Sanctions against Iran will undermine IAEA: South Africa

February 16th, 2008 - 1:34 am ICT by admin  

Pretoria, Feb 7 (IANS) South Africa has voiced its concern over proposal of new UN sanctions against Iran and said any such step would undermine the credibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), BuaNews reported Thursday. The UN Security Council (UNSC) is due to discuss a draft resolution calling for stricter sanctions against Iran for its refusal to wind up a civil nuclear programme, which the West calls a decoy for making atomic bomb.

“We (the South African government) said in our preliminary comments that we are concerned about the potential impact of new punitive resolutions on Iran at a time when Iran is actively cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Foreign Affairs Chief Director for United Nations Political Affairs Xolisa Mabhongo told reporters in Pretoria Wednesday.

“There is optimism both in Iran and the IAEA that there will be more effort put into resolving the outstanding issues,” Mabhongo said.

South Africa is entering its second year as a non-permanent member of the UNS.

Mabongo said his government is examining the content of the UN draft but has conveyed its concerns in initial reactions to the Security Council.

South Africa’s decision, he said, would be guided by the need to protect the integrity of the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Nothing should be done that might undermine the progress in the implementation of the work plan agreed on by Iran and the IAEA, said Mabhongo.

The UNSC needs to consider and acknowledge the reality of the progress being made to resolve the nuclear issues in Iran, and also take note of the cooperation that Iran has given so far in order for the Security Council not to undermine its own credibility.

“South Africa has also approached the sponsors of the resolution to take note of the recent US National Intelligence Estimate…which has confirmed the absence of a current nuclear weapons programme in Iran,” he said.

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