U.S. Envoy Walks Out of Nuclear Meeting After Iran Accuses Israel of Genocide

Canada and Australia Also Leave U.N. Watchdog Session in Disgust

By Reuters

Published March 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nuclear watchdog stormed out of an agency meeting on Wednesday in protest when Iran’s representative accused Israel of “genocide”, diplomats said

Officials from Canada and Australia also left the closed-door meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 35-nation governing board when Iran’s Ali Asghar Soltanieh made his statement during a debate on Syria, they said.

Soltanieh was not immediately available for comment. Iran has often criticised Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. It has also said Israel would be wiped “off the face of the earth” if the Jewish state attacked it.

U.S. envoy Joseph Macmanus’ walk-out highlighted tensions with Tehran a few hours after he accused the Islamic Republic of a “commitment to deception, defiance, and delay” in addressing IAEA concerns about possible nuclear weapons-related research.

The European Union also used the meeting to call on Iran to stop obstructing an IAEA investigation and give the agency access to sites and documents, regardless of broader talks between Iran and world powers that resumed last week.

Some diplomats say Iran is using its meetings with the IAEA merely for leverage in negotiations with world powers which, unlike the U.N. agency, have the power to ease sanctions that they have recently tightened on the major oil producer.

“Iran is inviting further isolation, pressure and censure from the international community … until it meets its obligations and addresses the board’s concerns,” Macmanus said.

During the debate on Iran, which happened before the board turned its attention to Syria, Soltanieh said the allegations over his country’s nuclear work were “baseless” and suggested the IAEA, not Tehran, was to blame for the failure so far to revive the stalled inquiry.

Macmanus accused Iran of “provocative actions”, particularly the installation of advanced centrifuges that would enable it to speed up its uranium enrichment.

Western countries fear Iran is enriching uranium to develop the capacity to build nuclear weapons and have imposed several rounds of sanctions. Iran says the programme is legitimate and intended for purely peaceful purposes.

COOPERATION

Israel - widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal - says Tehran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and has threatened pre-emptive strikes if it deems diplomacy ultimately futile.

Yukiya Amano, the 65-year-old Japanese diplomat appointed to a second four-year term as head of the IAEA on Wednesday [ID: nL6N0BY2X] said he his aim was to help resolve the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means.

“For that I need cooperation from Iran,” he told reporters.

The Vienna-based IAEA has been trying for more than a year to persuade Iran to give it the access it says it needs for its investigation, so far without progress.

Iran has refused IAEA requests to visit the Parchin military site, where inspectors suspect explosives tests relevant for nuclear weapons development took place, possibly a decade ago.

Iran says it first needs to agree with the IAEA on how the inquiry is to be conducted before allowing any Parchin visit.

Last week, six world powers resumed talks with Iran aimed at finding a diplomatic settlement to a decade-old dispute that threatens to trigger a new Middle East war. The only progress was an agreement to hold more talks.

The United States, China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany offered modest relief from economic sanctions in return for Iran scaling back its most sensitive nuclear activity.

Iran called the talks a potential “turning point” but Western officials were more cautious, merely describing the meeting as “useful”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.