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Led by European nations, UN’s IAEA votes to censure Iran over lack of cooperation, fears of proliferation

Despite initial resistance, US joins Europe in calling on Iran to fully cooperate with the UN agency

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi waits for the start of a meeting of the agency's 35-nation Board of Governors in Vienna, Austria, June 3, 2024 (Photo: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger).

Following a warning by International Atomic Energy Agency Dir.-Gen. Rafael Grossi to the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday, the UN body passed a resolution on Wednesday calling for Iran to increase cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. 

While the United States government, under President Joe Biden, had resisted taking a stronger stance before the vote, the U.S. joined its European partners in passing the resolution. 

According to a Reuters report, the U.S. was concerned Iran might choose to escalate the situation, including possibly through its proxies involved in the Gaza War. 

However, three countries – the United Kingdom, France and Germany – all indicated their intention to push for censure during the week-long Board of Governors meetings in Vienna, Austria on Monday. 

“The need for the Board to hold Iran accountable to its legal obligations is long overdue. Iran must urgently, fully and unambiguously co-operate with the Agency,” the three nations said in a statement to the board, explaining their resolution. 

The resolution, which calls on Iran to increase collaboration and reverse its decision to bar inspectors from certain sites, passed with 20 votes in favor, two votes against and 12 abstentions. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to the passing of the resolution with a statement on social media welcoming “the important decision” of the IAEA. 

In his speech to the Board of Directors on Monday, Grossi said that “Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium continues to increase, including that enriched up to 60%.” 

He also spoke about his concerns about nuclear proliferation in the region, given “public statements” made by Iranian leaders regarding nuclear weapons. 

“Further public statements made in Iran regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons and possible changes to Iran’s nuclear doctrine only increase my concerns about the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations,” he said.

Besides calling for cooperation, the new resolution calls on Iran to give an official explanation for the presence of uranium at the two sites which had not been declared as part of Iran’s civilian nuclear energy project. 

Grossi specifically mentioned the sites of Varamin and Turquzabad, where uranium particles had been discovered and for which Iran has provided no explanation.

The presence of illicit nuclear materials at the two sites was exposed by Israel's 2018 Mossad operation to locate and seize secret Iranian nuclear files from a warehouse in Shirobad, in Tehran. 

Shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the trove of documents collected in a special press briefing on April 30, 2018, then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Cooperative Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal.

The JCPOA, initiated by President Barack Obama in 2015, is an international agreement aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Netanyahu had reportedly warned Obama about Iran’s nuclear program and expressed his doubts that the JCPOA deal would significantly change the regime's nuclear ambitions.

It is widely believed that Netanyahu’s unveiling of the Iranian nuclear documents was aimed at convincing Trump to withdraw from the deal, which he did nearly one week later. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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