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Tehran renews warning to UN nuclear watchdog as EU, US launch anti-Iran push

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), listens ahead a virtual meeting of the Board of Governors, at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria on June 15, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran has warned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) against failing to “exercise prudence” as its Board of Governors is expected to discuss a European-drafted resolution pushing for intrusive inspections of Iranian nuclear sites.

“Vienna is almost the last bastion of multilateralism that was able to maintain its true spirit in recent years, but unfortunately it will be a forgotten story if the IAEA Board does not show enough prudence this week,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, tweeted on Thursday.

The remarks came as the IAEA’s governing board is holding a meeting, with the focus on Iran.

The European signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal, namely France, Germany and the UK, have reportedly prepared an anti-Iran resolution and are expected to present it during the meeting.

The Bloomberg reported on Monday that the document urges the Islamic Republic to “fully cooperate” with the IAEA investigation of its nuclear facilities and “expresses serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied access to the agency under the Additional Protocol.”

The European resolution — which is reported to have firm backing from the US — could be passed by consensus or face a vote by the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors. 

Iran says such a resolution is based on anti-Iran allegations raised by Israel and serves American goals.

On Tuesday, France, Germany and the UK issued a statement voicing concerns about what they called “Iran’s violation of its nuclear commitments, which have grave and irreversible proliferation consequences.”

The European trio further claimed that they initiated the dispute mechanism of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January “in good faith and in hope of finding a diplomatic way forward.”

Succumbing to Washington’s pressure, the European parties to the JCPOA have so far failed to honor their commitments under the deal and offset the impacts of American sanctions, which were re-imposed on Iran following the unilateral US withdrawal from the deal in May 2018.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that European diplomats are trying to forge a compromise to save JCPOA from collapse by proposing a limited extension of an arms embargo on Tehran sought by the US.

The Iran arms ban — in place since 2006/2007 — is set to expire on October 18 under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the JCPOA.

Despite being not a party to the agreement any longer, Washington has recently launched a campaign to renew the Iran arms embargo through a resolution at the Security Council, but Russia and China are most likely to veto it.  

To circumvent the veto, the US says it will argue that it legally remains a “participant state” in the nuclear pact only to trigger the snapback that would restore the UN sanctions, which had been in place against Iran prior to the JCPOA’s inking.

The Wall Street Journal comes while the Europeans have repeatedly said the US is no longer in a position to seek an extension of the bans by resorting the Resolution 2231, which Washington has already violated by quitting the Iran deal.

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