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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK
UN urges Iran to halt enrichment
Iranian technicians
Iran's nuclear programme worries the international community
The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a statement urging Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

The vote was taken shortly after the text had been agreed by the five permanent members of the council.

It follows weeks of wrangling between the US, UK, Russia, China and France over the details of a text that sets out the UN's response to the issue.

Iran says its nuclear programme is being developed for peaceful purposes and has refused to stop its activities.

The agreement - which is not legally binding - comes ahead of Thursday's meeting of foreign ministers from the five members, as well as Germany, in Berlin to discuss a future strategy on Iran.

It was reached after France and the UK drew up a third version of a draft statement that made concessions to Russia and China.

Altered text

Moscow and Beijing, both allies of Iran, were concerned that Security Council involvement could lead to sanctions against Iran and wanted the IAEA to take the lead.

The latest statement repeats the call for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, but omits some of the detailed demands - referring instead to an IAEA resolution on the issue.

It again calls for the IAEA's director general to report back on Iran's compliance, but extends the deadline from 14 to 30 days.

And while it no longer says the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a threat to international peace and security, the draft statement does refer to the Security Council's responsibility to maintain peace.




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