Iran dares Trump, skips UN meet on nuclear energy
Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers may hang in the balance, but you wouldn’t know it at the United Nations conference on atomic energy held on Monday in the UAE.
Iran decided to skip the Abu Dhabi conference, leaving its seats empty as Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, avoided speaking about the nuclear deal at all in his address at the venue.
Iranian officials did not respond to a request for comment to discuss their decision to avoid the conference.
“This conference is open to all the countries and we welcome the participation of all the countries,” Amano said. “But of course it depends on each country whether to attend or not. I do not comment on Iran’s participation. It is (up to) Iran to decide.” Amano’s decision to avoid mentioning Iran earlier may have been tactical. He visited Tehran just the day before and told journalists that Iran still honoured the 2015 accord.
Both the UAE and neighboring Saudi Arabia remain highly suspicious of the nuclear deal, which saw econom- ic sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for it limiting its enrichment of uranium.
The two Gulf Arab countries say that new money flowing into Iran has aided its ability to back Shiite militias in Iraq and support embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. Also sharing that suspicion is Israel, which sent a delegation to the nuclear conference. The UAE, like many Arab countries, does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and remains opposed to its occupation of lands Palestinians want for a future state.
Conference organisers asked journalists not to film the Israeli delegation. The Iran nuclear deal, struck in 2015, now faces one of its biggest threats. President Donald Trump has declined to recertify the deal.