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More countries line up against Iran

Associated Press
Published February 3, 2006


VIENNA - Iran threatened to retaliate Thursday in the face of almost certain referral to the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the dispute was "reaching a critical phase."

Ahead of a decision by the IAEA's 35-nation board, U.S. and European delegates turned to behind-the-scenes diplomacy to build support for reporting Iran to the council over concerns it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani warned IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei that referral would leave Iran no choice but "to suspend all the voluntary measures and extra cooperation" with the IAEA.

Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and a few other nations at odds with Washington remained opposed to referral. India was said to be leaning toward supporting referral.

Diplomats accredited to the IAEA meeting said backing for Iran had shrunk among the U.N. nuclear watchdog's board since Russia and China swung their support behind referral at an overnight meeting with the United States, France and Britain.

[Last modified February 3, 2006, 01:25:14]


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