World powers want Iran nuclear issue heard at UN

London, Jan 31 | Updated: Feb 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
The UN Security Councils five permanent members agreed on Tuesday that the UNs nuclear watchdog should report to the Council this week on what Iran must do to cooperate with the agency.

Iran replied that any such move would kill off diplomatic efforts to end its nuclear standoff with the West, which fears Tehran is trying to build the bomb. Iran denies this.

As the row added to instability in world energy markets, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri said it would have no bearing on oil exports from the worlds fourth largest producer. We have no reason to stop our exports, he said.

Libyan Energy Minister Fathi Omar Bin Shatwan said earlier that referring Irans case to the Council would have a serious effect on oil prices, already just shy of record highs.

Foreign ministers from the five permanent Security Council states China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain supported by Germany and the European Union, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must vote on Thursday to send Irans case to the Council.

(Ministers) agreed that this weeks extraordinary IAEA Board meeting should report to the Security Council its decision on the steps required of Iran, they said in a joint statement after meeting in London.

Iran can count on support at the IAEA from Venezuela and an abstention from India but observers say Tuesdays compromise suggestion was likely to get a comfortable majority in any vote.

Iran said diplomatic efforts to resolve its standoff would be over if its case was sent to the Council.