The US Senate on Saturday passed by a 90-1 vote a non-binding resolution insisting that the United States prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and ruling out any strategy aimed at dealing with a nuclear-armed Iran.

The only senator to vote against the resolution was Republican Rand Paul, a Tea Party and libertarian favorite, who argued that it was a de-facto declaration of war.

Paul had sponsored another measure that would suspend foreign aid to the governments of Pakistan, Egypt and Libya in response to recent attacks on US interests in these countries, but this was soundly defeated by a vote of 81-10.

Earlier Saturday, Western states defeated an Iranian proposal at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) annual assembly to amend their draft resolution on a policy area central to its work in preventing the spread of atom bombs.

The draft text was adopted in a vote shortly after midnight after days of closed-door negotiations failed to achieve the traditional consensus, with divisions between a small number of countries led by Iran and a much larger Western-dominated group.

Diplomats said Iran and Egypt had wanted to include language in the resolution suggesting the agency should have a role also in nuclear disarmament, apparently reflecting frustration on their part at the lack of faster progress on this issue.

This was opposed by a large majority including the United States, Britain, France and Russia - four officially recognized nuclear weapon states - which believe the IAEA is not the right forum for this, they said.

The West accuses Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability in secret. The Islamic Republic denies the charge.

Tehran often hits out at the United States over its atomic arsenal, and also criticizes Iran's arch foe, Israel, and that country's assumed nuclear weapons.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

The annual General Conference of the 155 IAEA member states traditionally adopts several resolutions, setting out general and often vaguely worded policy aspirations and guidelines, during a week-long meeting in Vienna.

As in 2011, the most contentious issue was a text regarding the IAEA's activities in seeking to make sure nuclear material is not diverted for non-peaceful purposes, a crucial task for the UN agency under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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