By Dr. Davoud Hermidas Bavand, University
Professor and Iran-US Affairs Analyst
Source: Etemaad Newspaper; Translated By: Iran Review
There are many viewpoints as to the recent resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. From the viewpoint of those countries which voted in favor of the resolution, it aims to chide Iran because members of IAEA Board of Governors maintain that Iran has not accepted their demands for suspending uranium enrichment, closing down Fordo facility and allowing snap inspections by IAEA inspectors. The Western countries also believe that Iran has not cared for resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council on its nuclear activities. On the other hand, Mohamed ElBaradei's measure in working to pass an anti-Iranian resolution just three days before his term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency came to an end was also interesting. Some dispatches said that negotiations had taken place between ElBaradei and the British Foreign Office in the past weeks which led to an agreement between him and other 35 members of the Board.
In addition, the resolution has asked Iran to give the reason for launching new enrichment facilities which, as put by Western analysts, can be used for military purposes. At the same time, the resolution has called on Iran to inform IAEA of the decision to construct, or to authorize construction of, a new facility as soon as such a decision is taken. In fact, they have urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and discontinue what they call secret activities.
After voting, the resolution, which calls for suspension of activities at Iran's Fordo facility, was adopted through 25 ayes out of 35 member states of Board of Governors, six abstentions and three nays coming from Venezuela, Malaysia and Cuba. Of course, a negative vote from Venezuela and Cuba was somehow predictable, but the negative vote cast by Malaysia is noteworthy. Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey were six countries which abstained on the resolution which was drawn up by Western countries against Iran and representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan left the session at the time of voting.
Countries that voted positive for the anti-Iranian resolution include Argentina, Australia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, the United States and Uruguay. So, it is obvious that the majority of member states of IAEA have voted for the resolution.
Therefore, if this resolution is reported to the UN Security Council, we must expect more strict and new sanctions against Iran, which will be added to previous sanctions already in force against the country. I believe that it would be a positive step if Iran adopted a clear position toward the negotiations in Vienna. The point is that Iran has not yet given an official response to proposals forwarded to it by P5+1. Western countries had asked Iran to receive uranium enriched up to 20 percent for use as fuel at Tehran Research Reactor and, in return, send its low enriched uranium to another country. Tehran officials, however, have announced that swapping uranium should be done on the Iranian soil and differences between the viewpoints of the Western countries and Iran have led to the existing deadlock in the negotiations.
To break the deadlock, various mechanisms have been proposed. One of them is for Iran to gradually export its low enriched uranium and receive high enriched nuclear fuel instead. Turkey has also proposed that the Iranian officials can send the uranium to Turkey. This proposal was offered at a time that Tehran was not ready to send its uranium to Russia because officials in Tehran maintained that there was no guarantee that Moscow would comply with its obligations. Iranians have noted that Russia has already breached its past obligations on building Bushehr nuclear power plant and supplying Iran with S-300 missile system and, therefore, its goodwill with regard to nuclear fuel is under question. Since Iran is not ready to accept any basic agreement before receiving necessary guarantees, any negotiation should be held under conditions which would look attractive to Tehran officials. Of course, in view of the recent resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, achieving an agreement would be more difficult than before. The tone of member states of 5+1 shows that they are ready for a new round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the past few months, however, and during negotiations in Geneva and subsequent meetings in Vienna, the state of affairs was different and the new approach taken by the European countries calls for an independent analysis. China and Russia, which formerly opposed more sanctions against Iran, voted positive for the IAEA resolution and this has made analysts to conclude that they would also support a new sanction resolution which may be adopted by the United Nations Security Council in the near future.
Considering all these developments, diplomats are concerned that there is less room for negotiations and an opportunity for reaching a working agreement may be lost. The end of ElBaradei's term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency has cast more doubts on the future outlook of Iran's relations with IAEA because his Japanese successor, Yukio Amano, has stronger Western tendencies than ElBaradei and this may further affect the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries.
About Iran Review: Iran Review (www.iranreview.org) is the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website - organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran's political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.
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