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IAEA Adopts Mild Resolution on Iran, No Referral to Security Council

The International Atomic Energy Board of Governors has adopted a resolution urging Iran to fully co-operate with the agency in monitoring a suspension of Iran's nuclear program. The resolution does not spell out what will happen if Iran ignores the call.

France, Germany, and Britain, which have been negotiating the terms of a freeze on Iran's nuclear programs for weeks, sponsored the resolution.

It says Tehran has in the past failed to meet its international obligations in declaring sensitive parts of its nuclear program, but that Iran has taken corrective action. The board says Iran must now stick to a full and sustained suspension of its uranium enrichment program, which should be verified by the IAEA.

The resolution acknowledges that states have the right to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes, and notes that Iran's suspension of its programs is voluntary and not legally binding. That was in line with Iranian demands.

"We have emphasized the suspension shall be for confidence-building, and not as a legal obligation," said Hossein Mousavian, the chief Iranian negotiator.

The resolution capped a week of back and forth negotiations between the European Union and Iran, which late last week insisted that 20 centrifuges used to enrich uranium be exempted from the suspension agreement. Under the subsequent agreement, those centrifuges will not be placed under IAEA seals, but will be monitored by agency surveillance cameras.

Diplomats said they were preparing a tougher resolution, if Iran failed to agree to the suspension, but the adopted resolution makes no mention of referring the matter to the U.N. Security Council, should Iran ignore the suspension.

Instead, the resolution calls for the IAEA to report as appropriate, and to inform the governing body, if Iran starts operating frozen equipment.

IAEA Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the IAEA has a number of ways to supervise nuclear facilities.

"The suspension will be verified through normal procedures, the application of IAEA seals and/or cameras, and regular visits by inspectors to the sites where the frozen equipment is stored," she said.

After the resolution was adopted, the U.S. delegation said Washington had not ruled out the possibility of taking Iran to the Security Council unilaterally. The White House said the implementation and verification of the agreement were critical, and that the international community must remain vigilant.

Washington and other countries believe Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, something Tehran strongly denies, insisting its program is for peaceful purposes only.