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Opposition claims Iran ‘on verge’ of nuclear bomb, urges sanctions

Mohammad Mohaddessin in Brussels' press conferenceAgence France Presse, BRUSSELS, September 22 – An Iranian opposition group Thursday called for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council without delay over its nuclear program, claiming Tehran is "on the verge" of building an atomic bomb.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, presenting a report on Iran’s nuclear program in Brussels, criticized the European Union’s policy of engaging Iran, which is currently under the spotlight at the UN atomic agency in Vienna.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chair of NCRI Foreign Affairs CommitteeAgence France Presse, BRUSSELS, September 22 – An Iranian opposition group Thursday called for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council without delay over its nuclear program, claiming Tehran is "on the verge" of building an atomic bomb.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, presenting a report on Iran’s nuclear program in Brussels, criticized the European Union’s policy of engaging Iran, which is currently under the spotlight at the UN atomic agency in Vienna.

"Any procrastination in referring the mullahs’ nuclear file to the UN Security Council would lead to disaster," said Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the opposition group’s foreign affairs committee.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is currently meeting to decide how to proceed with Iran, after Tehran resumed sensitive nuclear activities in breach of an accord with the EU, sparking the suspension of talks with the bloc.

Earlier this week the EU had been calling for Iran to be immediately referred to the UN Security Council, but on Thursday new draft documents indicated it was backing off from that stance.

The Iranian opposition activists said the EU "should abandon the current policy of "engagement" with the Iranian regime.

In a 37-page report on Iran’s nuclear program the opposition group claimed that there were talks in the 1980s between Iran and a key Pakistani nuclear expert who ran a proliferation ring.

The report, which the group said was based on a large network of sources in Iran, claimed that Abdul Qadeer Khan met Mohammad Eslami, now a key official in the defence ministry in Tehran, in 1986 and 1987. The claim could not be verified.

The group also claimed that Tehran is actively pursuing efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

"The regime is on the verge of producing a nuclear bomb," said the conclusion of the report, while Mohaddessin added: "The regime needs no more than two or three years to acquire the first bomb."

The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, the so-called EU-3 which has led negotiations with Tehran, said Thursday that the risks of proliferation are "too high" if Iran persists in its current nuclear policy.

"There are serious reasons to suppose that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are not exclusively peaceful," the ministers wrote in a joint article in Le Monde newspaper.