The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday strongly criticised Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment.
35 members of the IAEA board voted in favour of a statement which expressed ‘serious concern’ over Iran’s nuclear development. Only Cuba voted against the measure, while Egypt, Ecuador and Tunisia abstained.
The IAEA has held a series of meetings with Iran since January, in order to agree on a monitoring process for Iran’s atomic development. However, little progress has been made, which IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano referred to earlier this week as ‘frustrating’. In addition, Tehran has also refused foreign offers of reactor fuel if it stops enriching uranium, heightening fears that Iran’s nuclear programme is not intended for peaceful purposes as claimed.
The chief US delegate to the IAEA, Robert Wood, said that he hoped yesterday’s vote would have a real impact on Iran, commenting, ‘What we are hoping is that this resolution will keep… diplomatic pressure up and convince Iran that it has really no other option than to comply with its international obligations.’
Meanwhile, Iran’s chief delegate to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, dismissed the vote as mere pressure from ‘a few Western countries, especially the United States.’