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US says it has right to report Iran nuke case to UN
Updated: 2004-11-29 00:33

VIENNA - The United States said Monday it had the right to unilaterally report Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose economic sanctions, for what it sees as Iran's atom bomb plans.

For over a year, Washington has been pushing the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Tehran to the Security Council, which it says is the forum to discuss all pressing international security issues.

However, the IAEA board of governors decided Monday not to refer Iran to the Council. It did not even threaten to do so if Tehran fails once more to maintain a full suspension of those parts of its nuclear program that could be used to make atomic weapons, as it has promised to do.

"Quite apart from the question of how this board chooses to handle these matters ... the United States reserves all of its options with respect to Security Council consideration of the Iranian nuclear weapons program," said the head of the U.S. delegation to the IAEA, Jackie Sanders.

In the written text of a speech to a closed-door session of the IAEA board, Sanders said that under the U.N. charter any member of the U.N. could bring to the Security Council any situation that endangers "international peace and security."

Iran denies wanting or pursuing nuclear weapons.

Sanders said the United States had been trying hard to stop the transfer of technologies to Iran that could be used in nuclear and other types of banned weapons.

"Despite these efforts, some companies, which we brand as serial proliferators, continue to sell materials that could advance Iran's WMD and missile programs," she said.

"We want any proliferators, from multinational conglomerates to small exporters of dual-use machine tools, to understand that the U.S. will impose economic burdens on them, and brand them as proliferators," Sanders said.

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