The UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation board of governors passed a resolution Wednesday criticizing Iran for failing to explain uranium traces at undeclared sites.

Ahead of the censure, Tehran turned off two surveillance devices used by UN inspectors to monitor uranium enrichment.

What do we know so far?

The censure was submitted by the UK, France, Germany and the US to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and was backed by 30 countries. Only Russia and China opposed the move. 

“We urge Iran to heed the call of the international community to fulfill its legal obligations, and cooperate with the IAEA to fully clarify and resolve issues without further delay,” a joint statement from Germany, France, the UK and US said after the vote. 

“If Iran does this and the Director General is able to report that the unresolved safeguards issues are no longer outstanding, we would see no need for further Board consideration and action on these issues,” it added. 

Shortly before the resolution was passed, the IAEA told its member states that Iran had begun installing IR-6 centrifuges in a cluster at an underground enrichment facility. The IAEA added that Tehran intends to add two more of these clusters, which are also known as cascades.

Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia react to decision

Iran condemned the resolution in a statement on the Iranian Foreign Ministry website and said Tehran had been cooperating with international nuclear investigators.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also tweeted that his country’s response to the resolution is “firm & proportionate” and “the initiators are responsible for the consequences.”

Iran had said it disconnected two IAEA cameras which monitor its nuclear sites prior to the adoption of the resolution.

Israel, a major critic of Iran’s nuclear program, hailed the decision by the IAEA. 

“This is a significant resolution that exposes Iran’s true face,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. He said IAEA members had “worked together with the aim of arresting and preventing Iran’s attainment of nuclear weaponry.”

Saudi Arabia, Iran’s archrival in the Middle East region, also heralded the move by the IAEA “which stresses that Iran must comply with its obligations … and the need for cooperation with the agency to resolve all outstanding nuclear issues.”

The motion is the first to chide Iran over its nuclear ambitions since 2020. It comes as talks to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remain stalled. 

wd/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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