Russia and China Block IAEA Statement
Russia and China have blocked IAEA from issuing a statement condemning Iran for defying UN Security Council resolutions demanding it end uranium enrichment and expand its cooperation with IAEA inspectors probing suspected nuclear weapon work in the country. The United States, Britain, France and Germany were seeking a joint statement of the 35-nation board of governors of IAEA. The Russians and Chinese were instead asking for a more moderate language on Iran. The board meeting was adjourned after three days of deliberations without issuing a resolution.
The inability of the IAEA meeting to produce a united front on Iran’s nuclear program undermines the effectiveness of the talks scheduled in the near future between the six powers and Iran and the possibility of a quick diplomatic solution to the standoff.
Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe expressed skepticism of the Western powers about Iran’s readiness to compromise over its nuclear program.
"I think Iran is continuing to use double speak," Juppe said. "That's the reason why we must remain extremely firm on the sanctions we have decided upon, which are from my point of view the best way to avoid a military option, which could have immeasurable consequences." [AP, 7 March].
Source: AP and Reuters, 7 March 2012