UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has passed a resolution over the Iranian nucIear programme, calling for complete suspension of activities in order to resolve “outstanding safeguards issues.”
The resolution was adopted by vote of 27 in favour, three against and five abstentions. Board members supporting it were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, UK, USA, and the Yemen. Those against were Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela, and abstentions came from Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya, and South Africa.
The IAEA noted that after nearly three years of intensive verification activity, the agency is not yet in a position to clarify some important issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme or to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran. Expressing serious concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, and agreeing that an extensive period of confidence-building is required from Iran, the IAEA called on Iran to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the agency. In addition, the IAEA called on Iran to reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and implement transparency measures.
The IAEA is to report to the Security Council of the United Nations that these steps are required. In addition, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei is to report on the implementation of this and previous resolutions to the next session of the board in March and immediately convey, together with any new resolutions, that report to the Security Council.
Iran resumed uranium conversion activities at its Isfahan facility on 8 August 2005 and took steps to resume enrichment activities on 10 January 2006, a move which prompted the current action from the international community. However, the Islamic republic remains defiant and has notified the IAEA that its inspectors would no longer be allowed to conduct short-notice, wide-reaching inspection trips and that uranium enrichment work would resume.
Prior to the reolution, ElBaradei said: "We are reaching a critical phase but it is not a crisis situation. It is about confidence building and it is not about an imminent threat... Whether the Board's outcome will be to report to the Security Council or not, everybody agrees that the only way to move forward is through diplomacy, through negotiation and there is still a window of opportunity for all concerned parties to find a way forward." ElBaradei added: "The sponsors [of the resolution] made it clear that the Security Council is not expected to take any action at least before March... very much a window of opportunity. I hope during that month that Iran will continue to cooperate with the agency, to clarify remaining outstanding issues."
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