- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

The majority of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted Friday to censure Iran for defying orders to curb its nuclear program, drawing praise from the White House.

“Today’s overwhelming vote … demonstrates the resolve and unity of the international community with regard to Iran’s nuclear program,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “It underscores broad consensus in calling upon Iran to live up to its international obligations and offer transparency in its nuclear program.”

The board has representatives from 34 countries, and 25 of them voted in favor of the resolution to censure Iran.

The resolution —backed by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — censures Iran for secretly building a uranium-enrichment facility and demands that construction stop immediately.

Mr. Gibbs said the vote “also underscores a commitment to strengthen the rules of the international system, and to support the ability of the IAEA and U.N. Security Council to enforce the rules of the road, and to hold Iran accountable to those rules.

“Indeed, the fact that 25 countries from all parts of the world cast their votes in favor shows the urgent need for Iran to address the growing international deficit of confidence in its intentions.”

The resolution also says the agency cannot confirm Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful uses and stated “serious concern” about the nation possibly hiding a military nuclear program.

Mr. Gibbs said the U.S. supports efforts to help Iran use nuclear power is a positive way.

“The United States has strongly supported the [agency’s] director general’s positive proposal to provide Iran fuel for its Tehran Research Reactor — a proposal intended to help meet the medical and humanitarian needs of the Iranian people while building confidence in Iran’s intentions,” he said. “The United States has recognized Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy and remains willing to engage Iran to work toward a diplomatic solution to the concerns about its nuclear program, if — and only if — Iran chooses such a course.

“To date, Iran has refused a follow-up meeting to the Oct. 1 meeting with the P5+1 countries if its nuclear program is included on the agenda. Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out. If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences.”

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