Iran calls UN nuclear watchdog resolution ‘hasty, unwise’ | United Nations News


IAEA board passed a resolution criticising Iran and urging it to step up cooperation with the United Nations watchdog.

Iran has denounced a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors to pass a resolution criticising Tehran as “hasty and unwise”, Iranian State TV reported.

The UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation board of governors passed a resolution on Wednesday calling on Iran to step up cooperation with the watchdog and reverse its recent barring of inspectors.

“The decision of the Western countries was hasty and unwise, and it will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on the process of diplomatic engagement and constructive cooperation [between Iran and the opposing parties]”, state TV cited Iran’s mission to the United Nations as saying.

The motion brought by Britain, France and Germany – but opposed by China and Russia – at the IAEA board is the first of its kind since November 2022.

It comes amid an impasse over Iran’s escalating nuclear activities and as Western powers fear Tehran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, a claim Iran has consistently denied.

The resolution was carried by 20 votes in favour – including the United States, which initially was reluctant for fear of aggravating Middle East tensions – with 12 abstentions and one country not participating, three diplomats told the AFP news agency.

Although symbolic in nature at this stage, the censure motion aims to raise diplomatic pressure on Iran, with the option to potentially refer the issue to the UN Security Council.

Tehran had already threatened “a serious and effective response” and called the censure motion “devoid of any legal, technical and political basis”.

In the past, similar resolutions have prompted Tehran to retaliate by removing surveillance cameras and other equipment from its nuclear facilities and ratcheting up its uranium enrichment activities.

The IAEA has said that Tehran has significantly ramped up its nuclear programme and now has enough material to build several atomic bombs.

During the debates at the IAEA board of governors that began on Monday in Vienna, European powers denounced Iran’s expansion of its nuclear programme “to alarming levels” as “unprecedented for a state without a nuclear weapons programme”.

‘Strong and renewed message’

According to the IAEA, Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state to enrich uranium to the high level of 60 percent – just short of weapons-grade – while it keeps accumulating large uranium stockpiles.

The resolution sent “a strong and renewed message of support” for the IAEA’s efforts to address the issue, Britain, France and Germany, known as the E3, said in a statement.

“The Board will not sit idly by when Iran challenges the foundations of the non-proliferation system and undermines the credibility of the international safeguards regime,” they added.

“We hope Iran takes this opportunity to resolve these outstanding matters so that no further Board action is necessary.”

Iran has gradually broken away from its commitments under the nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015.

The landmark deal provided Iran with relief from Western sanctions in exchange for curbs on its atomic programme, but it fell apart after the unilateral withdrawal of the US under then-President Donald Trump in 2018.

Efforts to revive the deal have so far failed.

In a joint statement quoted Wednesday by Iran’s official news agency IRNA, Tehran, Moscow and Beijing called on “Western countries to show political will … and take the necessary steps to resume the implementation” of the 2015 deal.

But the US rejected that assertion, saying Iran refused an accord when it was possible and “continued with activities that negated the chance for that deal, and now makes baseless statements to obfuscate the history”.

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