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U.S. Seeks Automatic Trigger for Referring Iran to Security Council

By Craig S. Smith

The New York Times -- VIENNA, Austria

The United States lobbied Monday to toughen an International Atomic Energy Agency draft resolution on Iran’s nuclear program, hoping to include a clear “trigger” that would send Iran’s case to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if the country fails to comply with IAEA demands by November.

The proposed resolution, prepared by Britain, France and Germany, gives Iran a November deadline to clarify inconsistencies in its nuclear energy program, suspected of masking efforts to build a bomb. But it falls short of setting specific requirements or explicitly threatening to send the case to the Security Council.

Nonetheless, the draft resolution is the toughest yet in a yearlong effort to persuade Iran to cooperate more fully with the U.N. nuclear agency and shows a shift in Europe’s attitude toward Iran. The three European countries have in the past resisted American pressure to deliver a harsher rebuke to Iran.

“The Europeans are taking a very hard line now,” said a European diplomat involved in the negotiations.

Iran warned Monday that it might resume efforts to produce highly enriched uranium that could be used to build a nuclear bomb if the United Nations continues pressuring it over its nuclear program. In March, Iran voluntarily agreed to suspend them.

“We can’t imagine that the suspension will last very long,” Hossein Mousavian, head of the Iranian delegation, told reporters at the IAEA’s headquarters here. He reiterated Iran’s stance that under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty it has the right to produce fuel for nuclear reactors.

The United States and other countries, however, have long pointed to inconsistencies in Iran’s program.

Despite the suspension that Iran promised in March, it has never halted the manufacture of centrifuge parts by private workshops.