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Iran accuses IAEA of endangering nuclear scientists' lives

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Reuters

Iran has accused the United Nations of endangering its nuclear scientists’ lives and threatened legal action after Friday’s vote by the UN’s nuclear watchdog against its nuclear programme. And it says it will boycott next week’s forum of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


The UN will be held responsible for the deaths of scientists working on the Iranian nuclear programme, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, told journalists on Friday.

The scientists’ names are listed in an appendix to the IAEA’s latest report and, although it is in theory confidential, the report has been widely leaked to journalists in the US.

Three Iranian scientists have been murdered in the last year, Soltaniye said, accusing the Israeli and US secret services of targeting them and declaring that IAEA chief Yukiya Amano of being personally responsible for the publication.

Iran, which insists that its programme is peaceful, also announced that it will not attend a forum on a nuclear-free Middle East to be held next week.

The IAEA board of governors voted for the resolution, with Indonesia abstaining and Cuba and Ecuador against.

It said that the IAEA report made it "essential for Iran and the Agency to intensify
their dialogue" and called on Tehran "to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council".

But, because of Russia’s and China’s misgivings, it gave no timeframe for Iran to comply.

In New York, the UN General Assembly voted 106 to nine, with 40 abstentions, for Iran to “cooperate” in the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.

Washington’s strategy of turning Iran into an international pariah is working, argued US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. "It is the case I think, that the isolation that Iran is undergoing right now... really is unprecedented," he said in Indonesia on the final day of President Barack Obama's Pacific tour. "They see themselves wholly isolated.”

Iran must answer the IAEA report’s questions, said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. "The secretary general remains deeply concerned about unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program, including those which need to be clarified to exclude possible military dimensions," said UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.