TOKYO - The United States has seen no sign Iran will comply with international demands on its suspect nuclear program and will push next month for the matter to be sent to the UN Security Council unless Tehran reverses its course, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday.
Powell said Washington believed it could get support from the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the Security Council in the event it fails to comply with its IAEA obligations and commitments to European nations.
The IAEA's governing board last met in September and called on Iran by its November 25 meeting to halt uranium enrichment activities that could be used to produce nuclear weapons and disprove fully US accusations that it is secretly developing such arms.
"I think everybody left the September meeting believing that if there was not a significant response, and a very clear significant response that met all of the IAEA requirements and was totally consistent with the agreement they had with the EU, that there should be a referral in November," Powell said.
"We're approaching November and it is our position that we should continue to march toward action by the IAEA ... that would refer it to the Security Council if there is no complete satisfaction on the part of the Iranians toward the international obligations and commitments that they have made," he said.
Powell made the comments to reporters aboard his plane en route to Japan, the first leg of a three-nation Asian tour during which another nuclear dilemma -- North Korea's atomic weapons programs -- will be the chief focus.
He said the United States was looking forward to hearing Iran's formal response to a proposal from Europe's three key states for it to avoid possible UN sanctions and receive nuclear technology by indefinitely suspending uranium enrichment.
The United States has frowned on the incentives offered by Britain, France and Germany but made no move to stop the offer from being made and Powell held out little hope that Tehran would respond positively.
Earlier Saturday, a senior Iranian lawmaker branded the European conditions unacceptable and in violation of Iran's right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Tehran insists that its program is to produce energy and vehemently denies the US allegations.
The European trio had in October 2003 struck a deal with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, against promises of getting technology transfers.
But the deal has soured with the Europeans calling for Iran to halt all enrichment activities, including making centrifuges and the feed gas for the centrifuges which refine the uranium, and Iran saying such support activities were not included in the agreement.