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Sunday, November 29, 2009
Iran to halt voluntary cooperation with IAEA
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN - Iran officially announced that it will cease its voluntary cooperation with the IAEA after the agency’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution against Iran on Friday under pressure by Western countries.
Iran said the drafters of the anti-Iran resolution made a historic mistake and advised the West to discard its policy of confrontation with Tehran.
“To show its goodwill, the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far taken steps beyond its commitments, but this resolution will cause Iran to cooperate with the agency only within the framework of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Friday.
“The Board of Governors’ resolution will disrupt the current atmosphere of cooperation and will cause Iran to discontinue its voluntary cooperation which went beyond its commitments,” Soltanieh told the Mehr News Agency.
Twenty-five members of the 35-nation board, including Russia and China, voted in favor of the resolution. The resolution criticized Iran for beginning construction of a new uranium enrichment facility at Fordo, which is near Qom, and demanded that it immediately halt its construction. It also criticized Iran for defying a UN Security Council call for it to suspend uranium enrichment.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on Friday saying Iran sees no need to commit itself to voluntary cooperation with the agency since its fundamental rights as an NPT signatory are not being observed.
The Foreign Ministry called the adoption of the resolution a futile attempt to impose pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Whereas the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities has been proven time and again by IAEA inspections, the resolution was a proving ground for independent countries seeking their legitimate rights, the statement added.
Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based agency also said such an approach caused a rift among the countries currently on the IAEA Board of Governors.
However, the Western countries failed in their attempt to get the resolution approved by a consensus vote, he added.
Malaysia, which is the current president of the IAEA Board, Venezuela, and Cuba voted against the resolution, and Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey abstained. Azerbaijan Republic missed the vote.
“Nine countries did not vote for the resolution. In addition, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Cuba voted against the resolution, which we view as a political failure for the West because they hoped to approve the resolution against Iran through a consensus.”
Pointing out that Iran has repeatedly declared that it will continue to cooperate with the IAEA according to the obligations defined in the nuclear safeguards agreement, the envoy said, “So far, no resolution by the Security Council or the Board of Governors has succeeded in preventing the continuation of Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities, and the recent resolution will have no effect on these activities, and we will continue our activities under the agency’s supervision.”
In the ratification of this resolution, Iran’s transparent cooperation with the IAEA in regard to “the Fordo nuclear site was ignored, which is regretful,” the ambassador added.
“The adoption of this resolution is not only unhelpful for improving the current situation, but it will jeopardize the conducive environment vitally needed for success in the process of the Geneva and Vienna negotiations, expected to lead to a common understanding,” Soltanieh told the IAEA meeting.
Differences will undermine IAEA
The Egyptian ambassador to the IAEA said there is no justification for the resolution since it will damage the quality of Iran’s cooperation with the UN body.
Soltanieh said the resolution has caused a rift among countries, which will undermine the future activities of the UN nuclear watchdog as a technical body.
“In Vienna, while studying the Iran issue at the Board of Governors meeting, one bloc supported Iran and another bloc pushed for (ratification of) the resolution, and this trend is dangerous for the long-term activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a technical organization.”
He added, “We are sure that the authors of the anti-Iran resolution made a historic mistake and will soon discover their mistake.”
The ambassador said, “The Westerners must have learned (something) from their previous behavior toward Iran, and they must know that they will receive a negative response if they use aggressive language with Iran.”