Egypt terms IAEA resolution on Iran as `unbalanced`

Last Updated: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 11:26

Cairo: Egypt on Sunday described as "unbalanced" and "inappropriate" the IAEA resolution censuring Iran over its nuclear programme, saying that the UN nuclear watchdog "failed" to take into account the regional dimension.
The resolution, demanding Iran immediately suspend construction of its newly-revealed uranium enrichment plant at Qom -- a site kept secret until recently, was adopted at a meeting of the 35-member board of governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday.

"The resolution - which Egypt refused to vote for – did not take into consideration the regional dimension while dealing with the Iranian file," an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

It should have clearly referred to the Israeli nuclear capabilities and stressed the importance of rendering the entire Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction, the spokesman said.

The resolution was referred to the IAEA Board of Governors without offering enough time for consultations on it, the spokesman charged.

"In addition, the timing of the resolution was inappropriate, thus contributing to the lack of confidence between the parties concerned with settling the Iranian nuclear crisis," he said.

25 countries, including India, voted in favour of the resolution spearheaded by the US while Egypt abstained from voting. The spokesman said the country took the stand "to avoid allowing any party to think that Egypt was supporting Iran`s way of handling its nuclear file."

However, he expressed disappointment that Iran did not disclose the presence of the Qom nuclear facility and violated its commitments to the IAEA.

He expressed concerns about the presence of "clandestine" nuclear facilities in the Middle East that are not liable to the IAEA safeguards regime, adding this poses threat to the Egyptian and regional security.

Egypt will proceed with its efforts to render the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction, highlighting its commitment to the right of all Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories, including Iran, to develop peaceful nuclear technology, the spokesman said.

Western nations suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian energy programme, a charge rejected by Tehran.

The IAEA resolution asked Iran to reveal the purpose of the new nuclear facility and the chronology of its construction and wanted it to "confirm ... that (it) has not
taken a decision to construct, or authorise construction of, any other nuclear facility which has as yet not been declared to the agency."

The resolution marks the first IAEA action against Iran since 2006.


First Published: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 11:26

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