Iran Nuclear NewsIran drops bid for seat on UN atomic agency...

Iran drops bid for seat on UN atomic agency board: diplomats

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AFP: Iran withdrew Thursday its bid for a seat on one of the key policy-making bodies of the UN atomic watchdog because it was unable to secure consensus backing for its candidacy, diplomats said.

VIENNA (AFP) — Iran withdrew Thursday its bid for a seat on one of the key policy-making bodies of the UN atomic watchdog because it was unable to secure consensus backing for its candidacy, diplomats said.

The appointment of new board members is one of the key agenda items of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual general conference, with 11 seats up for grabs this year.

Next to the general conference — which brings together all 151 IAEA member states once a year — the 35-member board of governors is the IAEA’s other main policy-setting body.

It has the power to refer issues to the UN Security Council if member states flout their safeguards agreements, as it did in the case of Iran in 2006.

According to the complicated allocation procedure, six regional groups are allotted a specific number of seats. And this year, two positions were open to the so-called MESA (Middle East and South Asia) group of which Iran is a member.

Diplomats said that Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Iran had all eyed a seat, but Tehran decided to drop out when it emerged that it would not be able to secure sufficient support.

The assembly subsequently approved the allocation of the two seats to Jordan and the UAE.

Iran’s candidacy would certainly have run into fierce opposition from Western countries given the fact that the IAEA has been investigating the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme for the past eight years.

The West accuses Iran of covertly seeking the bomb, a charge which Tehran vehemently denies.

Two years ago, Syria was also dropped a bid for a seat on the board in the face of Western opposition, because it, too, is under investigation by the IAEA.

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