ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: Pakistan on Wednesday made it clear that it was against referral of Iran’s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council and called for resolving the matter within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Reacting to the impending move by the EU and the US to report Tehran’s nuclear programme to the Security Council (for alleged breaches of international nuclear safeguards), the Foreign Office spokesman Naeem Khan categorically stated: “We are not in favour of referring this matter to the UN Security Council.”

Talking to Dawn here on Wednesday the spokesman openly articulated Pakistan’s position on the issue, saying: “We would like Tehran’s nuclear issue to be resolved within the IAEA framework and we are opposed to any coercive measures against Iran.”

Noting that Pakistan was against the use of force and advocated an amicable settlement of the issue, he pointed out that Pakistan had been encouraging Iran and the EU to resume dialogue.

Indicating Pakistan’s concern as a neighbouring country, he said: “We would not like another crisis building up in our region.”

The spokesman declined to comment on Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Dr Ali Larijani’s threat to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and resume nuclear enrichment programme.

Pakistan, itself indirectly involved in Iran’s nuclear question, has behind-the-scenes been playing an active role towards the peaceful resolution of Tehran’s nuclear row with the IAEA, EU-3 and the US. The Iranian leadership has also acknowledged and appreciated the role being played by Pakistan.

Earlier this month Iranian nuclear negotiator Dr Ali Larijani was here to solicit Pakistan’s support on the issue. President Pervez Musharraf during had underlined the need to find an amicable solution within the parameters of existing international law and Iran’s legitimate national interests.

The pressure on Iran is mounting as United States and the European Union suspect that Tehran’s is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

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