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Head of UN Nuclear Agency Says Iran Standoff at Critical Phase, but 'Not a Crisis'

  • VOA News

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency says the standoff over Iran's nuclear program is at a critical phase, but he says it is not a crisis.

Mohamed ElBaradei spoke on Thursday as the International Atomic Energy Agency began a two-day meeting in Vienna to hear the European case on Iran's nuclear program.

ElBaradei said Iran can still take confidence-building measures, and does not pose an imminent threat.

The 35-nation I.A.E.A. board is discussing a European draft resolution that calls on the agency to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

However, the draft resolution says any Security Council action on Iran would be delayed until the next I.A.E.A. meeting in early March - a concession to Russia and China.

Iranian officials said on Thursday that Tehran would reduce its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear agency if it is reported to the Security Council. Iran has repeatedly denied its nuclear program is intended to produce nuclear weapons.

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