AJC Praises Ambassadors' Walkout on Iran's Israel Remarks at IAEA

Mar 07, 2013, 12:27 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC praised the U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for walking out of a meeting after Iran's ambassador accused Israel of "genocide."

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"Iran will not miss a chance to use any UN forum to lambast Israel," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "U.S. Ambassador Joseph Macmanus, and the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand envoys, demonstrated moral clarity in not sitting idle in the face of another threatening Iranian rant, which, at best, is aimed at diverting attention from Iran's quest for nuclear weapons capability, and, at worst, reinforces Tehran's strategic objective to eliminate another UN member state, Israel."

Canadian Ambassador John Barrett was chairing the IAEA Board meeting. "That's just a red line for us. We stood up and walked out," a Canadian official told the National Post.

The walkout by Macmanus, Barrett, Australian Ambassador David Stuart, and New Zealand Ambassador Philip Wallace Griffiths took place during the IAEA Board of Governors discussion of Iran's nuclear program. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano, who was reelected by the Board to a second term, reiterated his deep concerns that Tehran has not been cooperating fully with the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

Ambassador Macmanus accused Iran of a "commitment to deception, defiance, and delay" in addressing IAEA concerns. "Iran is inviting further isolation, pressure and censure from the international community."

The U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia met with Iran last month in Kazakhstan on the nuclear program, but, as with previous three rounds of talks, the meeting ended inconclusively with the only point of agreement to meet again.

At the 35-member IAEA Board meeting in Vienna, the European Union also called on Iran to stop obstructing the IAEA investigation of certain nuclear facilities in Iran. 

SOURCE American Jewish Committee