UN atomic watchdog condemns Iran

Nuclear war head
Vienna, Nov 18: The UN atomic watchdog's board passed today (Nov 18) a resolution of "deep and increasing concern" about Iran's nuclear activities after a damning new report from the Vienna-based body.

But the text, proposed at the International Atomic Energy Agency by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and 12 others, stops short of reporting Iran to New York or setting Tehran a deadline to comply.

The resolution said it was "essential for Iran and the Agency to intensify their dialogue" and calls on Tehran "to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council."

A total of 32 countries on the 35-nation IAEA board of governors that includes India, voted in favour, with Indonesia abstaining and Cuba and Ecuador voting against, diplomats said. But to assuage Chinese and Russian misgivings, the resolution has no timeframe for Iran to comply, calling instead for IAEA head Yukiya Amano to report to the board in March on Tehran's "implementation of this resolution."

Last week, the IAEA came the closest yet to accusing Iran outright of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, in a report immediately rejected by the Islamic republic as "baseless." The US envoy to the IAEA, Glyn Davies, told the board today that the "watershed report ... leaves little doubt that Iran, at the very least, wants to position itself for a nuclear weapons capacity."

He rejected criticism that the resolution was too weak. "This resolution does the job," Davies told reporters. "It gives us the tools we need to get the job done."+


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