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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran and Russia Oppose Security Council Referral

TEHRAN, Iran / WASHINGTON -- Iran warned Sunday that referring it to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear activities would lead to a no-win situation with "certain consequences," and a top Russian diplomat on Friday warned against "hasty steps" in the growing crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also said at a news conference that Iran planned to organize tenders for building two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic republic.

Mottaki reiterated Iran's position that it would not stop uranium reprocessing. "There is no legal or legitimate reason, given Iran's transparent activities and its open cooperation with the IAEA ... that Iran be referred to the UN Security Council," Mottaki told reporters.

"If a political decision is made to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, it will be entering a lose-lose game," he added. "It will have its own certain consequences and will affect Iran's decisions. We prefer that such a game is not played."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday asked Russia, China and India to support the United States in threatening Iran with sanctions for refusing to halt its nuclear program.

"Iran needs to get a message from the international community that is a unified message," Rice said at a news conference. The message, she said, is that it is not acceptable for Iran to enter into negotiations with the Europeans on adhering to its international obligations, and then to back out.

Iran refused to accept a U.S.-backed European Union offer of economic concessions to halt suspicious nuclear activities, and Rice said a drive to round up support for UN Security Council consideration of Iran's behavior was under way.

Britain, Germany and France, negotiating on behalf of the European Union, have warned that they may join in seeking to refer Iran to the Security Council if Tehran does not stop uranium conversion before a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Sept. 19. Approval is not assured in the Security Council.

On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko, who held talks with British Ambassador Tony Brenton, repeated Russia's objections to referring Iran to the Security Council.

"While discussing Iran's nuclear problem, the necessity of not taking hasty steps was underscored by the Russian side," Yakovenko said, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

The statement said that a recent report prepared by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei would be discussed at that meeting "and further measures on resolution of the remaining issues will be determined." The report revealed seven tons of uranium hexafluoride had been produced but did not make a determination on whether Iran was using it to pursue a nuclear weapon.

"Under these conditions, we see no grounds to refer this issue, which the IAEA is now actively and productively dealing with, to the UN Security Council," the Russian statement said.