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Iranian Parliament Moves To Suspend UN Nuclear Checks

28 September 2005 -- Iranian lawmakers voted today to fast-track a draft bill to end inspections of the country's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The bill calls on the government to suspend further IAEA inspections of nuclear sites until what it calls "Iran's legitimate right to pursue nuclear technology" is acknowledged by the UN nuclear watchdog.

Despite today's move in parliament, the bill could take several weeks to be approved. It must first go to a special commission before being considered by the full chamber. If it passes, the Guardian Council will have to give its verdict, as well as the country's supreme leader.

On 24 September, the IAEA's board of governors passed a resolution saying Tehran is not in compliance with nuclear proliferation safeguards. The step could prompt Iran's case to be sent to the UN Security Council in November.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today said he hopes diplomacy can end the standoff with Iran. But he said military action against Iran -- if it continues to resist international pressure -- is "not on the agenda."


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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