Iran warns against censure at UN nuclear watchdog

Iran warns against censure at UN nuclear watchdog
Iran warned against a planned resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog that seeks to condemn its suspension of some nuclear inspections.
3 min read
The Iranian flag flies outside the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna [AFP]

Iran warned Tuesday against a planned resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog which will condemn its suspension of some nuclear inspections, but stressed it remains committed to diplomacy.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed Tuesday that France, Britain and Germany will put forward a resolution at this week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors.

"I have to give this warning, that actions against our expectations will have adverse effects on diplomatic processes, and can quickly close the windows of opportunity," Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters.

Iran expects "all parties to act rationally and prudently, and to know the value of fleeting moments," he added. "We are still committed to diplomacy."

A document circulated by the Iranian mission in Vienna and seen by AFP said a resolution would effectively end a temporary agreement to mitigate the impact of the suspended inspections.

Restrictions on inspections went into force on February 23.

These followed a law passed by the Iranian parliament in December that called for suspending certain commitments if the US does not lift unilateral sanctions or the three European countries do not help Tehran to bypass those sanctions.

Under the agreement with the IAEA, that runs for up to three months, data from cameras on Iran's nuclear programme will be stored and not handed over to the agency, and if sanctions are not lifted by that time, Tehran will start erasing the recordings.

According to Rabiei, the agreement conveyed Iran's "goodwill", and now the Islamic republic expects other parties to the nuclear deal to "prove" theirs.

Diplomatic sources in Vienna say the European resolution is expected to face a vote on Friday, and that it is backed by the United States.

Speaking to a commission in the French parliament, Le Drian confirmed that Iran's inspections suspensions "will lead us in the coming days to lodge a complaint at the IAEA board of governor's meeting."

The 2015 landmark nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread since former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from it and reimposed punishing sanctions on Iran in 2018.

Current US President Joe Biden has signalled his readiness to revive the deal, but insists Iran first return to all its nuclear commitments, most of which it suspended in response to the sanctions.

Tehran demands Washington take the first step by scrapping the sanctions.

Iran on Sunday dismissed a European offer for an informal meeting involving the US on the deal, saying the time is not right as Washington has failed to lift sanctions.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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