`Iran seeks seat on UN nuke agency board`

Iran is seeking a seat on the decision-making board of the same UN nuclear agency probing its activities for evidence that Tehran may be interested in making atomic weapons, officials said.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 19:11 PM IST

Vienna: Iran is seeking a seat on the
decision-making board of the same UN nuclear agency probing
its activities for evidence that Tehran may be interested in
making atomic weapons, officials said on Thursday.

While Iran has sought such a position previously, it
had always withdrawn its candidates well before the 151
members of the International Atomic Energy Agency approve
members for the agency`s 35-nation board.

Diplomats and other government officials, however,
told The Associated Press just hours before the issue was to
be taken up today that Iran`s hat remained in the ring.

They and an Iranian official who confirmed that Iran
remained in the running, asked for anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the issue.

A seat for Iran would give it a stronger lobbying
platform on its file as well as voting rights on resolutions
of the kind that sent Tehran`s file to the Security Council.

Iran insists it does not seek atomic weapons but has
been under IAEA investigation since revelations of secret
nuclear activities eight years ago.

Iran is under four sets of UN Security Council
sanctions for refusing to stop uranium enrichment - a pathway
both to nuclear fuel and fissile warhead material - and other
actions that have raised concerns about its ultimate goals.

The IAEA board peruses Iran`s activities four times a
year and set into motion UN Security Council involvement - and
ultimately UN sanctions - by referring Tehran to the council
for its nuclear defiance four years ago.

Eleven seats were to be decided today, including two
regional seats contested by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates
and Iran.

One of the diplomats said Iran had sent letters to
many IAEA members asking for support, a reflection of its
determination to get a board seat.

The board membership agenda item was postponed for
later today shortly to allow the three nations to talk about
which would withdraw.

If there was no agreement, the full IAEA general
assembly planned a vote to eliminate one of the contestants.

PTI