India does it again, votes against Iran at IAEA meet

However, there won't be any UN action for at least a month. What next for Iran?

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 15:45 IST

India on Saturday voted in favour of an IAEAresolution to report the Iran nuclear issue to the UN Security Council. The resolution expressed concerns that Iran’s nuclear programme may not be “exclusively for peaceful purposes”.

The resolution, moved by EU 3 (Britain, Germany and France) at the emergency meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors in Vienna, had to be voted upon after efforts for a consensus failed. Venezuela, Syria and Cuba declined to be part of the “consensus” and sought a vote. India joined 26 other countries to vote for, what it called, a “well-balanced” resolution, while three voted against it. Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa abstained.

The resolution sets the stage for future UNSC action like economic and political sanctions on Iran. However, Iran’s key supporters, Russia and China, succeeded in ensuring that no action will be taken for at least a month, providing — what IAEA chief Mohammed El-Baradei said — “a window of opportunity” to resolve the issue within the purview of the nuclear watchdog.

MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said in New Delhi: “Our active role enabled the tabling of a resolution that recognises the right of Iran to peaceful uses of nuclear energy for its development, consistent with its international commitments and obligations, while keeping the door open for further dialogue.”

“The Iran nuclear issue remains within the purview of the IAEA,” Sarna said. The resolution has won six weeks, before the March IAEA board meeting, for diplomatic efforts to continue and to get negotiations between the EU-3 and Iran back on track, he added.

“It also provides an opportunity for serious consideration of the Russian proposal for a joint venture with Iran for uranium enrichment,” Sarna said.

Iran reacted angrily after the vote, threatening to resume full-scale uranium enrichment. Diplomatic efforts will intensify to get Iran to accept the Russian proposal (by which Moscow will enrich Tehran’s nuclear fuel in Russia), which India has supported.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 16:52 IST