image Photo: Reuters

IAEA set to reproach Iran

The United States, France, Britain and Germany are pushing for the Board of Governors of the International Energy Agency (IAEA) to rebuke Iran for failing to answer longstanding questions on uranium traces at undeclared sites.

By Erin Viner

The latest developments come on the heels of a snap visit to Jerusalem by IAEA Director General Dr. Rafael Grossi for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

A draft of a resolution “calls upon Iran to act on an urgent basis to fulfil its legal obligations and take up immediately the (IAEA) Director General’s offer of further engagement to clarify and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues,” reported Reuters after reviewing the text.

While it was not specified who submitted the proposal, two diplomats said it was the US and the E3 countries of France, Britain and Germany.

The meeting of the 35-nation board UN nuclear watchdog Board of Governors opens today. While the draft has likely undergone some amendments, the member states could either adopt it unopposed or put it to a vote.

If passed, Islamic Republic -which traditionally denounces such action – is likely to be infuriated, which could consequently further damage prospects of resuming efforts to salvage the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Indirect talks in Vienna on restoring the salvaging the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers have repeatedly stalled and not convened since March.

Until now, Western powers had held off submitting a draft resolution to previous IAEA quarterly meetings to avoid exacerbating tensions with Iran, but the international community – particularly Israel – believe the pace of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development program is close to being able to produce weapons.

The issue has now reached a boiling point after the IAEA revealed last week that Iran has still refused to provide credible answers on the particles found at three mainly old but undeclared sites – despite having agreed to do so three months ago.

Tehran has already cautioned the IAEA board against issuing a critical statement.

“We will naturally respond in a strong and appropriate manner to any unconstructive action,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was cited as saying by the ministry’s Telegram channel.

Echoing the Ayatollah regime’s repeated insistence that, “Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful,” Khatibzadeh warned that, “Those using the (IAEA) Director General’s report as a political tool and means of pressure against Iran will be solely responsible for the ensuing consequences.”