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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IAEA Iran and Israel

But frustration among Muslim countries over Israel's refusal to put its nuclear program under international purview, and resistance from Israel to Muslim pressure on the issue, threatens to force a vote for the third year running. Muslim IAEA members were expected to put forward a resolution urging all Mideast nations to refrain from testing or developing nuclear arms and urging nuclear weapons states "to refrain from any action" hindering a Mideast nuclear-free zone.

After losing this vote two consecutive years, Islamic nations are threatening to up the ante this year, warning they will call for a ballot on every item, no matter how uncontroversial, unless they get conference backing on the Israeli nuclear issue. Arab members - backed by Iran - this year have again asked conference organizers to include an item on Israel - a move being protested by Israel. Focusing on Israel by name "is substantially unwarranted and flawed," said a letter prepared for review by the conference from Israel Michaeli, the Jewish state's IAEA representative. Sponsors of the item should instead "address the most pressing proliferation concerns in the Middle East," the letter said, an allusion to Iran's defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusal to stop uranium enrichment.


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