Member states of the UN nuclear agency on Friday rejected an Iranian-backed Arab bid to single out Israel for criticism over its assumed atomic arsenal, in a diplomatic victory for Western powers that opposed the initiative.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna June 4, 2012. – Photo: Reuters

The debate and vote at an annual meeting of the 159-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) underlined divisions at a time when the United States and its allies are hoping for progress in a separate, decade-old nuclear dispute with Iran.