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Russia proposes delay in UN action on Iran

Russia has proposed a delay in confronting Iran at the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 08:53 IST

Russia has proposed a delay in confronting Iran at the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, European Union diplomat Javier Solana has said.

Instead, the council would debate Iran's activities without involvement of the United Nations' atomic energy watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Solana said.

Still, he said, in case the IAEA has to consider the matter, "we will have the votes" to refer the controversial programme to the council at a meeting in Vienna tentatively scheduled for February 2.

He told reporters on Wednesday after a luncheon meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, "we are talking to the Russians" about their proposal for a less formal discussion first, he said.

Also, Solana said, a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian territory and then retrieve the spent fuel after it is used for civilian energy purposes remains a live possibility.

"We think the Russians have an important role to play," Solana said.

The less formal Security Council proposal would postpone action by the IAEA until its next scheduled meeting in March. In the meantime, the council would talk over the situation.

While the United States and the Europeans have the votes in the IAEA to refer its complaints about Iran's nuclear activities to the Council, "at this point in time we think we need to get solidarity at the UN," Solana said.

Just having the dispute before the Council in a formal way "is for them quite important," he said.

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 08:53 IST