By Alexander Vatutin
The Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency has passed a resolution with demands for Iran to improve cooperation with the IAEA and become more open about the nature of its nuclear energy programme.
The vote went 32 against 2, with only one abstention. The objectors were Cuba and Ecuador. Indonesia was the abstaining member.
The resolution had been tabled by the sextet of international negotiators with the Iranians, the Security Council’s Permanent Five plus Germany. It closely followed the latest IAEA report on Iran, which was described by the Russian Foreign Ministry as a compilation exercise based on manipulation with facts. The report was full of wordy and vague sentences, all pronounced before, about credible evidence of a possible military component of Iran’s nuclear plans. Compiled in a single paper, they supplied the United States and Israel with ammunition to argue for extra sanctions against Iran.
The resolution on Friday, however, shows considerable restraint. In compliance with demands by the powerful sextet members Russia and China, it does not contain threats to Iran to face consequences if it fails to immediately become fully open on all aspects of its nuclear energy research. At the same time, the resolution accuses Iran of insufficient openness and of unwillingness to strictly obey all the rules and directives of the IAEA. The sextet is unanimous about this, as it is about the necessity to save the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran is a signatory, from unraveling.
Dr Vladimir Averchev sits on the Kremlin’s Foreign and Defence Policy Council:
“The non-proliferation regime must stay unchanged. In dealing with Iran, the family of nations is testing its ability to enforce it. Iran is a signatory to the Treaty. If it flouts its obligations and acquires the bomb, the spread of nuclear weapons may become unstoppable”
Importantly, Friday’s resolution does not refer Iran’s case to the UN Security Council and leaves it within the IAEA. This means the Agency will continue its efforts to come to terms with Iran. Tehran has already agreed to admit IAEA inspectors in the coming weeks. The Russian Foreign Ministry says it hopes that before January the sextet will be able to hold another round of talks with the Iranians.