The United States on Saturday hailed a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog to refer Iran to the Security Council and thanked India for backing Washington’s bid to isolate Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.
"This is a significant step forward in the international effort to isolate Iran and it’s also a significant setback for Iran’s nuclear strategy,” said U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns in a conference call with reporters.
Earlier on Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board in Vienna passed the resolution, requiring Iran to be reported to the U.N. Security Council at an unspecified date for failing to convince the agency its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.
Before the IAEA vote, India had lined up with Russia, China, South Africa and some other countries in indicating it would not support the resolution.
But India changed its mind and voted for the resolution. China, Russia and South Africa were among 12 countries that abstained. Venezuela was the only country to vote against it.
"That (India’s vote) was a blow to Iran’s attempt to turn this into a developed world versus a developing world debate,” said Burns. “We are very grateful for India’s support.”
The IAEA passed the resolution despite Tehran’s threats to begin enriching uranium if the European- and U.S.-backed resolution against Tehran was passed.
Twenty-two countries voted for the resolution, which was a watered down version of a draft put forward earlier by European powers France, Germany and Britain—the so-called EU3 -- which wanted Tehran reported to the council immediately rather than at an unspecified date.
The EU3 and Washington had called for a very strong resolution as they fear that Iran is well on the road to creating a nuclear weapon. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.