International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a move hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “great” diplomatic victory, the International Atomic Energy Agency handily voted down an Egyptian resolution on Thursday to force Israel to open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.
The resolution also wanted the IAEA’s member states to express concern over Israel’s nuclear capabilities, and call on it to join the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The resolution was defeated 61-43, with 33 abstentions. Israel has defeated similar measures in the past, including last year when 58 countries voted against the move, but the vote took on added significance this year since it came after the nuclear deal signed with Iran.
Jerusalem has worked intensively in recent weeks to thwart the proposal, and Netanyahu said he has spoken directly with more than 30 presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers about the matter.
“I explained that there was no place to hold a discussion of this kind as long as the main problem in the Middle East is Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and its clear declarations regarding its intention to destroy the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Netanyahu thanked the countries that supported Israel, “especially the US, Australia and Canada.” He also thanked the EU for voting as a single bloc against the resolution.
The vote comes just a week after Israel resoundingly lost a vote in the UN enabling the Palestinians to raise their flag at the world body. In that vote, which passed 119-8, with 45 abstentions, the 28 EU countries split in their voting, with 10 voting for the measure, and 18 abstaining.
Ze’ev Snir, the director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Committee, addressed the IAEA’s annual meeting in Geneva on Wednesday and said the move was an attempt to single out Israel, and that if it passed it would “hurt the credibility of the IAEA by politicizing the organization and reducing its valuable resources.”
Reuters contributed to this report.