MOSCOW - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he favors transferring the case of Iran's nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if talks break down between Iran and the EU, the Russian news agency Interfax reported Tuesday.
Asked whether the UN Security Council would take over if Iran breaks agreements with the EU and resumes sensitive nuclear activities, Solana replied, "In this case, I think that the file would go first to Vienna," referring to the IAEA's headquarters.
Iran has been subject to more than two years of investigations by the international nuclear watchdog after it emerged the country had been covering up its activities for 18 years.
Last November Iran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment and conversion activities in exchange for EU promises of technical and commercial aid.
Iran said Tuesday it would decide within days whether to resume some sensitive nuclear activities, despite the risk of torpedoing talks with the EU and possible UN sanctions.
"Obviously, we need to have guarantees from Tehran on the halt of uranium enrichment activities," added Solana, speaking in Moscow during a Russia-EU summit.
Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany have made it clear that any resumption by Iran of fuel cycle work -- the focus of international fears that the country may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons -- would be considered a violation of the November 2004 suspension agreement that opened the way for negotiations with Tehran.
In such a case, the Europeans could side with the United States and seek Iran's referral to the UN Security Council, which could choose to impose sanctions.
An Iranian official negotiating with the EU said Monday that a decision on breaking the nuclear freeze had already been taken, and that "we will relaunch in the next few days uranium conversion installations at Isfahan."