03/06/2006, 00.00
IRAN – UNITED NATIONS
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International nuclear agency to decide Iran's fate today

The spectre of referral to the UN Security Council is looming. Thousands of demonstrators in Tehran have upheld the right to pacific nuclear technology. The US and Israel: "If it goes on like this, the regime will have to face serious consequences. We are ready to take all the necessary measures to prevent Iran from having atomic weapons."

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of people gathered to protest in the Iranian capital yesterday to "assert their country's right to peaceful nuclear technology". The demonstration took place a day before a general meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), set for today, to take a decision about Iran's nuclear activity.

Mohammed el Baradei – IAEA director-general – will shortly present a report on Tehrean's nuclear programmes to the top council: the document could serve as a basis for UN Security Council intervention, even if this body does not have a planned, shared strategy about what to do next. The Security Council has the power to impose sanctions on the middle-eastern power, but many steps must be taken before such an eventuality can come about.

Ali Larijani, the negotiator leading the Islamic Republic's dealings with the atomic agency, has repeated that Iran "would start large scale uranium enrichment if it was referred to the Security Council".

Countering this statement, John Bolton –United States ambassador to the United Nations – warned Tehran about the "serious consequences it must face if it does not address international concerns over its nuclear program". He added: "The Iranian regime must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation there will be tangible and painful consequences."

Even Israel's acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, yesterday described Iran as a "major threat to the civilized world". He said: "Every measure should be taken to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons."

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