Israel fights back in IAEA against nuke resolution proposal

Head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission says focus on Jewish State attempt to divert attention from Iran and Syria.

IAEA (photo credit: Associated Press)
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Efforts to focus attention on Israel at the annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference is an attempt to divert attention from Iran and Syria, Shaul Chorev, the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, said Tuesday in Vienna, in a plea to vote down an anti-Israel resolution in that body.
The Arab League-sponsored resolution calling on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA oversight is expected to come to a vote by the end of the week.
A similar resolution passed last year by a vote of 49 in favor, 45 against, and 16 abstentions. This year Israel is lobbying intensively to defeat the resolution.
According to officials in Jerusalem, the US is being “very supportive and cooperative,” and Israel was also “sensing a lot of support and sensitivity generally from the West.”
US envoys in Vienna last week tried to dissuade the Arab countries from putting forth the resolution, saying that at a time when efforts were under way to pursue direct Israeli- Palestinian talks, it was not the time for such a politically divisive initiative.
Chorev, meanwhile, tried to move the attention back onto Iran and Syria in Vienna, saying that reports issued last week by IAEA Director Yukiya Amano about those countries were “extremely disturbing.”
Iran, he said, continued in “relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons,” and Syria’s noncooperation with the IAEA was documented in Amano’s report.
Chorev said the Arab League-sponsored resolution being debated by the assembly “is incompatible with basic principles and norms of international law,” and “ignores adverse reality in the Middle East region.
“I wish to remind all delegates that four Middle Eastern member states, parties to the NPT , namely, Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, have grossly violated their treaty obligations. These four cases make it absolutely clear, that the NPT is unable to adequately address the security challenges of the Middle East region, where the treaty has been mostly abused.”
The true threat to the nonproliferation regime “is posed from within, by those states that pursue nuclear weapons, under the cover of their NPT membership.”
Moreover, Chorev said, the decision whether or not to join international treaties like the NPT is the “sovereign right of any state to decide,” and is not within the mandate of the IAEA to impose.
Furthermore, he said, while Israel is not the only state that has not joined the NPT due to national security considerations, it “is the only state that has been singled out, and is called upon to take a decision which is against its best national interests.”