U.N. Agency Censures Iran; Russia, China Back Resolution
Byline: Joseph Weber, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The governing board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog voted overwhelmingly Friday to censure Iran and demand that the Islamic Republic immediately stop building a nuclear facility that had been kept secret until recent months.
The 25-3 vote by the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) won rare support from Russia and China, and drew praise from the White House and rebuke from Tehran.
The resolution demanded Iran shut down a newly revealed nuclear facility near Qom until further questions have been answered.
Iran admitted the facility's existence in September, at least two years into its construction, shocking IAEA inspectors. Western diplomats said Iran was forced to come clean after learning the site had been detected by their spy services.
Officials in Tehran called Friday's resolution a historic mistake and threatened to curtail the country's cooperation with the IAEA.
Iran's chief representative to the Vienna, Austria-based agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, declared that his country would resist pressure, resolutions, sanction(s) and threat of military attack.
Neither resolutions of the board of governors nor those of the United Nations Security Council .. neither sanctions nor the threat of military attacks can interrupt peaceful nuclear activities in Iran, even a second, he told the closed-door meeting, in remarks made available to
But major nations led by the U.S. supported the move and hinted that sanctions might be sought against Iran.
"Today's overwhelming vote .. demonstrates the resolve and unity of the international community with regard to Iran's nuclear
program "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said"It underscores broad consensus in calling upon Iran to live up to its international obligations and offer transparency in its nuclear program."
Mr. Gibbs said the vote also underscores a commitment to strengthen the rules of the international system, and to support the ability of the IAEA and U.N. Security Council to enforce the rules of the road, and to hold Iran accountable to those rules.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the resolution the strongest and most definitive statement yet made by the countries who are very worried about nuclear ambitions on the part of Iran.
Nations were absolutely clear that Iran has misled the international community, Mr. Brown said at a Commonwealth summit in Trinidad. [They are] sending the clearest possible signal to Iran that they should desist from their nuclear plans, that the world knows what they are doing and trying to do, and that they should accept the offers that have been made. …