India votes against Iran nuclear program, Pakistan abstains

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Vienna (Austria), Nov.27 (ANI): India on Friday supported the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog's governing body's resolution that prevents Iran from developing a uranium-enrichment facility in secrecy.

On Friday, IAEA voted overwhelmingly to prevent Iran for developing a uranium-enrichment facility in secret.

The resolution, passed today by a 25-3 vote with six abstentions, urges Iran to halt construction of the Fordow uranium-enrichment plant, located in a mountain bunker near the city of Qom immediately.

IAEA has also demanded that Tehran should immediately freeze the uranium-enrichment project.

Besides, the resolution asks Tehran to clarify the original purpose of the Fordow facility and to confirm that Iran does not have any more hidden atomic facilities or clandestine plants for any purpose.

Significantly, the latest IAEA resolution has also been supported by Russia and China, which have shied away from censuring Iran in the past.

The Russian and Chinese support to the IAEA resolution conveys Tehran a clear message of international disappointment about the secrecy and defiance surrounding its controversial nuclear program.

Russia and China both hold the power to veto possible international sanctions as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The West is concerned that Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Meanwhile, the six countries that abstained from today's vote were Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey.

Azerbaijan was the only country on the IAEA board whose representative was absent when today's vote was taken.

Those who voted against the censure measure -- Venezuela, Malaysia, and Cuba-are all developing countries in a bloc with Iran. They called the resolution provocative and counterproductive.

Iranian officials say the IAEA resolution will undermine its relations with the UN nuclear watchdog.

However, the supporters of the move contend that they were provoked by the revelation in September that Iran had been secretly building a second uranium-enrichment facility for at least two years-a subterfuge they said had raised suspicions there may be more secret Iranian nuclear sites that could be dedicated to making atom bombs.

IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei told media persons in Vienna before the vote that Iran has continued to make counteroffers rather than accepting the compromise deal.

"[Iran's] position-conveyed to me orally a number of times -- is that they want a simultaneous swap between the fuel and their low-enriched uranium," el-Baradei said.

"They are ready to put this material under IAEA control in an island in the Persian Gulf -- [the Iranian island of] Kish -- under our control and custody. But that will not take the material out [of Iran.] The whole idea, as I explained to them, to diffuse the crisis is to take the material out [of Iran]."

Tehran, however, has repeatedly denied that it is trying to build nuclear weapons, claiming that its nuclear program is only for medical research and the peaceful production of nuclear energy. (ANI)

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