Iran okays bill blocking Sec. Council inspections

Iran's constitutional watchdog on Saturday approved a bill that would block international inspections of its atomic facilities if it is referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, state-run television reported. The ratification by the hard-line Guardian Council means the bill - overwhelmingly approved by parliament last month - now needs just a presidential signature. It was not clear when that would take place. The law will strengthen the government's hand in resisting international pressure to permanently abandon uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for either nuclear reactors or atomic bombs. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned Iran that its nuclear program could be referred to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on the country.