Iran on Friday rejected a resolution passed by the Board of Governors at the UN's nuclear watchdog that called for inspections at two sites inside the country.
Iranian Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Kazem Gharibabadi told a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the resolution will not "encourage Iran to grant access to the agency based on fabricated and unfounded allegations".
"Iran categorically deplores this resolution and will take appropriate action in response, the repercussions of which would be upon the sponsors of this resolution," he added.
Gharibabadi said the adoption was “deeply disappointing” and the resolution itself was “nothing but an excessive demand”.
“Iran completely rejects any excessive demand on the part of any country or organization,” he said.
The resolution – put forward by France, Germany, and Britain, and supported by the United States – urges Tehran to provide IAEA inspectors with access to two sites in Iran to clarify whether undeclared nuclear activity took place there in the early 2000s.
It "calls on Iran to fully cooperate with the agency and satisfy the agency's requests without any further delay, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by the agency".
The resolution was carried by 25 votes in favor versus two against, with seven abstentions: South Africa, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, and Niger.
Russia and China, both of which had spoken out against the prospect of a resolution earlier this week, voted against.
"While stressing the need for Tehran and the IAEA to settle this problem without delay, we believe that the resolution can be counterproductive," Russia's Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted after the resolution was passed on Friday.
China said pressing a “non-urgent” issue with a resolution could eventually lead to action by the UN Security Council and “the ultimate termination” of the Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Even though the sites in question are not thought to be directly relevant to Iran's current nuclear program, the agency says it needs to know if activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.
Despite the row over the two sites, the IAEA says it still has the access it needs to inspect Iran's declared nuclear facilities, as per its mandate under the JCPOA between Iran and world powers reached in 2015.
The latest row over access comes as the landmark deal continues to unravel following US President Donald Trump's decision two years ago to abandon the deal and reimpose tough sanctions.
Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran committed to curtailing its nuclear activities for sanctions relief and other benefits.
A year after the US pullout, Iran began to reduce its commitments in retaliation.
Iran has previously hinted that a resolution along the lines of the one passed Friday could cause "complication and difficulties" for the future of the 2015 accord.
In his statement, Gharibabadi warned the IAEA against actions that could lead to "the destruction of the JCPOA".
On Thursday 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.
He added, “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!”
Stressing Iran’s fundamental policy of cooperating with the IAEA in line with its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement, Gharibabadi said, “Iran acknowledges the rights of the agency for raising legitimate questions, seeking clarifications or requesting for access in line with its mandate and in accordance with the approved procedures, while it also underlines its rights as a member state to seek for underlying reasons and supporting documents and argumentations from the agency in this regard.”
The Safeguards Agreement ensures non-diversion of nuclear material declared by a country.
“Iran also believes that the obligations of member states, which reflect the rights of the agency, are not unlimited and are defined within the framework of the relevant instruments. The rights of the agency and the obligations of its member states are two sides of a coin which are supposed to be mutually reinforcing,” the envoy said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday that “an agreeable solution is possible” for the IAEA’s request for access to the two nuclear sites.
“BoG should not allow JCPOA enemies to jeopardize Iran’s supreme interests. E3 should not be an accessory, after failing own JCPOA duties,” Zarif tweeted. “We’ve nothing to hide. More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history. An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it.”
Speaking to reporters after the resolution was passed, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said it would be "absolutely unacceptable" if an example were to be set that states can be selective in their implementation of agreements with the UN agency.
"There are no exceptions. There is no Additional Protocol a la carte," Grossi said, referring to the agreement under which the IAEA requested access to the sites.
"I intend to sit down with Iran very soon and to try to solve this as soon as possible," he said, adding that Gharibabadi would be his first port of call.
Earlier this week Iran said the IAEA's access requests were based on allegations from its archenemy Israel.
Additional information provided by the IAEA to back up its requests "were merely some commercial satellite imageries that contained no convincing underlying reason" to provide access, Tehran argues.
AFP, Reuters, and Press TV contributed to this story.