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U.N. Nuclear Agency Sets October Deadline for Iran

Iran’s delegation to the United Nations walked out of the meeting in protest to the decision, saying Tehran would have to review its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Associated Press reported.

“We will have no choice but to have a deep review of our existing level and extent of engagement with the agency vis-a-vis this resolution,” Iranian envoy to the United Nations in Vienna Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement.

Salehi added he viewed the IAEA decision as part of an effort by the United States to control the region.

“At present, nothing pervades their appetite for vengeance short of confrontation and war,” his statement said. “It is no secret that the current U.S. administration, or at least its influential circle, entertains the idea of invasion of yet another territory, as they aim to re-engineer and re-shape the entire Middle East region.”

American officials reportedly welcomed the resolution, saying they hoped it would force Iran to cooperate with the United Nations.

“This time we hope there’s not going to be a way to escape because this resolution is really tightening the noose on them” to cooperate, an unnamed American official told the Reuters news service.

Australia, Canada and Japan submitted the U.S.-backed resolution that asked Iran to “provide accelerated cooperation” with the U.N. effort to clear up questions regarding nuclear activity.

An Aug. 26 report by the IAEA said the agency had found traces of weapons-grade uranium at an enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran. The finding prompted concerns that Iran was developing an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran officials have consistently denied.

Iranian authorities have said their nuclear efforts are solely for generating electricity, saying the enriched uranium contamination was a result of the work by the previous owner of the equipment.

The resolution passed Friday does not list specific consequences if Iran does not comply, but diplomats at the meeting said they would refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council if Tehran is unable to show compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bans the spread of nuclear arms.

In addition to requesting Iran “provide accelerated cooperation and full transparency” with the IAEA, the resolution also calls on Tehran to “remedy all failures identified by the agency” by declaring all of its material and components used to enrich uranium and granting unrestricted access to agency inspectors.

According to the AP, the resolution also calls on Iran to ensure there are no further failures to report material facilities and activities that Iran is obliged to report to the IAEA and to suspend all further uranium enrichment-related activities, including those at Natanz.