The resolution, submitted by France, Britain and Germany, comes at a time when the United States is working to extend an arms embargo against Iran.
Diplomats attending the Friday meeting in Vienna were cited as saying that the resolution called on Iran to allow access to two former sites mentioned in two IAEA reports.
Iranian officials have said Tehran has responded to all outstanding questions about its nuclear activities and the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed it. The new questions, they say, have been raised based on information fabricated by Israel.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday regretted that the IAEA has chosen to ignore Tehran’s long history of cooperation, warning that a new resolution “would somehow complicate Iran’s cooperation with the agency”.
“They are opening a closed case. The basis for their allegations is the information that is claimed to have been obtained through espionage by the Zionist regime and [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Mousavi said.
China submitted a 5-page statement to the IAEA on Thursday, saying “The root causes of this situation lie in the unilateral and bullying practices of the US.”
China’s envoy Wang Qun said should the resolution pass, it could sound the death knell for the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries.
The Trump administration exited the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, but other signatories vowed to salvage it.
Washington is now working to extend a UN-imposed arms embargo due to expire in October under Tehran’s nuclear deal.
The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said this month that since the United States has already withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, it can’t now use its former membership of the pact to try to impose a permanent arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
“The United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, and now they cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement. They withdraw. It’s clear. They withdraw,” Borrell said.
European officials, however, have never seriously stood up to the US. They have already failed to take steps to ensure that Tehran benefit from the deal following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord in May 2018.
Making the situation worse, the US-backed resolution drafted by the three European powers calls on Iran to “fully cooperate” with IAEA requests to visit the two sites that the Israeli “information” claims may have hosted low-level atomic work two decades ago.
The resolution comes just after IAEA Director General Mariano Grossi said Monday that the agency “continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement”.
“To date, the Agency has not observed any changes to Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments in connection with this particular announcement, or in the level of cooperation by Iran in relation to Agency verification and monitoring activities under the JCPOA,” he said.
The agency has closed a dossier addressing “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Russia’s Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, also questioned the need for a resolution, saying the recent dispute between Iran and the IAEA should not be overdramatized.
“Deeply disappointed and concerned that #Tehran and the Secretariat are yet to resolve the issue of access to two locations in Iran that are of interest to the Agency,” Russian mission in Vienna quoted Ulyanov as saying in a post published on its official Twitter page.
“However, there are no reasons whatsoever to overdramatize the situation,” he added.
On Thursday, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharibabadi, said “no country will open its territory to the inspections” only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy.
“Possibly you may ask why Iran does not grant access to the two locations automatically. The answer is clear: as a matter of sovereignty, no country opens its territory to the inspections only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy, even if it is evident that the result of which will prove those allegations to be false,” the Iranian diplomat said.
“I would like to ask the Member States to put themselves in our shoes and see if they are ready simply to engage with the Agency every now and then based on unsubstantiated allegations made by their adversaries?!”
According to the IAEA’s 129-page 2019 Safeguards Implementation Report, Iran received the biggest part of the inspections that were carried out worldwide by the atomic organization’s inspectors, and the figure stood at 21 percent of the entire visits made to various nuclear sites.