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IAEA Board Passes Resolution Chiding Iran on Uranium Trace

IAEA Board Passes Resolution Chiding Iran on Uranium Trace

Thursday, 9 June, 2022 - 05:30
FILE - An inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency sets up surveillance equipment, at the Uranium Conversion Facility of Iran, just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, Aug. 8, 2005. (AP Photo/Mehdi Ghasemi, ISNA, File )

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency that includes 35 members has made an overwhelming majority vote to criticize Iran for a lack of cooperation with the UN nuclear inspectorate.

The resolution on Wednesday criticized Iran for failing to explain uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

Only two countries, Russia and China, opposed the text while 30 voted in favor and three – Libya, Pakistan and India - abstained.

The text says the board "expresses profound concern" the traces remain unexplained due to insufficient cooperation by Iran and calls on Iran to engage with the watchdog "without delay".

“We are not taking this action to escalate a confrontation for political purposes. We seek no such escalation,” said US Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate in a statement delivered at the board meeting in Vienna.

“The Board of Governors has a responsibility to take appropriate action in support of the Director General, the Secretariat, and the international safeguards regime to hold Iran accountable to its safeguards obligations. Iran must cooperate with the IAEA to allow it to fulfill its verification and monitoring mandate without further delay.”

Asked whether the IAEA decision would affect the talks held in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a Western diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the negotiations have been deadlocked since March despite the efforts exerted by the European Union, which is acting as a mediator between Tehran and the US.

Iran turned off two surveillance devices Wednesday used by UN inspectors to monitor its uranium enrichment. The move appeared to be a new pressure technique just before the IAEA’s Board of Governors meeting.

After the vote, a joint statement from France, Germany, and the UK and the US said the censure “sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its safeguards obligations and provide technically credible clarifications on outstanding safeguards issues.”

Iran's Foreign Ministry criticized the censure as a “political, incorrect and unconstructive action.”

An Iranian official earlier warned IAEA officials that Tehran was now considering taking “other measures” as well.

“We hope that they come to their senses and respond to Iran’s cooperation with cooperation,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. “It is not acceptable that they show inappropriate behavior while Iran continues to cooperate.”

Meanwhile, Iran's state TV reported on Wednesday that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Tehran has presented a new proposal to Washington to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

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