Moscow-Russia said on Monday it opposed reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear programme, putting itself on a collision course with the United States in a global body where Moscow holds a veto.
U.S. and European Union officials have warned they will push for Iran”s nuclear case to be sent to the Security Council — which could impose sanctions — if Tehran does not halt all nuclear fuel work and resume negotiations with the EU.
"In these circumstances we see no reason why the question should be sent to the U.N. (Security Council)," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site www.mid.ru.
Russia, which has built a nuclear power plant for Iran and sees Tehran as a key ally in the Middle East, is a permanent member of the Council and can use its veto power to block any move against Iran. The remaining four members with a veto are the United States, Britain, China and France, according to a report of Reuters.
"There are a number of questions related to Iran”s past nuclear activities which need an additional investigation by the (International Atomic Energy) Agency together with the Iranian side," the foreign ministry said.
The report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, circulated to diplomats on Friday, said the agency was still not able to say Iran did not have secret nuclear materials or activities. The IAEA board is due to meet on Sept. 19 to discuss Iran.
"We expect the Sept. 19 session of the IAEA board of governors to thoroughly discuss the report and outline further steps aimed at solving the remaining questions," the Foreign Ministry said.
Iran says it has answered almost all the U.N. nuclear watchdog”s outstanding questions about its nuclear programme and that nothing has been uncovered that would justify sending Tehran to the Security Council.