Jeffrey LewisIAEA BoG Refers Iran … Kinda

The IAEA Board of Governors has voted in favor of a resolution that finds Iran’s noncompliance with its NPT obligations to be “within the competence of the Security Council,” but does not appear to refer the issue the Security Council … yet.

IAEA DG Mohamed ElBaradei described the issue as remaining in Vienna:

I think what I heard today at the Board is encouraging. Everyone acknowledged that the issue remains very much here in Vienna, that there is ample room here, still, for negotiations, that the issue has not been deferred to the Security Council and that a number of countries have indicated their readiness to work with Iran and with the European Union to try to find a way for Iran to go back into the negotiating process with the European Union.

Javad Vaidi, senior member of Iran’s delegation to the IAEA Board of Governors session, called the vote a failure for the West, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told ISNA that “Iran’s answer will be announced after the return of the Iranian team from Vienna and necessary reviews.”

Mark Landler cited diplomats in the New York Times saying Iranian officials showed them unsigned letters threatening to resume uranium enrichment at a plant in Natanz and withdraw from the Additional Protocol.


Mehr published the confidential vote (which squares with reports from Xinhua and Associated Press):

For GOV/2005/77 Against Abstain
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA Venezuela Algeria, Brazil, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen
22 1 12

The decision by India to vote with the US is notable, if only because Washington placed so much pressure on New Delhi. The Calcutta Telegraph has some backstory.

Late Update: Gearity is thoughtful, as usual.


  1. Scott Gearity (History)

    According to The Times of India, part of the US campaign to get the Indians on board was a classified briefing a few days before the IAEA vote. See,curpg-1,fright-0,right-0.cms

  2. Tom (History)

    Venezuela’s vote against lends a very slight amount of credibility to the reports that Chavez and Khatami have discussed the transfer of nuclear technology for Iran to Venezuela during Khatami’s visits to Caracas.

    And with regards to the Indian vote for that can be chalked up to enlightened self interest in the sense that the Indians hope to acquire more nuclear technology from the United States.

  3. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I think Venezuela’s vote has more to do with Chavez’ anti-Americanism than any effort by the Iranian nuclear technology.

  4. Tom (History)

    There’s no question that the anti-Americanism definitely ties into it but with both the volume and value of trade deals Venezuela and Iran are currently inking it goes a bit deeper than that I think.

    It also makes a modicum of sense if the reports that da Silva in Brazil rebuffed an inquiry by Chavez about transferring nuclear technology a couple of years ago.

    Admittedly, both those allegations are little better substantiated than outhouse rumour but given Chavez’s nature the desire on his part to lead Venezuela down that road is more than slightly plausible.

  5. Michael Roston (History)

    Oh, c’mon Jeffrey, you think there’s really just no credibility to the existence of a Cuba-Brazil-Venezuela western hemisphere axis of evil?

    Just remember, when the Iranian wrestlers visit Venezuela, they must be nuclear physicists in unitards.

  6. Tom (History)

    “Aaaaand in this corner, weighing in at two-hundred pounds, we have the sinister Doc Atom!”

    Discounting the patently absurd Al-Qaeda references in the above link there is a moderate amount of truth in the article. At least in regards to the DGI operating in Venezuela and the training of militias loyal to Chavez and Chavez alone.

    Leaving anything related to international relations or politics out of the equation Chavez is showing signs of blossoming into a full-blown plebicolist with the way he’s running Venezuela’s internal political scene. Having Venezuela pursue any form of a nuclear program… either civilian or military… doesn’t make a heck of a lot sense when looked at rationally but, when your dealing with a demagogue, logic need not necessarily apply.

    Frankly, it’s probably all a moot point given the social instability in Venezuela anyways. I sincerely doubt the political situation will be stable long enough for any sort of program to develop if indeed there really is a desire for one in the first place.

  7. Stephen Moore (History)

    “And with regards to the Indian vote for that can be chalked up to enlightened self interest in the sense that the Indians hope to acquire more nuclear technology from the United States.”

    And from Canada, too, it seems: yesterday, it was reported that the Canadian government is lifting its moratorium on nuclear cooperation with India, following the US lead: Globe story here.

    One Indian source makes a direct link to the vote on Iran: ‘India’s vote in favour of a West-backed resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) appears to be paying off with Canada agreeing to roll back bilateral sanctions on the export of dual use technology to India.’