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EU wants more time for diplomacy, says UK

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Sept 22, IRNA
Iran Nuclear-EU
The British government confirmed Thursday that the EU had backed down from seeking to immediately refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, saying it was prepared to allow more time for diplomacy to work.

The dispute can "only be resolved by diplomacy. This means moving in step not against the views of other IAEA board members and maintaining as far as possible an international consensus," a Foreign Office spokesman told IRNA.

The change in tact reportedly came amid opposition from many board members of the International Atomic Energy Agency to EU and US demands to refer Iran's case to the Security Council during their meeting in Vienna this week.

"If it helps to maintain international consensus, therefore we would be prepared to consider a resolution, which finds Iran non- compliant, but delays a report to the Security Council to give diplomacy more chance to work," the Foreign Office spokesman said.

It is understood that Britain has already drafted a new version of a resolution that represents the use of more forceful language in accusing Iran for the first time of being non-compliant with its obligations.

He said it was also "responding to the strong desire of many board members to give the new government in Tehran another chance to find a way forward through negotiations."
The latest draft is reportedly being debated among IAEA board members but it is not known whether a consensus will be reached in using the new language. British sources suggested that the wording may not be agreed until Friday at the earliest.

The withdrawal of referral comes after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw held a meeting on Wednesday with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in New York, when he was said to have appealed for Iran to change its mind on pursuing uranium enrichment.

HC/1416



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