VIENNA: Western envoys gave Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations atomic agency a frosty welcome on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), saying Tehran’s new government should waste no time proving to the world that it does not want the bomb.
Speaking at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors, United States envoy Joseph Macmanus said Iran was refusing to comply with UN Security Council and IAEA resolutions demanding it suspend key parts of its nuclear program.
“In fact, Iran continues taking actions in direct contravention of its obligations to expand and deepen these prohibited programs,” Macmanus told the closed-door quarterly gathering in Vienna.
These include uranium enrichment, a process that lies at the heart of the international community’s worries about Iran’s activities since it could provide Tehran with material for the fissile core of a nuclear weapon.
“With a new president in office, and a new government in place under his leadership, Iran today has an opportunity to change its path from intransigence to cooperation, from obfuscation to transparency,” Macmanus said, according to the text of his remarks.
Lithuania’s IAEA representative meanwhile said in a statement on behalf of the European Union (EU) that the IAEA’s latest regular report on Iran last month that showed a continued expansion “further aggravates our deep concerns.”
Edvilas Raudonikis said that the EU wanted a “comprehensive, negotiated, long-term settlement, which would build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, while respecting Iran’s legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”
The election in June of Hassan Rowhani as Iranian president, replacing the more hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has created some hope of a diplomatic solution to the deadlock after a decade of trying.