Western powers have warned Tehran that its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency is “significantly lacking” and “far short of the expectations”, following an agreement between the UN agency and Tehran last March.
The European Union expressed its concerns about the increasing risk of a nuclear proliferation crisis in the Middle East as a result of Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program.
Laura Holgate, US Ambassador to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and to the IAEA, told the Board of Governors of the IAEA meeting this week: “Iran’s level of cooperation remains significantly lacking overall, and far short of the expectations outlined by the Board in November.
Holgate pointed to a resolution passed by the Board of Governors in November condemning Iran’s behavior and calling for “immediate and urgent” cooperation.
In March, the Director of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, announced that an agreement was reached with Iran for cooperation and the re-installation of surveillance cameras. But since then, Tehran has only allowed the agency to install surveillance cameras at one site and surveillance equipment at two, which Grossi described as “slow progress.”
The US ambassador also expressed her concern about the increase in Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium by 60 percent, saying: “No other country in the world today utilizes uranium enriched to 60 percent for the purpose Iran claims. We again call on Iran to end this deeply troubling activity that runs counter to the behavior of all other states worldwide. Iran argues it is unfairly targeted by others. The reality remains that Iran continues to single itself out through its own actions. Iran should cease its nuclear provocations that pose grave proliferation risks.”
France, Britain and Germany, issued a statement expressing similar concern, and stressed that there was no “civilian justification” for enriching uranium at such a high rate.
“The risk of a nuclear proliferation crisis in the region has further increased as a result of Iran’s escalating nuclear trajectory. The EU remains committed to the JCPOA. We regret that Iran has not made the necessary decisions and not taken the necessary steps. On the contrary, it continues to significantly escalate its nuclear program,” the statement read.
It added: “Iran’s actions, which have no credible civilian justification in Iran’s declared nuclear program, carry very significant proliferation-related risks. These actions, which raise grave concerns about Iran’s intentions, include continued and accelerated accumulation of enriched uranium, far beyond JCPOA thresholds for quantity and level of enrichment, including a sharp rise of material at 20%, as well as at 60% which is of particular proliferation concern. The stockpile of HEU enriched at up to 60 per cent has increased by almost 30% since the last quarterly report.”
For his part, the European Union ambassador in Vienna, Stephan Klement, warned of the increasing risk of a nuclear proliferation crisis in the Middle East as a result of Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program.
He said on Twitter that the EU “strongly urges Iran to reverse its alarming nuclear trajectory. We call on Iran to return immediately to its non-proliferation commitments...”