Iran, he said, “will never ever suspend our [uranium] enrichment,” one of the elements of Iran’s nuclear program that is progressing and that worries the international community.
But Secretary Clinton made clear in her comments after the resolution’s adoption that the US plans to use the IAEA vote to spur the world on to increased pressure on Iran to alter its course.
“In the coming weeks we will work with our international partners to increase the pressure on Iran’s government until it decides to meet its international obligations,” she said.
Other Western leaders spoke with similar certainty about prospects for additional pressure on Iran if it does not respond to the IAEA demands for explanations.
“If Iran refuses to comply with her international obligations – very clearly reiterated again today – we shall, along with all of our partners, adopt sanctions on an unprecedented scale,” said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
But few diplomatic experts believe that Russia and China – both of which have already rejected the need for additional economic sanctions on Iran – are hinting at any change of heart with their “aye” votes on the IAEA resolution Friday.
For one thing, the resolution, despite its strong words of concern, does not lay the groundwork for any international action. For example, the IAEA could have referred Iran to the UN Security Council, the international body that can impose punitive measures, but it did not take that step.
Some say the resolution adopted Friday does not even set a deadline for Iran to respond to the IAEA’s concerns, but Mr. Juppé argues that it does. He calls a “clear deadline” the Board of Governors’ directive to the IAEA’s director general, Yukiya Amano, to report back to the Board on Iran’s response at its next meeting in early March.