News / Middle East

IAEA Rebukes Iran for Nuclear Activities

Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, at board of governors meeting, Vienna, Nov. 18, 2011.
Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, at board of governors meeting, Vienna, Nov. 18, 2011.

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency has passed a resolution that cites "deep and increasing concern" about Iran's nuclear activities.

The 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency approved the resolution Friday, about a week after the agency said there is "credible" evidence that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Only Cuba and Ecuador voted against the resolution, while Indonesia abstained.

The United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia crafted the measure, which bows to concerns raised by China and Russia. Both nations sought a milder response to Tehran.

The measure stops short of referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council or setting a deadline for the country to comply with the IAEA's requests for additional information.

Iran has dismissed the IAEA report and says its nuclear program is peaceful.

The Reuters news agency cites the country's IAEA envoy, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, as saying the measure will only strengthen Iran's determination to continue its uranium enrichment activities.

He also said Iran would not attend a U.N. atomic forum next week that will focus on efforts to create a Middle East region that is free of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. praised the IAEA for passing the resolution. A White House statement says the agency "spoke with a unified voice" in holding Tehran accountable for its "continued failure to live up to international obligations."

The U.N. Security Council has passed four sets of sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop nuclear activities that have both civilian and military uses.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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