreign minister said he doubts that the matter will be referred to the Security council.

France and Britain have rejected Iran's proposal for new talks, saying that Tehran must again suspend its nuclear work first.

Mr. Ahmedinejad sent one of his senior advisers to Cairo for talks with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa that included the nuclear issue. The aide, Yassin Ahmed Al-Musawi, told reporters afterward that he is confident that talks with Europe will resume.

"We think we can reach an agreement if we are negotiating," he said. "If they are threatening us, threats will be of no use."

Western diplomats have said that neither sanctions nor military intervention are being actively considered, but the Security Council would have the power to impose sanctions if the matter is referred there.

Iranian officials say a recently passed law would require them to stop all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA if the Security Council is even asked to discuss the standoff.

The European Union and the United States suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran denies that charge, a denial repeated by Al-Musawi in Cairo.

"We are saying frankly that we are not after the production of weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons," he said. "We have the right to benefit from the peaceful side of nuclear energy."

Arab League chief Amr Moussa made no comment on the talks. The Arab League has consistently said it wants the Iranian nuclear issue dealt with only alongside the Israeli nuclear program.

Many of the Persian Gulf states have been considerably more anxious about the Iranian issue. They are Iran's closest neighbors in the Arab world. They also provide much of the Arab League's funding, and have been pushing the pan-Arab body to be more assertive on the Iranian nuclear issue.

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