M A I N   N E W S

Voting unlikely at IAEA meeting
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
Discussions were held today at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna on the board’s draft resolution to report Iranian nuclear programme to the UN Security Council even as non-aligned countries moved several amendments to the document suggesting that the Board holds its horses till the next meeting of the IAEA on March 4.

The two-day emergency meeting of the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began in Vienna today (at 1500 hours IST) on whether to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council which has the power to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran.

Top government sources told The Tribune tonight that India should be supportive of the NAM countries amendment and if the amendments are wholly or partially accepted by the Board, the voting on the draft resolution tomorrow may be averted and the document may then be passed unanimously.

In case the amendments are not accepted by the Board, voting then becomes inevitable and India will be left with no choice but to vote for the resolution.

Diplomats from China and Russia have held confabulations with Iranian officials in Tehran over the past two days with the objective of convincing Iran to see the writing on the wall. Moreover, on February 16, the Iranian officials are to hold discussions with their Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss the Russian proposal of enriching uranium on behalf of Iran in Russian territory and shipping the enriched uranium to Iran.

The IAEA Board today considered a report which said a document obtained by Iran from the nuclear black market served no other purpose than to make an atomic bomb. The 15-page IAEA report related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components.

There are chances that the IAEA Board could pass its resolution, referring Iran to the UNSC, unanimously. The draft resolution, circulated among the member countries yesterday, points out that the IAEA chief has noted that after nearly three years of intensive verification activity, the agency was not yet in a position to clarify some important issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme or to conclude that there were no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.

It talks of a “history of concealment of Iran’s nuclear activities” and says that in November last the IAEA chief reported that Iran possesses a document related to the procedural requirements for the reduction of UF6 to metal in small quantities, and on casting and machining of enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms.

The draft resolution expresses serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme and notes that “an extensive period of confidence-building is required from Iran” and reaffirms the Board’s resolve to continue to work for a diplomatic solution to the problem.

It calls upon Iran to do the following:

  • Re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and processing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the agency.
  • Reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water.
  • Ratify promptly and implement in full Additional Protocol.

An important point made in the draft resolution is that the IAEA is not yet in a position to clarify some important issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, that Iran has in its possession a document on the production of uranium metal hemispheres and this process is related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components. It requests Iran to maintain this document under IAEA seal and to provide a full copy to the agency.

Iran resumed uranium conversion activities at its Isafahan facility on August 8 last and took steps to resume enrichment activities on January 10 this year.

The tables were turned on Iran after the P5 (China, France, Germany, USA and UK) plus Germany and the EU meeting in London on January 30 decided that the February 2-3 meeting of the IAEA Board should report Iran to the Security Council.


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