Iran slams first IAEA board resolution since 2020

Update 1: Adds Iran’s reaction to resolution, updates title

Vienna, Jun 8 (EFE).- The 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a draft resolution criticizing Iran for its lack of transparency and cooperation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency.

The draft resolution text presented by the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany “expresses (the board’s) profound concern that the safeguards issues related to … three undeclared (uranium enrichment) locations remain outstanding due to insufficient substantive cooperation by Iran, despite numerous interactions with the agency.”

This is the first time since June 2020 that the Vienna-based IAEA has passed a draft resolution critical of Tehran, but the agency has not been able to clarify the origin of radioactive traces found at three undeclared Iranian nuclear enrichment sites and opted to respond on this matter.

Iran on Thursday slammed the resolution approved by the IAEA board of governors against it as “political” and “incorrect”, and said that it had taken “reciprocal practical steps,” including the installation of advanced centrifuges.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the adoption of the resolution presented by the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany at (the) meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a political, incorrect and unconstructive action,” the Iranian government said in a statement.

Tehran said it had “expressed its good faith in interacting with the IAEA by providing accurate technical information” to the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency.

“Iran is currently one of the most transparent peaceful nuclear programs among the IAEA member states,” the statement added, while warning that the resolution’s adoption “will only weaken the process of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.”

Tehran also announced that it had taken reciprocal steps due to the IAEA’s “non-constructive approach and the adoption of the above-mentioned resolution”, including the installation of advanced centrifuges and the deactivation of two IAEA monitoring cameras at a nuclear facility.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted on Wednesday that the country had responded to the resolution in a “firm and proportionate” manner.

The agency issued a call to Iran to comply with its “legal obligations,” referring to the agreement on safeguards for its nuclear program that Tehran signed with the IAEA.

In Wednesday’s vote on the resolution, 30 of the board’s 35 members voted in favor with only China and Russia voting against, while India, Pakistan and Libya abstained, diplomatic sources told EFE.

The resolution was presented after the most recent IAEA report on Iran in which the agency said that Tehran’s lack of transparency regarding its nuclear program makes it impossible for inspectors to provide guarantees that Iranian statements about its nuclear program are complete and correct.

Iran reacted in a preventive manner to the resolution, announcing a few hours before the vote that it would disconnect two IAEA monitoring cameras at one of its nuclear installation.

Tehran said that the radioactive traces, the origin of which the IAEA wants to determine, are due to sabotage – allegedly by Israel, Iran’s main enemy in the Middle East – but agency director general Rafael Grossi earlier this week called this explanation “not credible.”

Electronic monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities has been limited since February 2021, when Tehran decided to cut direct access to such data for IAEA inspectors.

Since then, data from cameras are only being stored on hard disks, which – if the 2015 JCPOA nuclear is restored at some future point – may be analyzed by inspectors to reconstruct Iran’s nuclear activities in the interim.

Iranian Atomic Energy Agency spokeperson Behruz Kamalvandi justified switching off the United Nations’ agency’s cameras by saying that the IAEA has not considered Tehran’s “good will” in cooperating with the agency, which Iran accuses of “having a political agenda.”

Kamalvandi, who personally supervised the switching off of the cameras, also warned that Iran could “take other measures” if the IAEA continues to demonstrate “inappropriate behavior.”

At the same time, the Iranian agency said that 80 percent of the IAEA’s cameras will continue to function at the nuclear sites.

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