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Russia Could Delay U.N. Vote on Iran

September 20, 2005

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Russian resistance could delay the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency’s vote on referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, but Europe and Washington remain committed to such a move, senior European diplomats said Tuesday.

The diplomats said that a European Union resolution backed by the United States calling for referral could be introduced at the current session of the International Atomic Energy’s board meeting but any vote could be postponed to a later meeting of the 35-nation IAEA board.

Board members China and Russia _ both Security Council members with veto power _ are opposed to having Iran hauled up before the U.N.’s top decision-making body. But the diplomats said that the Russians could change their mind at a later date _ which is the rationale for possibly delaying a vote.

Backers of the Security Council options now only have a slim majority among board nations, but with Russia on board, more support would swing their way, a diplomat told The Associated Press.

The Russians ``want a little more time to see how the discussions go on Iran″ within the IAEA instead of immediate referral, said another. They spoke anonymously as a condition for discussing the behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also hinted that _ while referral was a near certainty _ when that might happen was still undecided.

``I’m quite certain that at some point in time Iran is going to be referred to the Security Council, particularly if Iran continues to demonstrate that it is not prepared to give the international community assurances that it is not going to try to build a nuclear weapons program under cover of civil nuclear power,″ she told reporters Monday at the United Nations.

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