Europeans submit draft resolution on Iran to IAEA board

By Thomson Reuters Jun 3, 2024 | 4:59 PM

By Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters) – Britain, France and Germany have submitted a wide-ranging draft resolution against Iran to the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors for it to be voted on later this week, the text seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

The text follows a resolution passed 18 months ago ordering Tehran to urgently comply with an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation into uranium traces found at undeclared sites in Iran. It calls on Iran to cooperate without delay, including by letting the IAEA take samples.

It also goes further, addressing problems that have arisen more recently, such as Iran’s barring of many of the IAEA’s top uranium-enrichment experts on the inspection team. It calls on Iran to reverse that step and implement a March 2023 joint statement that the IAEA saw as a sweeping pledge of cooperation.

“(The Board) Calls on Iran to provide sufficient cooperation with the Agency and take the essential and urgent actions as decided by the Board in its November 2022 resolution, to resolve safeguards issues which remain outstanding despite numerous interactions with the Agency since 2019,” the text said.

Since that 2022 resolution the number of sites being investigated over the uranium traces has fallen to two from three but Iran still has not explained how the traces got there, which the IAEA refers to as “outstanding safeguards issues”.

The European powers, known as the E3, are pushing for the resolution despite U.S. concerns that the move could lead Iran to respond by escalating its nuclear activities, since Tehran has tended to bristle at such resolutions in the past and take such steps in response.

The E3 argue that Iran’s continued lack of cooperation with the IAEA and its advancing nuclear programme make such a step necessary, diplomats say.

Iran is enriching uranium to up to 60% purity, close to the 90% of weapons grade, and has amassed enough material enriched to that level, if enriched further, for three nuclear bombs, according to an IAEA yardstick.

Western powers say there is no civilian justification for enriching to that level. Iran says its aims are entirely peaceful.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Leslie Adler and Stephen Coates)