IAEA board adopts resolution rebuking Iran nuclear program
Resolution wins overwhelming support by UN nuclear watchdog board, but omits any concrete punitive steps; Iran says will boycott forum on nuclear-free Middle East.
The UN nuclear watchdog board of governors censured Iran on Friday over mounting suspicions it may be seeking to develop atomic bombs, after the six big powers overcame divisions on how to best deal with a defiant Tehran.
But the resolution, which won overwhelming support at the 35-nation meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, omitted any concrete punitive steps, reflecting Russian and Chinese opposition to cornering Iran.
It was adopted by 32 votes for and two against - Cuba and Ecuador. Indonesia abstained.
Iran showed no sign of backing down in the protracted dispute over its atomic activities, threatening to take legal action against the Vienna-based UN agency for issuing a hard-hitting report about Tehran's nuclear program.
In response, a senior Iranian official said Friday that Iran will not take part in rare IAEA-hosted talks next week for countries in the Middle East to discuss efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh lashed out at IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, who convened the Nov 21-22 talks in Vienna for Middle Eastern states, as "not professional" and said he did not believe the meeting would be "fruitful."
Iran "will not participate," he told reporters. Israel and Arab states are expected to attend the forum.
Last week's IAEA report presented a stash of intelligence indicating that Iran has undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability. It has stoked tensions in the Middle East and redoubled calls in Western capitals for stiffer sanctions against Tehran.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only as fuel for nuclear power plants, not atomic weapons. It has dismissed the details in the IAEA report obtained mainly from Western spy agencies as fabricated, and accusing the IAEA of a pro-Western slant.
Earlier Friday, a senior Iranian envoy accused the IAEA chief of security leaks that expose his country's scientists and their families to the threat of assassination by the U.S. and Israel.
In a letter to by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, Ali Asghar Soltanieh said the leaks in a recent report have made Iranian scientists "the targets for assassination by ... [the] Israeli regime and United State[s] of America intelligence services."
The accusations reflect Iran's fury with Amano over the report to the IAEA board detailing Tehran's alleged secret research and development of nuclear weapons.
Soltanieh alleged that the agency of releasing the report early to the United States, Britain and other countries. Some of its contents were leaked to Western media before release on November 8.
קראו כתבה זו בעברית: סבא"א גינתה את איראן: "דאגה עמוקה וגוברת מתכנית הגרעין