Iran plans to immediately carry out its threat to cut off cooperation with the world's atomic energy watchdog, an Iranian official said yesterday in the wake of a majority vote reporting the Islamic state to the UN Security Council.
"The Iranian government must now bring into force our law to suspend voluntary cooperation," Javad Vaidi, the deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said in Vienna minutes after the result was announced.
"Until now we have only been researching uranium enrichment; now we have to start full-scale production," he continued.
The 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) produced a clear majority in the vote, with 27 for, five abstentions and only three votes against.
"The IAEA board has just agreed to send a further strong message to Iran," said Peter Jenkins, Britain's ambassador to the IAEA. "Board members cannot understand why Iran is so determined to press on with its enrichment program."
"They have called for an immediate re-suspension of all enrichment activities and further confidence-building measures," he said.
Jenkins confirmed the council would do nothing until the IAEA's next board meeting on March 6.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei plans to send a new report to the council, plus a report that last September found Iran in violation of the agency's safeguards.
ElBaradei earlier called this grace period, insisted upon by Russia, a "window of opportunity" for Iran to regain international trust, and Jenkins reiterated this message after the vote.
The ambassador added, however, that Iran's threats seemed to suggest "it does not intend to heed the board's calls."
Iran broke the IAEA seals on equipment for enriching uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, in early January, but said that it was only for research and development purposes.
The nation repeatedly said in the run-up to the vote it would end all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA, including snap inspections under the additional protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty. Iran ratified the treaty in 1970, but not the protocol.
There was one chink of light, however, as Vaidi left the door open for continuing discussions with Russia, which has close business links with Iran, over the possibility of providing enriched uranium for the Islamic state.
Vaidi dismissed the IAEA vote as unrepresentative and prompted by the concerns of a few countries.
"This resolution is politically motivated," he said. "The lack of consensus clearly indicates that it isn't an international concern."
The US has long been calling for Iran to be referred, and their calls increased since ElBaradei's report last September.
The resolution accuses Iran of failing to cooperate fully with the IAEA, of concealing its nuclear program and of possessing a document related to the construction of nuclear-weapon components.