VIENNA: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday passed a resolution critical of Iran as tension mounts over its nuclear programme.
The board of governors at the UN’s nuclear watchdog passed the resolution put forward by European states and urged Iran to allowed inspectors from the IAEA to access two sites in Iran to clarify whether any undeclared nuclear activity took place there in the early 2000s.
The resolution is the first of its kind since 2012 and calls on Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA and requests without any further delay including providing prompt access to the specified locations.
Iran has been blocking access to the sites for months. The resolution was carried by 25 votes in favour versus two against. There were seven abstentions including South Africa, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Niger.
Russia and China, both of which had spoken out against the prospect of a resolution earlier this week, voted against the resolution. The resolution was proposed by France, Germany and Britain, and supported by the United States.
Iranian envoy said the move will not encourage Tehran to grant IAEA access to two sites. Iran’s Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Kazem Gharib Abadi said the meeting that the resolution will not “encourage Iran to grant access to the Agency based on fabricated and unfounded allegations”.
“Iran categorically deplores this resolution and will take appropriate action in response, the repercussions of which would be upon the sponsors of this resolution,” he added.
After the resolution was passed, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said: “While stressing the need for Tehran and IAEA to settle this problem without delay, we believe that the resolution can be counterproductive.”
The sites are not thought to be directly relevant to Iran’s current nuclear program but the IAEA wants to know if activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.
The IAEA said it still has the access it needs to inspect Iran’s declared nuclear facilities, as per its mandate under the landmark deal between Iran and world powers reached in 2015.
The latest dispute comes as that deal further unravels, with Iran continuing to breach its limits on nuclear activity in retaliation to a US withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and renewed sanctions.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said it would be “absolutely unacceptable” if an example were to be set that states can be selective in their implementation of agreements with the UN agency.
“There are no exceptions. There is no Additional Protocol a la carte,” Grossi said, adding that he intend to sit down with Iran very soon and to try to solve this as soon as possible