A new resolution censuring Iran over insufficient cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been passed by the nuclear watchdog’s board of governors despite objections by Tehran.
Introduced by the United States, and the E3 – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – the resolution on Thursday called on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation into traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites, diplomats at the vote said.
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The agency and the West have repeatedly called on Iran to provide thorough explanations on traces of man-made nuclear particles found at several Iranian sites in 2018, and for it to fully reinstate agency monitoring capabilities.
This is the second such resolution against Tehran as another – also introduced by the US and E3 – was passed in June, with only China and Russia objecting to it.
Iran took down a number of agency cameras after that resolution, adding to the cameras it had taken down when the US unilaterally reneged on the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. But the US abandoned it in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions. Talks to restore the deal began in April 2021 but have again stalled in recent months.
Iran has maintained the case of the IAEA probe into nuclear particles needs to be closed before any agreement on restoring the JCPOA can be finalised. It restarted talks with the agency in late September.
In a statement earlier on Thursday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani condemned the resolution, linking it with the country’s continuing protests without directly mentioning them.
With the resolution, he said the US and EU are trying to “take advantage of recent conditions, strictly with the motivation and goal of exerting political pressure on Iran”.
Kanani claimed there is “no credible technical reason or safeguards urgency” to back the resolution, and said its passing would negatively affect future Iranian relations with the agency.
Speaking to reporters after the first day of the Board of Governors meetings on Wednesday, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi rejected Iranian claims that the agency has been politicised and said Tehran needs to “start delivering something”.
On Wednesday, Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami also condemned the tabling of the resolution and suggested it could affect future talks with the agency.
“If they had goodwill and wanted to continue the talks, naturally they wouldn’t table a resolution of these dimensions,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
In what appeared to be an early Iranian response to the resolution, Eslami also said the planned visit by the IAEA to Tehran that the agency had announced last week “is, for now, not on the agenda”.
Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian had told local reporters on Wednesday prior to the resolution that the US is acting “hypocritically” about the nuclear deal as it publicly says the nuclear talks are no longer a priority amid Iran’s protests, but continues to send messages privately.
“Our latest exchange of messages took place in less than the previous 72 hours. The Americans send messages to us through some foreign ministers that they are in a hurry for the JCPOA,” he said.
“Their goals are very clear; they want to put us under pressure so we would cross our red lines in the negotiations. But what matters to us in the exchange of messages and in the negotiations are the national interests of our dear people and we will not violate this, but we will strongly continue our work in the negotiations to lift the sanctions.”