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IAEA Board Censures Iran Over Nuke Program

The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency has censured Iran for its nuclear program, in a motion endorsed Friday by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Lisa Bryant

The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency has censured Iran for its nuclear program, in a motion endorsed Friday by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Twenty five nations in the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted in favor of the censure motion, which calls on Iran to halt construction of a recently revealed uranium enrichment plant. The measure says the plant violates a United Nations Security Council resolution.  The motion also demands that Iran cease enriching uranium.

The vote is the first motion against Iran by the Vienna-based agency since 2006. It reflects a sense that efforts to get Tehran to halt its nuclear program are going nowhere.

Those frustrations were aired on Thursday by outgoing IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, who discussed the issue with the board. Mr. ElBaradei also discussed Iran's reluctance to have its uranium enriched overseas.

"I'm disappointed that Iran has not so far agreed to the original proposal or the alternative modalities, both of which are balanced and fair and would greatly help to alleviate the concern relating to Iran's nuclear program," said  ElBaradei.

Friday's vote is significant because Russia and China voted in favor of the censure motion, along with the three other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, France and Britain - as well as Germany. While the motion may not make a difference in itself, it carries weight in a push for tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but much of the world community fears it is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA has warned that the passage of the censure motion could harm Tehran's cooperation with the agency.
 

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