Iran has expressed its `displeasure` to the Sri Lankan government about its decision to vote in favour of a resolution against it at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency last week in Vienna, amidst intense pressure from the US on Colombo.
The Sunday Times learns that the Iranian government`s message had been conveyed through its mission in Colombo to the government this week.
The resolution presented by the US and its European allies before the 35-member board of governors of the IAEA sought to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.
Sri Lanka along with 27 other countries including India voted in favour of the resolution while only three countries ? Cuba, Syria and Venezuela voted against the resolution. South Africa was among five African nations which abstained.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Colombo defending Sri Lanka`s position to vote in favour of the resolution said that contrary to previous attempts the resolution was calling on referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear programme, and not impose sanctions.
?The resolution was far from imposing sanctions and therefore the government decided to support it,? the spokesperson said. Sri Lanka maintains close relations with Iran and its government last year offered a US $ 150 million creditline to Sri Lanka.
Immediately before the IAEA meeting, US Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns who was in Colombo canvassed for the support of Sri Lanka when he met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera while US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also raised the issue with Mr. Samaraweera during his visit to the US in December last year.
Meanwhile JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva has written to President Rajapaksa protesting about its decision of voting with the US against a friendly country.