Iran snubs ‘useless’ UN Mideast atomic forum | Pakistan Today

Iran snubs ‘useless’ UN Mideast atomic forum

Iran angrily stayed away Monday from a UN atomic agency forum on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, amid growing tensions over Tehran’s suspected efforts to develop the bomb. Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Tehran’s decision was its “first reaction” to the body’s “inappropriate” recent report on its nuclear programme. That assessment saw the IAEA come the closest yet to accusing Iran outright of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran, hit by four rounds of UN sanctions, says its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes. On Friday, the IAEA’s board of governors passed a resolution of “deep and increasing concern” submitted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and 12 others in light of the report. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak meanwhile provided an ominous response Sunday when asked about growing speculation of a military strike. The IAEA report “has a sobering impact on many in the world, leaders as well as the publics, and people understand that the time has come,” he told CNN.

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