The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors voted 25-3 to censure Iran in a motion that gained rare backing from Russia and China, which have in the past blocked attempts to isolate Iran, a trade partner for both.
The U.S. envoy to the IAEA, Ambassador Glynn Davies, said in Vienna on Friday that international patience with Iran was running out and that “round after round” of fruitless talks could not continue.
Speaking to reporters in Washington later, the U.S. official said the vote showed “unity of purpose” among major international powers on Iran, and repeated that time was growing short for Tehran to come clean about a nuclear program that Western governments fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.”
The Washington Post reported Thursday on US efforts to secure China’s backing for the IAEA resolution:
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Two weeks before President Obama visited China, two senior White House officials traveled to Beijing on a “special mission” to try to persuade China to pressure Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.
If Beijing did not help the United States on this issue, the consequences could be severe, the visitors, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, both senior officials in the National Security Council, informed the Chinese.
The Chinese were told that Israel regards Iran’s nuclear program as an “existential issue and that countries that have an existential issue don’t listen to other countries,” according to a senior administration official. The implication was clear: Israel could bomb Iran, leading to a crisis in the Persian Gulf region and almost inevitably problems over the very oil China needs to fuel its economic juggernaut, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Earlier this week, the White House got its answer. China informed the United States that it would support a toughly worded, U.S.-backed statement criticizing the Islamic republic for flouting U.N. resolutions by constructing a secret uranium-enrichment plant.