IAEA adopts resolution against Mideast atomic bombs

After debate showing deep divisions between Israel, Arab states, UN atomic agency members ask Middle East to join global anti-nuclear treaty.

By REUTERS,
September 23, 2011 12:58
1 minute read.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

IAEA Yukiya Amano 311. (photo credit: REUTERS / Herwig Prammer)

Member states of the UN atomic agency adopted a resolution on Friday calling on all countries in the Middle East to join a global anti-nuclear treaty, after a debate that highlighted deep divisions between Israel and Arab states.

Israel and the United States abstained in the vote on the Egyptian-proposed text, entitled "Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East", while most others backed it at the annual member state meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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On Tuesday, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Shaul Chorev warned in a speech at the conference that Iran is directly involved in activities related to the design and testing of nuclear weapons.

Chorev addressed the meeting ahead of the vote on the resolution submitted by Arab states to single out Israel for condemnation over its nuclear activities.

The IAEC and the Foreign Ministry spent the past few months recruiting states to vote down the resolution.

“Not only is Iran continuing its enrichment- related activities in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, but it is also engaged in activities directly related to the design and testing of nuclear weapons,” Chorev said.

“Absent an effective response by the international community, Iran may become the first country to acquire nuclear weapons while being a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Chorev said that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons under the cover of its membership in the NPT and that its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent served no real civilian purpose.

“Against this backdrop, some still prefer to find refuge in carefully-worded diplomatic phrases, which are obscuring ominous realities, and obstructing effective concerted response,” he said.

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