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UNSC could take up Iran issue on March 9

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Washington, Mar 4: Iran's nuclear programme is expected to command a great deal of attention as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) prepares its agenda for the month of March.

The UNSC will take up the issue of Iran's nuclear programme on March 9 when IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei meets Security Council diplomats in New York.

The 15-nation Security Council will take up the issue after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meets in Vienna, Austria, on March 6, US Ambassador John Bolton said yesterday.

Bolton pointed out that, in early February, the IAEA board voted to report to the Security Council all information relating to Iran's implementation of its safeguards programme, but agreed to defer formal action until after another report from ElBaradei.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, agreed that a Security Council meeting will take place, the US ambassador said.

ElBaradei has already sent his report to the 35-nation IAEA board of governors, but it has not been released publicly. However, Bolton said he has read the report.

''ElBaradei makes a convincing case,'' he said, pointing out that the first footnote lists 16 IAEA reports on the Iranian nuclear programme.

''Looking at the lack of Iranian cooperation and at the affirmative efforts Iran made to conceal its nuclear activities and difficulties the IAEA has had pulling information out of them.

''There is simply no escaping the conclusion based on the evidence that the Iranians are pursuing a nuclear weapons capability," the ambassador said.

UNI

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