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November 18, 2022 4:03 pm
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US, France, Germany, UK Welcome IAEA Resolution Calling for Iranian Cooperation with Nuclear Probe

avatar by Andrew Bernard

Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Eslami and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attend a news conference, in Tehran, Iran, September 12, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (US+E3) on Friday welcomed an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors resolution calling for Iran’s “urgent” cooperation with an IAEA probe into Iran’s undeclared nuclear sites. The US+E3 originally introduced the resolution on Thursday.

“This resolution was adopted in response to Iran’s insufficient cooperation with the IAEA on serious and outstanding issues relating to Iran’s legal obligations under its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Agreement,” the statement from the four countries said. “Iran must provide technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles identified at three undeclared locations in Iran and clarify the whereabouts of the related nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment.”

The resolution adopted on Thursday is the second such IAEA board of governor’s resolution on Iran this year. Thursday’s resolution is more specific  strongly worded than the first which was passed in June. Thursday’s resolution noted that further IAEA action may be needed so long as Iran fails to comply with its legal obligations.

In May, Iran described an IAEA report on the three undisclosed nuclear sites as “unfair” and the result of “pressure from the Zionists.”

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Iran’s failure to meet its nuclear obligations has remained a fundamental stumbling block for the Biden administration’s efforts to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018 – even as Iran’s suppression of domestic protests has led Robert Malley, US Special Envoy to Iran, to claim that return to the JCPOA is “not even on the agenda.”

In their joint statement introducing the resolution in Vienna on Thursday, the US+E3 said that Iran was using the JCPOA as a distraction from its NPT obligations. “As in the past, Iran has argued that any Board action under this item may undermine our efforts to restore the JCPOA. It is Iran that has undermined these efforts by seeking to politicize its safeguards obligations, and so the Board can support diplomacy by underscoring its absolute support for the Agency in carrying out its vital mandate,” they said.

The IAEA’s Director General Rafael Grossi said on twitter on Wednesday that he still plans to have a technical meeting with Iran by the end of November to address the NPT safeguards issues, however the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, had earlier told Iranian state media that the trip was no longer scheduled and that he rejected the draft board of governors resolution.

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