Iran

UN Steps up Pressure on Iran

Keep pushing of access to nuclear sites

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The U.S. and several of its allies aim to step up pressure on Iran with a proposal that would empower the United Nations nuclear watchdog to order snap inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

In a draft resolution presented Wednesday, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom—plus Germany called it "essential and urgent" that Iran give international inspectors unfettered access to its nuclear sites. The International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors is expected to approve the resolution at its meeting in Vienna this week, diplomats said.

Legally, the language of the resolution, particularly the use of the words "essential and urgent," would give the U.N. agency some more leverage in its long-standing and often stalled probe of Iran's nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies suspect is being used to develop weapons, a charge Tehran denies.