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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Iran attacks UN draft resolution
Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the UN
Mr Zarif said there were many ways of finding a solution
Iran has accused the US and its allies of creating an artificial crisis by tabling a UN resolution calling for a halt to its uranium enrichment.

Iran's envoy to the UN called for a "serious, reasonable" debate instead while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country was being "bullied".

The five permanent UN Security Council members are discussing the resolution which the UK and France also back.

Russia has called for the UN's nuclear watchdog to be the chief arbiter.

Certain bullies are insolently trying to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian president

The draft resolution, calling on Iran to suspend enrichment or face "further action", falls under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which could ultimately allow for sanctions or military action as a last resort.

Both Russia and China - the other veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council - are opposed to strong action.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the work of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be "fully" supported.

"I hope that all the efforts of the international community, in Vienna and in New York, will be aimed at exactly that," he told journalists in Moscow.

'Bullies'

Iran's envoy to the UN, Javad Zarif, told reporters the document was regrettable because there were a "multitude of possibilities for finding a peaceful resolution".

Iranian nuclear facility
Iran insists it has a right to enrich uranium

Those who drafted it, he said, showed an "intention to create a crisis where a crisis is not needed".

He reiterated Tehran's basic position, that it will not stop enrichment because it intends to produce electricity, not nuclear bombs.

Speaking at a summit of mainly Muslim states in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Iranian president said that "certain bullies" were "insolently trying to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries".

"We intend to continue our activity... until we manage industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel for our atomic power stations," Mr Ahmadinejad told the meeting of the 10-strong Economic Cooperation Organisation group.

Iran's enemies, he added, were waging a "psychological war and trying to establish a nuclear apartheid to prevent our people from exercising their inalienable rights".

'Expansionist regime'

The draft resolution urges Iran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" and "suspend the construction of a reactor moderated by heavy water".

It threatens to consider "further measures as may be necessary" to ensure compliance - a reference to possible sanctions.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I think Iran should give the UN complete details about what they're doing with enriched uranium
Rich

Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the late Shah of Iran, has told the BBC he believes that the current leadership in Iran wants weapons of mass destruction to shore up its own power.

"It is an expansionist regime which will use any means at its disposal to survive," he told World Service radio's The Interview, to be broadcast on Saturday.

But he added that a UN-sanctioned military attack would be "the best gift possible to the regime" as it would strengthen its support.

Talks at the UN may continue into the weekend if necessary so the resolution can be adopted before foreign ministers meet in New York on Monday.

China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya, admitted there were still "some different views about Chapter Seven".

The draft resolution comes after an IAEA one week ago said Tehran had ignored calls to halt uranium enrichment.




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