Iran to review ties with countries over IAEA vote

Iran's parliament said on Dec. 3 it would review relations with countries that voted against its nuclear activities at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting last week.

CA online and wire services

2009-12-07

TEHRAN — Iran's parliament said on Dec. 3 it would review relations with countries that voted against its nuclear activities at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting last week.

The IAEA board officially censured Iran for covertly building a second uranium enrichment plant near Qom in addition to the IAEA-monitored facility at Natanz, and called for a halt to its construction. The resolution was passed by 25 votes to three, with six abstentions. Its passage was smoothed by backing from two of Iran’s trading partners, Russia and China, which had earlier blocked Western attempts to isolate Iran.

"Parliament will review Iran's relations with countries that voted for the recent resolution against us," Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

In addition, Iran said on Nov. 29 that it would build another ten uranium enrichment sites in retaliation for the IAEA vote. The government added it would further enrich its uranium stockpile; a step some believe is the first in building a nuclear warhead.

The latest statement appeared to sound the death knell for a deal with global powers that would see the bulk of Iran's low-enriched uranium sent abroad for processing into solid fuel rods for a medical reactor.

Any expansion in enrichment activity would increase Western fears that Iran is considering the development of nuclear weapons, although Iran says its programme is aimed purely at power generation.

Russia and China, both of which can veto UN Security Council resolutions, appear increasingly prepared to support some tightening of sanctions as a last resort.

However, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while declining to answer a question on sanctions on Thursday, told reporters that Russia had "no information that Iran is working on the creation of a nuclear weapon."

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists that, "We are...making Iran offers for a good, common development; but on the other hand, we are also saying that if this is not the case...then new sanctions must be considered."

[Reuters]

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