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IAEA set to agree on Iran breach

Iran says its nuclear facility at Arak, shown in this satellite photo, is for peaceful uses only.
Iran says its nuclear facility at Arak, shown in this satellite photo, is for peaceful uses only.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Iran is set to receive a slap on the wrist over its nuclear program, but is likely to escape being reported to the U.N. Security Council after talks brokered between the U.S. and the UK, CNN has learned.

Tehran is set to receive condemnation from the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Wednesday over its failure to report the full extent of its nuclear program.

Washington had pushed for sanctions against Iran, but late night talks, believed to be between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the UK's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, appear to have settled on just criticizing Tehran.

The agreement is expected to be unanimously voted through by the IAEA's 35-member board of governors at a meeting in Vienna.

"We cannot be entirely sure if the process is completed because the countries non-aligned to the U.S. and the European group were not involved in discussion but I believe we can expect a positive vote when the council meets tomorrow," an IAEA spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Other countries which had supported sanctions included Australia and Japan.

They had argued that Iran had breached its nuclear obligations after Tehran admitted to producing small amounts of low-enriched uranium and plutonium in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

But a European bloc, headed by France and Germany, said it felt Iran had complied with many of the international community's requests and should not be sanctioned. The UK brokered the deal between the two sides.

"I understand an agreement was reached last night in very high level discussions," the spokeswoman said. "My understanding is (British Foreign Secretary) Jack Straw and (U.S. Secretary of State) Colin Powell held discussion throughout the evening with Jack Straw speaking on behalf of the European group. I believe agreement was reached at about 9.30 p.m. Vienna time," the spokeswoman added.

The IAEA said in a 30-page report released last month, that there was "no evidence" that the previously undeclared materials were "related to a nuclear weapons program." (Full Story)


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