February 21, 2007

Iran and IAEA face off

Despite the threat of sanctions and a looming deadline, the Iranian president again scoffed Wednesday at a U.N. Security Council demand that the Islamic republic halt its uranium-enrichment program.

On December 23, the 15-member Security Council unanimously approved a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran. Russia and China, two veto-wielding members of the Security Council, voted in favor of the resolution despite previously expressing their aversion to imposing sanctions.

Under Resolution 1737, the council requested that International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei report within 60 days on whether Iran has suspended its nuclear activities.

It was initially reported that the deadline expired Wednesday -- 60 days after the December 23 resolution passed -- but an IAEA official told CNN the deadline is Friday. ElBaradei is scheduled to deliver his report Thursday, the official said.

ElBaradei said in Monday's Financial Times that he expected to report that Iran had not complied with the resolution. However, ElBaradei noted, the Security Council will not take any action until he reports to the IAEA board of governors next month. [via CNN.com]

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