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IAEA steps up pressure on Iran with condemnation of its nuclear defiance

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Only Cuba voted against this 12th IAEA resolution in a decade, with three countries abstaining. Universal big-power support was seen as critical by diplomats to convince Israel to allow diplomatic efforts to continue, instead of launching strikes in a bid to stop Iran's nuclear work

Stalled negotiations

The IAEA board resolution is the latest twist of Iran's nuclear saga. Negotiations between Iran and world powers have stalled after three rounds this year; UN, US, and EU sanctions have choked Iran's oil exports and business dealings.

And Canada last week withdrew its envoys from Tehran and closed the Iranian embassy on its soil, claiming the Islamic Republic to be the "most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today."

"This year, now, the Iranians are under pressure," says Shahram Chubin, a Geneva-based Iran specialist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, contacted in Paris.

"The Europeans have joined in, sanctions are biting, the rial [currency] is down, they have a domestic legitimacy problem since 2009, and the Arab Spring has left them extremely isolated regionally, because sectarian division is much more real than it was two to three years ago," says Mr. Chubin, author of "Iran's Nuclear Ambitions."

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